Innoplast Inc. (Cleveland), a bollard cover and traffic safety products manufacturer, has acquired American Sign Products (Macedonia, OH) and its associated brand, American Reflective Products. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In a news release, Innoplast CEO Craig McConnell said the deal aligns with the company’s strategy of “acquiring profitable, scalable distribution companies in the traffic safety market.”
American Sign Products was co-founded by Lon Lanzendorfer and Bernie Ruhaak more than 30 years ago. Its products are used on emergency vehicles, road and airport signage, rail cars and other applications. Some of ASP’s service offerings include slitting, laminating, pre-masking and sheeting.
Innoplast is a portfolio company of ScaleCo, a Cleveland-based investment firm.
Mactac®, a LINTEC company and leading supplier of pressure-sensitive adhesives, is partnering with Esker, a global cloud platform and leader in AI-driven process automation solutions, to automate its accounts payable (AP) and order management (OM) processes.
Mactac is implementing the information technology changes as part of the company’s digital transformation strategy. The new solutions further enhance Mactac’s commitment to providing customers with superior service, while supporting the rapid growth Mactac is experiencing.
“Mactac’s business continues to grow at an exponential pace – earlier this year, we acquired Duramark Products Inc., formerly Ritrama USA,” says Brittany Eppley, Corporate Marketing Communications Manager for Mactac. “To best meet our needs as well as those of our growing customer base, we are updating our digital process solutions in a way that better aligns with our future growth strategy.”
The new automated accounts payable solution allows Mactac the opportunity to streamline all vendor inputs into a single platform, which reduces errors and time needed to improve cash management. The order management solution gives Mactac the ability to quickly access metrics and validate information to ensure data accuracy and faster processing of orders.
“We’re looking to Esker’s solutions to allow us to consolidate information, minimize business risk and intake more new customers, which is crucial as we continue to expand,” said Larry Sage, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Information Technology at Mactac. “Esker also gives our customers the ability to create their own orders through the Esker customer portal, which will be especially beneficial for our clients who run mom-and-pop shops.”
Esker’s U.S. Chief Operating Officer Steve Smith adds, “For Mactac, visibility is crucial. There is a great demand to ensure formulas, materials and the ability to price at different levels are easily accessible and accurate. Mactac’s products are heavily dependent on multiple variables, which makes it essential that efficiencies in the AP and OM processes are in place.”
Chances are you know someone who’s participated in a charity bike ride or you yourself have ridden in one. There are rides dedicated to just about any particular charity, but the events themselves typically only occur annually given the logistics and costs that go into planning the large events. The problem with individuals riding for charities on their own has always been that there was never a way to prove definitively that the rider had cycled the miles they claimed.
Mark Kabbash, inventor, founder, and president & CEO of The Dandy Horse, Inc. and a frequent participant in cycling charity rides, knew these problems all too well, and it inspired him to create The Dandy Horse. Through a product called WHEEL (World, Health, Engagement, Environmental, Love) that harnesses the power of QR codes and verified empirical data, The Dandy Horse is enabling cyclists to make every ride a charity ride.
Now, sponsors can elect to pair their branding with a QR code on a jersey, bike, and helmet, which tracks the miles. “We’re empowering the philanthropic cause with analytical and reporting tools to report back to the brand where those miles were ridden, by who, what time of day,” says Kabbash.
Kabbash says historically there have been apps to track your riding distance, but they can’t verify that it’s actually you riding the bike. The Dandy Horse is different because it uses a unique process called VIDAT: Verify, Inspect, Demonstrate, Analyze, and Test. The QR-code driven verification technology couples individual biometrics with an app to verify data like duration of time, location, distance, and name of each rider. It then accurately reports that data to companies, brands, non-profits, etc.
The QR codes work in conjunction with the second part of the system, the rider’s gear—helmet, jersey, and bike. Users print the QR codes at home and affix them to all three pieces. “Now you have two distinct groups. Your gear—helmet, jersey, bicycle—which is assigned to your profile by our technology. Then when you get on the bike, you use your phone’s camera to scan those QR codes, and you’re using two groups as one. The three codes on the gear, plus the individual and phone and the app—we merge those six elements into one element. We track all six of them by virtue of GPS,” explains Kabbash.
