Green Screen vs. The Unimog
The verdant leaf growing between the first two words in the Green Screen Graphics (Rutland, VT) logo is your first indication that this shop incorporates sustainability and environmental concerns into who they are. Mike Gauthier founded the company in 1992 as a screen-printing business primarily using water-based inks, according to General Manager Nikki Pfeiffer, something that wasn’t common 26 years ago. Today, Green Screen has graduated to inkjet printing with a Mimaki JFX200-2513 UV LED flatbed wide-format machine and a Roland SOLJET Pro III XC-540 eco-solvent roll-to-roll printer, on which they nest jobs to reduce waste.
Unlike some shops, they don’t just toss old sign materials into the trash. “We make every attempt to upcycle any suitable, reusable material by sanding, cutting, refinishing, etc.,” Nikki said. They look for flat materials and avoid warped or twisted substrates. Other components (posts, hanging hardware, etc.) may also be reused. “Oftentimes when a business changes ownership, the new owners bring in the [old outdoor] signs and we recover them or sometimes cut the material down into different shapes and reuse it that way,” she continued. “It helps to save the customer a little bit of money and prevents us from needing to order in new material.”
IT CAME FROM OVERSEAS
Sustainability goals, as it happened, weren’t what drew Silipint founder Rick Fredland to Green Screen Graphics when Silipint needed a vehicle wrap for their unusual “Unimog.” It was simple proximity to the assembly site for the oversized vehicle (“as if a semi-truck, an overland vehicle and a camper van had a baby,” per the silicone cup and bowl manufacturer’s website). Still, the journey to that proximate location was long, as Silipint is based in Bend, OR and the Unimog was manufactured outside the US.
After a lively initial phone call and site visit, Silipint sent over their artwork. Lead Installer Nick Vittone recognized that Silipint’s design would present “unwanted color matching issues … [which involved] changing all of the colors in the wrap design to Roland VersaWorks spot colors that I knew our printer and RIP software would handle in a predictable way,” he said. “Gray is always tricky (lamination can turn an unwanted hue) and the black needs to be rich,” Nick went on. “Expanding the background imagery was easy because it was vector. Logos were done as secondary spot graphics to ensure they were straight and didn’t land on an unwanted hinge or piece of hardware.”
Green Screen printed the final design on 3M IJ180Cv3 wrap vinyl using their 54-in.-wide Roland XC-540, then laminated the film on their Royal Sovereign RSC-1400C. Installing the wrap wasn’t as difficult as cultivating the design. “Mostly flat surfaces made it easy laying down this wrap with my felt squeegee,” Nick said. “Then it was just a matter of working it around door handles and trim with a hard nylon squeegee and trimming with an Olfa knife.” Using a heat gun around door trim ensured the stretched vinyl stayed put.
Silipint was so pleased with the project, they include mention of “a fresh wrap” as one of the features of the traveling Unimog on the company’s blog, as well as stating their “new rig represents [our] durable, adventurous and unique nature.” The wrap contributing to that unique nature, according to Nikki, should last for at least 10 years.
COULD BE GREENER STILL
Green Screen’s commitment to sustainability extends to part ownership of a community solar array down the road. “In addition, our building is as energy efficient as possible with new lighting, insulation and split action pumps to heat, cool and dehumidify,” Nikki said. “We have been able to dramatically reduce our fuel oil consumption in the winter months.”
Green Screen could be even more sustainability conscious if it wrapped vehicles with 3M’s Envision Print Wrap Film LX480mC (for latex and UV printers) or SV480mC (for solvent, eco-solvent and UV). Envision’s non-PVC and phthalate-free composition makes it a more sustainable choice, but it’s also nearly 25% more expensive than 3M’s popular IJ180Cv3. So, will Green Screen transplant its wrap film? “Our holdup at this point is deciding whether to stock it as an option for our customers,” Nikki said, “or if we should switch from our comfort zone of 180Cv3 to the Envision exclusively for wraps and increase our prices.”
I can’t wait to see how this one ends.
Photos courtesy of Rick Fredland, Silipint
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