FREMONT, Calif. — September 14, 2017 — Display graphics provider Image Options, Livermore, Calif., has updated its production graphics offering, installing four new EFI™ VUTEk® superwide-format printers from Electronics For Imaging, Inc. The acquisitions include a VUTEk FabriVU® 340 3.4-meter printer and a VUTEk FabriVU 520 5.2-meter printer for soft signage production, as well as two VUTEk HS125 Pro hybrid roll/flatbed high-speed inkjet presses.
Founded in 1999, Image Options acquired its first VUTEk printer early in its life and has continued to upgrade its platform over the years. The company generates $25 million in annual sales with 114 employees in a 24/7 operation.
“EFI has been a valued partner since the inception of our business,” said Brian Hite, Image Options’ President. “Over the years, we have had a great partnership with EFI, and while we do keep our eye on market developments, we are very happy to stay with the VUTEk portfolio. Our customers are very loyal, too; most of them have been with us for 16 to 18 years, which is pretty unusual in this business.” Hite reported that over its history, the company has owned 15 to 20 EFI VUTEk printers. “They have always met our needs and helped our company grow.”
The printers have helped Image Options boost productivity for a number of significant projects, including graphics produced for many of the world’s largest user conferences. “We produce graphics for all of the conference exhibit halls as well as hotels, outdoor venues, and ad spaces,” Hite explained. “This includes soft signage, out-of-home graphics and exhibit signage. The projects all require large production capacity, speed and exceptional quality.”
Image Options’ retail point-of-purchase (POP) business is also growing with the new printers. The company handles new store builds for major retailers in the athletics and furniture spaces, with much of the work moving to soft signage produced on the new VUTEk FabriVU printers. The two new VUTEk HS125 inkjet presses at Image Options produce a wide variety of signage and graphics work – much of it on rigid substrates – for POP display graphics, corporate interiors and more.
Superior consistency and color quality with the EFI ecosystem
Image Options achieves greater consistency across all its EFI printers using EFI Fiery® digital front ends. As a G7 Master Certified firm, Image Options depends on the Fiery DFEs and its VUTEk printers’ high-quality capabilities to meet stringent color requirements.
“We have a client where true, consistent color is critical and our EFI printers can hit their specific brand color perfectly,” said Hite. “We completed a showcase for that client that included a sample store set-up with lots of rolls of fabric-tensioned work, as well as printed boxes for demo displays of products. Our fleet of EFI VUTEk and FabriVU printers gave us the required versatility to meet all of those needs.”
In addition to growing its inkjet printing capabilities, Image Options continues to concentrate on improving quality, consistency and efficiency across all aspects of the organization, and that includes upgrading to the last workflow software to eliminate variables and to increase productivity and profitability. Currently, the company is moving to the latest version of EFI’s Midmarket Print Suite workflow, which includes EFI Pace™ as its core MIS/ERP software. The workflow also includes an upgraded Superwide Format component database for easier estimating, planning and management of graphics jobs. Plus, the workflow will provide Image Options easier estimating, planning and management capabilities across the company’s operation.
“We are a lean organization with Six Sigma yellow, green and black belt employees tasked with continually improving efficiency,” said Hite. “We operate an integrated workflow that includes our Fiery DFEs, EFI’s Digital StoreFront and EFI Pace. This allows us to do a better job at shop floor data collection and improved accounting functions. It will also replace some multi-step processes around exporting data and creating reports.”
Beyond the benefits it gets from EFI technology, Image Options has cultural alignment with EFI in terms of sustainability and community involvement. Among other community initiatives, Image Options participates in the Trash for Teachers program, giving the largest off-cuts of vinyl to teachers for use in classrooms. The company also supports Ed and Bernie Massey with their Portraits of Hope initiative, using art and poignant visual imagery for large-scale projects of social consequence. EFI supports the work as well, donating the ink Image Options uses to produce work for the Massey project.
“Environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and SGP Certification are core to our corporate culture,” Hite said. “We see those same values reflected in EFI, and that is important to us in a business partner.”
EFI is highlighting its advanced technologies for superwide-format production applications, including the VUTEk FabriVU 340 soft signage printer, the Fiery proServer and the EFI Midmarket Print Suite next month at the SGIA Expo, Oct. 10-14 in New Orleans.
Posted September 13, 2017