He says a re-verify feature is built into the technology to detect abnormalities and prevent cheating the system. If a variable changes, such as a rider going 15 miles per hour on a bike path changing to 40 miles per hour on a highway, the system will ask the user to re-verify that all the groups (person, phone, helmet, bicycle, and jersey) are still together as one unit along with GPS and time of day data in a certain amount of time. If they don’t, the miles are not counted.
Kabbash says a patent for the technology was published in June 2021.
With The Dandy Horse, riders not only get to give back to philanthropic causes more easily and more frequently, but brands also get increased exposure through the jerseys that act as a moving billboard. Kabbash gives the example of a jersey worn by 1000 users with pledges of $1 a mile for up to 100 miles. That jersey can travel up to 1.2 million miles and have many more impressions than a typical static billboard.
“I really learned about the value of a billboard, branding, and marketing,” says Kabbash. “We’re taking a brand and then enabling that company to extend their range to philanthropic causes in front of an audience that can be tens of millions, so it enhances the brand recognition but then it also touches on something that is very very vital in today’s world– that is corporate social responsibility.”
That drive for corporate social responsibility can be achieved through The Dandy Horse by associating with a charitable organization or even by providing definitively that a company is making strides toward sustainability by encouraging employees to bike more and then being able to have the data to back it up.
The Dandy Horse technology also provides benefits to health insurers looking to provide discounts to members based on metrics like miles ridden. Kabbash plans on gamifying the entire concept with elements like leaderboards to provide extra incentives and motivation for users.
“Once we reach a significant number of users nationally, we will create a dynamic environment where companies will compete with one another to have more of their employees use the commuter side of our product and sponsor more recreational riders for the charitable side of our product,” says Kabbash. “Insurers will compete with one another to lower rates or risk losing clients to those that are higher on the leaderboards than them, and our users will be able to see what insurer best fits their physical activity levels.”
Another use Kabbash foresees is in conjunction with digital signage and bike valets—a service he wants to get up and running given that cyclists rarely have a safe place to park their bikes. “Bicycle pathways are designed to get people from one destination to another, they’re not designed to get people off of the bikes,” he says. “Bicycles are known as wallets on wheels, but if you can’t get them off the bike, they aren’t going to spend money.”
He envisions a service where cyclists can ride into a tent or structure and pass off their bike to an attendant. While inside, the attendant can scan their jersey, and the rider will then be greeted through messaging on digital signage throughout the tent. Sponsored and brand content can also be included in this interaction. Kabbash says purchases riders then make in nearby stores can be linked to the QR codes as well. If the purchased items are from a sponsor, they can offer coupons, additional donations to the rider’s cause, etc.
3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division is evolving its Bonding Process Centers in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA; Neuss, Germany; and Shanghai, China. Against the backdrop of a growing trend toward automation in manufacturing, the 3M Bonding Process Centers provide a starting point from which to design and plan automated bonding solutions.
The 3M Bonding Process Centers are designed to help identify customized process solutions to complex bonding challenges and now enable customers to also virtually access the centers for consultations and live demos. Formerly known as the Global Adhesives Solutions Lab, the 3M Bonding Process Centers connect customers with local 3M experts, facilitating a partnership that solves problems and optimizes processes.
To mark this evolution, 3M engineers and experts are offering virtual consultations with customers and prospects from 3M Bonding Process Centers in all three locations. These sessions highlight how the company’s growing capabilities can be applied to increase positive business outcomes for manufacturing and assembly businesses.
“We are delighted to share more about our state-of-the-art Bonding Process Center offerings in three locations around the globe. These facilities are focused on helping our customers solve their most important problems,” said Taylor Harper, Global Business Development Director at 3M.
Automation assets at the 3M Bonding Process Centers include:
PVA (St. Paul, Minnesota): PVA is a flexible robotic conformal dispensing system. By choosing the right machine and giving it a detailed program, 3M can apply adhesive in dots, shapes, curves, arcs, and more. The lines or dots can be varying widths or diameters in different spots on each part, and the precise programming means each dot or line is applied at the right size and in the right location every time.
