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Direct-to-Substrate Printing

Have a special design in mind for your client’s ADA signage? At Erie Custom Signs, we have the equipment needed to get the job done, no matter what the project may entail.

We have made it a priority to invest in the most state-of-the-art fabrication equipment available to meet the quality and creativity needs of our clients. This means sign shop owners can reap the benefits of our capabilities without having to shoulder the cost of the equipment themselves.

Our most recent addition is a direct-to-substrate UV inkjet printer from Direct Color Systems® that enables us to make a variety of custom subsurface graphics, including a gorgeous wood grain look.

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What is Direct-to-Substrate Printing?

With our direct-to-substrate printing capabilities, our team can print images and text directly on the signage material. The alternative is to print the desired images or words on vinyl decals or labels, which are then applied to the material. Unfortunately, this option is not as reliable, as text and graphics can peel and fall off over time.

Regardless of whether you select chemetal, acrylic, high-pressure laminate, Corian, or one of the other material options we have available, our direct-to-substrate printing process will ensure that the finished product is clean, legible, and appealing to the eye.

What are the benefits of direct-to-substrate UV printing?

  • Quick drying time: Because the ink dries so quickly on the substrate, the interaction of the chemicals with the substrate is greatly reduced. This means you can use a much wider variety of substrates beyond traditional materials. One example is papyrus paper, a material that would be otherwise extremely sensitive.
  • Sharpness and color: The sharpness and color saturation are improved with this printing method because there is very little chance of ink dots spreading across the substrate, as they dry too quickly. The ink doesn’t absorb into the substrate, either—it stays hardened on its outer surface instead.
  • Scratch resistance: With a scratch-resistant surface, signs that have been printed with our direct-to-substrate UV inkjet printer are easier to handle, transport, and install without having to worry about causing any damage to the print job itself. This also means the signs will keep their “brand-new” appearance for much longer after they have actually been installed.
  • Faster production: The instant curing process that occurs with a direct-to-substrate UV inkjet printer means production is significantly faster than with other methods. Even printing two-sided signs will still be a time-saver.
  • Lower cost: Because additional materials do not need to be purchased, a lot of money is saved in the process. For example, the surface does not need to be protected with the addition of a top laminate or glass covering. These savings can then be passed along to your client, who will undoubtedly be pleased to receive high-quality signage at such a fair price.
  • Greater finish options: Depending on the look a client desires for their signage, we are able to create prints with either matte or high-gloss finishes—or anywhere in between. However, if it’s ADA-compliant signage a client needs, it’s important to keep in mind that a non-glare finish is required per ADA guidelines.

See examples of our custom ADA signs HERE

How does direct-to-substrate UV printing work?

The direct-to-substrate UV inkjet printer used at Erie Custom Signs operates by creating a chemical reaction caused by intense ultraviolet light. The printhead contains a UV light source on each end, and the source follows the ink while it’s sprayed out of the jet, instantly curing it and causing it to stick to the substrate. This instant hardness and finished feeling provides a huge range of possibilities for printing, so long as the substrate is flat.

What equipment is used for direct-to-substrate UV printing?

At Erie Custom Signs, we rely on Direct Color Systems® UV1024 inkjet printers to print our clients’ desired images and text directly to the selected material. Though this industry-leading company distributes products across the globe, all of their offerings are made in the United States. This means that sign shop owners can assure their own clients that every facet of their order—from the equipment used to create the sign to the sign itself—is handled here.

With this machinery, we can print crisp text and vibrant images on virtually any surface. As a result, signs made using this process are more durable and better able to stand up to dirt, debris, and abrasions. Sign shop owners selling to facilities with high traffic, such as hospitals and schools, are encouraged to take advantage of this option. Given the amount of general wear and tear that signage in high-traffic areas endure, the use of direct-to-substrate UV printing can ensure that signs remain intact and legible for years.

Another reason we use Direct Color Systems® UV1024 inkjet printers at Erie Custom Signs is that they offer the fastest print times in the industry. These top-of-the-line machines have earned a reputation for providing the quickest and easiest process for producing ADA-compliant/Braille signage. Sign shop owners needing quick turnaround times for their clients can feel confident that their order will be completed in a timely manner, without needing to sacrifice quality.

Why choose Erie Custom Signs for direct-to-substrate printing of ADA signage

Direct Color Systems®, the leading manufacturer of commercial and industrial UV LED inkjet printers, named Erie Custom Signs one of their DCS PRINTOVATORS™. This honor is bestowed upon those who do more with their UV LED inkjet printers. Specifically, it’s given to businesses that develop more applications, produce more products, and generate more profits.

Receiving this title only further proves that those of us at Erie Custom Signs go above and beyond to find ways to produce high-quality signage as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Want to see what our direct-to-substrate UV inkjet printer can do?

"Erie Custom Signs rocks! The signs they made for me look absolutely fabulous! I’m so grateful for their patience and flexibility during the design phase, and the quick turnaround to get my order here in time for the final inspection. They have been great to work with, and I hope to do so again in the near future." Dawn Gilman, Crystal Lake Engraving
"Erie Custom Signs did an awesome job. Thanks to Mike and the team for such prompt service. They’re now my go-to for ADA signage." Greg Haskell, Hwy 35 Signs
"The Erie team is always expedient in their responses, and they continually meet our extremely tight deadlines. Their work is of the highest quality and their customer service is top notch! We really appreciate having a fabricator like Erie Custom signs. They are always up for a challenge and continually produce our unique sign designs." Beth Geddio
Erie Custom Signs is amazing! My subcontractor received the signs ahead of schedule, which will ensure that they are installed on time. Thank you again for your assistance in this quick turnaround. I will be using your company again in the future! Brian Whitecap, Tusick + Associates Architects, Inc.

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