Focal Points
Peter C. Salaverry of SkinzWraps, Inc. fields a lot of phone calls. Because his company is the vanguard of the vehicle wraps industry, the CEO faces an onslaught of claims from manufacturers touting the latest and greatest technologies. But one day a phone call came through that turned out to be a "game changer" in one of the fastest growing segments of the outdoor advertising business.

At first, he didn't want to take the call. "Epson was on the line telling me they had a new ink jet printer, the Stylus Pro GS6000," he said. "Only they were saying this machine has revolutionary solvent-based inks and can print at a resolution of 1440x1440 dpi." He remembers shaking his head. "With 720x720 the Holy Grail of our industry, I just didn't believe anyone could live up to that claim."

Vehicle Wrap 2.0

After years printing and applying 25,000 square feet of vehicle wraps per month (average vehicle is 275 square feet), Salaverry had grown to accept the limitations of solvent-based ink jet technology. Today's vehicle wraps business uses digital technology in place of yesterday's custom paint jobs or decals. Specialists print paint-like color and graphics on vinyl matte and lamination sheets that are easily applied and removed from vehicles of all kinds, including cars, vans, trucks, trailers, buses, boats, motorcycles and RVs. "SkinzWraps has created some amazing wraps for its customers over the years, but the resolution of today's sign-making printers only goes so far," he said.

Although Salaverry had grave doubts, he reluctantly agreed to take on a project for Epson that he felt "was doomed for failure." The Dallas-based SkinzWraps team would wrap a sleek Lamborghini for an upcoming trade show. The caliber of the assignment was nothing new to SkinzWraps, which has wrapped thousands of vehicles since the industry began. But this time, SkinzWraps planned to apply a wrap printed at the highest resolution possible, using colors they believed the Epson printer could not even come close to reproducing.

"I knew then that the Epson Stylus Pro GS6000 marked the onset of what I now call Vehicle Wraps 2.0"

When Salaverry saw the results, he could not believe his eyes. The printer's Dual-Array MicroPiezo® AMC™ printhead actually delivered on Epson's promise of 1440x1440 dpi. Over the hood of the Lamborghini was a razor-sharp pattern of yellow-orange and shocking-pink confetti, flying through tendrils of blue-violet smoke, against a pitch-black background. The extremely wide color gamut brought entirely new degrees of color fidelity and accuracy, produced by the Epson UltraChrome® GS ink, an eight-color solvent-based ink technology.

Salaverry called out to his designer, "I thought I told you to design the Lamborghini wrap out of gamut!" The designer looked at him quietly. "I did," he replied.

"I knew then that the Epson Stylus Pro GS6000 marked the onset of what I now call Vehicle Wraps 2.0," said Salaverry. "I believe the Epson printer will have an incredible impact on the vehicle wrap industry, and it is a turning point for the solvent-based printing market."

This was one phone call that the CEO of SkinzWraps would return. Salaverry picked up the phone and dialed Epson. "OK, what do you have here?" he began. "You have my full attention now."

New Tool of the Trade

Passing the print quality test with flying colors, the high-speed Epson Stylus Pro GS6000 is now integrated into SkinzWraps' everyday workflow. "With the GS6000 in the shop, printing is so much simpler," said Kelly Coats, director of printing at SkinzWraps.

Epson designed the 64-inch wide roll-to-roll printer to run without supervision for long periods of time, saving SkinzWraps a lot of time and money. "The ColorBurst Professional Production RIP is easy, and I can go home with a full roll loaded and RIP full of prints," he said. "When I get here in the morning, they will be done perfectly."

Whether printing a bus ad or a NASCAR racecar design, the Epson printer is simple to use and maintain. The printer comes with features that allow companies like SkinzWraps to reduce its total cost of ownership for more profitability. "The GS6000 is a step above all other printers in the solvent world due to its low maintenance," said Coats.

In earlier days, the staff had to spend at least 1-1/2 hours cleaning printers before they were ready to print. Today, setting up a job on the Stylus Pro GS6000 takes less than 10 minutes.

Another way for SkinzWraps to keep an eye on the bottom line is actively using the website called myEpsonPrinter.com™, a printer information and management system that allows SkinzWraps to monitor print jobs and consumables in virtual real time. Staff can track ink and media consumption, look at job costing, check how long a job took, and manage printers at remote locations. The site has proved invaluable in calculating how much money SkinzWraps will make on a job, which keeps eyes focused on the company's bottom line.

Safer Solvent-Based Ink Technology

Another important benefit of the Stylus Pro GS6000 is the health of employees. "When I first heard there was a solvent machine without a solvent smell, I thought they were kidding," said Coats. Unlike other solvent technologies, the Epson UltraChrome GS ink brings odorless printing to the workspace, so businesses do not have to rely on special ventilation or air purification systems. The new generation of solvent-based chemistry allows companies like SkinzWraps to use less harmful print technology without sacrificing output quality.

"Like a fine-tuned Ferrari, the new Epson printer is joining the race at a great advantage, already ahead of the pack as it accelerates from 720x720 to 1440x1440 dpi," said Salaverry. "Without a doubt, the Epson Stylus Pro GS6000 is a game changer in the vehicle wraps world."