6-Axis Robot (St. Paul, Minnesota): A complex shaped part with multiple dimensions can have a bead of adhesive applied with precision. By programming this 6-axis robot and the dispensing equipment to manipulate the part and apply the adhesive, a customer can get consistent bead application, which may allow quicker cycle times, improved quality and less variability.
E-box (Neuss, Germany): In this application, a plasma treatment is used to assist in increasing surface energy and improving wet-out to achieve a better bond. Then the machine can be programmed to apply adhesive with the correct bead all the way around the edge.
Panel to Frame (Neuss, Germany): This panel to frame application is first laser cleaned to remove rust, dust and other contaminations. Then a robot arm precisely applies 3M VHB Tape to each side of the panel delivering consistent pressure to the tape.
“At 3M, we continue to build our global automation and data science expertise, as part of our commitment to support our customers during every stage of their automation journey. Our technologies, knowledge, and highly customized solutions enable manufacturers to realize business benefits that range from higher levels of productivity to significant reductions in cost. We look forward to supporting our customers as they explore integrating more and more automation into their manufacturing processes to help them achieve their overall goals,” added Harper.
The primary benefits of automation include improvements in productivity, quality, safety, and reductions in unit cost and reliance on labor. These benefits are becoming increasingly apparent, with recent figures showing the global industrial control and factory automation market size is expected to grow from $133.1 billion in 2021 to $197.8 billion by 2026.
“Whether customers are interested in testing the latest innovations in dispensing and automation or are simply looking for a better tape or adhesive to bond their parts together, our scientists and engineers will work with them to identify, tailor and design custom solutions to their production challenges,” said Harper.
The Bonding Process Center allows customers to find the optimal combination to meet their production needs and business outcomes, either by engaging in an interactive, remote visit, or an in-person experience. 3M experts are on hand to experiment with different types of tapes and adhesives, and dispensing options that range from powered manual dispensers to fully programmable machinery, to find the right solution for each customer.
Additionally the centers are accustomed to all assembly types, ranging from large surfaces to small joints and encapsulating, and offer metered one- and two-part dispensing, automated tape dispensing, hot melt technologies, and more.
“Most problems have more than one solution, and our BPC experts help customers choose the best ones for their circumstances, through one-on-one consultations on process development and improvement, opportunities to test a variety of equipment, and follow-up support beyond customers’ visits to the center. We look forward to welcoming customers to all of our Bonding Process Center locations,” added Harper.
As a $32 billion (U.S.) organization, 3M invests 6 percent of its revenue in research and development, and the Bonding Process Center is an example of how investment into future-forward solutions can contribute to manufacturers’ business growth and development.
Wide format imaging leader Roland DGA has announced the launch of its new VersaUV® LEC2 S-Series printers, advanced UV flatbeds uniquely designed to maximize direct-to-object printing options for users and deliver unsurpassed graphic results.
Available in two flatbed sizes (64-inch and 30-inch widths), the LEC2 S-Series printers offer print providers and manufacturers the best of both worlds—direct-to-product customization, plus direct printing on flexible and rigid materials that allows for an extensive range of merchandising, packaging, sign, and display application opportunities.
The LEC2 S-Series printers are ideal for users seeking an on-demand customization printing solution that complements their current capabilities for increased productivity and profitability. They combine superb imaging with outstanding versatility and production, allowing users to quickly turn around traditional print jobs and customize a vast array of products and merchandise with vibrant, detailed graphics.
The LEC2 S-Series offers machine options that reflect the products and types of media users want to print on. In addition to the available 64-inch and 30-inch widths, Roland DG offers two different carriage sizes and four different bed sizes to choose from, including a full-sized model that prints on full boards.
All LEC2 S-Series printers boast up to 7.87 inches of height clearance and are sturdy enough to support up to 2,373 pounds. This makes the LEC2 S-Series unbeatable for wide range of range of applications, including product personalization, package prototyping and short runs, tradeshow and retail signage, POP displays, interior décor, and printing onto panels, sheets, tables and heavy boards.
“Our VersaUV LEC2 S-Series printers will appeal to sign makers, personalization houses, industrial printers, and packaging experts looking for differentiated profit opportunities, shorter time-to-market capability, and cost savings,” said Jay Roberts, UV Printer Product Manager at Roland DGA. “They’re perfect for existing users of Roland DG LEF benchtop UV printers or as an upgrade for existing roll-to-roll printer users, businesses looking to enter the world of UV printing, or operations with more industrial scale requirements.
“The versatility of configurations enables a range of exciting applications that offer increased profit margins and new business opportunities—both critical to success in today’s competitive print market.”
Each LEC2 S-Series model is built to take full advantage of Roland DG’s specially formulated, GREENGUARD Gold certified, wide-gamut ECO-UV inks. Users can choose from eight different ink configurations to suit their specific quality, media and finishing needs, including dual CMYK for increased productivity, or CMYK with optional Red, Orange, White, Gloss and Primer. White and Gloss specialty inks make it easy to incorporate stunning dimensional and textural effects directly onto a vast array of substrates and objects, while the onboard Primer allows for improved adhesion and media compatibility.
A True Rich Color preset within the bundled VersaWorks® 6 RIP software works hand-in-glove with the new Orange and Red ECO-UV 5 ink options to widen the color gamut, open up new creative opportunities, and increase color-matching accuracy. In addition to the new Orange and Red process colors, specific Pantone® and DIC colors can now be achieved, making the reproduction of specific company brand colors easier than ever.
LEC2 S-Series printers are equipped with cutting-edge features that optimize overall image quality, performance and ease of use. For maximum productivity, LEC2 S-Series flatbeds offer an intuitive Distance Print Mode that maximizes print consistency on objects that are flat, irregular or curved. Smooth, trouble-free operation is further ensured by a “Reverse Blow” setting that removes material from the bed for clean, efficient production.
Every LEC2 S-Series printer also has several advanced safety features. A separate control tower with touch panel controls allows for the creation of a safe operator area. An emergency stop perimeter around the base (and on the side of the device) safeguards those operating the printer, even in the busiest of production environments. In addition, each model is equipped with a signal beacon with variable alerts that clearly highlights the printer status.
The VersaWorks 6 software that comes standard with LEC2 S-Series devices is Roland DG’s most powerful and intuitive RIP to date. It boasts a Harlequin RIP dual core engine with 64-bit native processing for enhanced speed and file handling, a simple drag-and-drop interface, nesting, cropping and tiling features, a special Color Plate Generation function that allows you to automatically generate White, Gloss, and Primer layers directly in the RIP, variable data printing, and much more.
The Neon and Light Museum, a pop-up exhibition featuring signage and light-based artworks from dozens of artists, has opened in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reports.
In the article, museum director Ken Saunders said the Windy City’s neon scene is growing thanks to several area shops where neon can be worked, which are drawing those who want to rent space.
“There’s a sign industry that was so important in the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s, employing a lot of people to make commercial signage and that’s coming back,” museum director Ken Saunders told the paper. “Store owners who are opening now are thinking: How do I separate myself? Is it going to be plastic film on the windows or maybe a neon sign that says come hither in pinks, blues, and yellows. We’re starting to see that. It’s not retro, it’s almost steampunk and utopian, it’s forward-looking, not backward looking.”
The Neon and Light Museum runs from Sept. 9 to Oct. 31. For ticket prices and hours of operation, visit neonandlightmuseum.com.
Printing United Alliance (Fairfax, VA), a member-based printing and graphic arts association, has announced the winners of its Premier PRINT Awards international printing competition.
The competition recognizes and honors excellence in print across 71 different categories. Companies submitted works from all aspects of print production, including screen, offset, digital, wide-format, flexographic, gravure and more.
Students were also encouraged to submit entries in the Tom Frecska Student Printing Competition Category, which is awarded to any high school, adult education, vocational or college student or student group involved in the creation or production of print communications.
The complete list of the “Best of Category” award winners, “Printed Product of the Year” award winners and “Best of Show” winners can be found at premierprint.printing.org.
Canon Solutions America, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon U.S.A., Inc., announces the addition of the MS Impres hybrid dye sublimation printers to its portfolio.
The versatile MS Impres soft signage printers provide service providers and implants with fast production speeds combined with industry-leading color and image quality for POP (point of purchase) advertising, backlit signage, flags and banners, and exhibit and stadium graphics. The hybrid design of the MS Impres printers permits the option to print solely transfer printing or a combination of transfer and direct-to-fabric.
The MS Impres 4180 prints up to 64″ wide with four Kyocera 300 dpi printheads in a 4-color ink configuration and can print at speeds up to 3,120 sq ft/hr. The MS Impres 4180 EVO expands the capabilities of the 4180 with eight 600 dpi printheads and higher print speeds up to 3,354 sq ft/hr.
For wider printing applications, the MS Impres 4320 model handles media up to 126″ in width and operates with four Kyocera 300 dpi printheads running at print speeds up to 4,632 sq ft/hr. The MS Impres 4320 EVO includes the expanded eight 600 dpi printheads and print speeds up to 4,952 sq ft/hr.
Additional features offered by the MS Impres printers include:
The Qwizard digital front end, which features a built-in touch-screen control panel for managing the job queue directly from the printer, combined with the Caldera GrandRIP+software.
High-quality, cost-efficient Dybrid hybrid inks and Dysubli transfer inks with a wide color gamut and exceptional print results.
Large 10-liter ink tanks to maximize printer uptime for unattended printer operation.
Stable media positioning with an advanced print vacuum plate.
Bulk media handing of media rolls up to 19.7″ in diameter.
“At Canon Solutions America, we are committed to delivering complete end-to-end solutions that help maximize productivity, efficiency and quality for our customers, as well as help them to create new opportunities to expand into new markets and offerings,” said Peter P. Kowalczuk, president, Canon Solutions America, Inc. “We are excited to offer the MS Impres printers to expand our lineup of dye sublimation printing solutions for soft signage and textile printing applications.”
The brand-new Innovative Dental facility in Springfield, Missouri is all about patient comfort. In front of the two-story, U-shaped building is a relaxing water garden featuring fountains, ponds, and fish. Inside suites with their own balconies (resembling luxury hotel rooms) help make dental surgeries more relaxing.
Because he knows the dental office is a destination, Dr. Grant Olson wanted to make sure his new office was one that you could not miss. And digital signage is helping big-time in this area as well.
Dr. Olson not only is using a pair of 16-feet-tall-by-9-feet-wide Watchfire 8mm signs mounted onto a 40-foot-tall pylon in his parking lot strategically angled to be visible to drivers going north and south on Highway 44, but he also he outfitted the front of the building with a two-story, all-glass-front lobby that houses a 27-foot-tall-by-16-foot-wide, 2.4mm Watchfire display.
During the day, the huge vertical sign is devoted to emotional videos of smiling people doing fun things. At the bottom third of the display is a scroll of social media messages. At night, when it is most visible from the highway, the sign is used for eye-catching videos. For example, at Christmas, there was a giant image of a tree with snow falling!
Dr. Olson got the idea for the huge signs after seeing brilliant-looking LED displays at tradeshows. When he first started considering this option, the investment would have been about $500,000; but since the price of LEDs dropped considerably, he was able to make this investment when he put in the new building.
Nearby full-service Springfield Sign handled the installation of the exterior and interior signage. This was the first time that Springfield Sign had worked with Innovative Dental. “The architect of the building is a client of mine, so they referred us when the [dental practice] was accepting bids from multiple sign companies,” says Trey Watts, vice president of Sales for Springfield Sign.
However Springfield Sign had to look at this as two separate projects, as originally they were contracted to only handle the exterior signage. Then they looked at the dental practice’s renderings and told them that they could handle the interior as well. “Watchfire had been working with them, as well, so we kind of partnered up and did a sales pitch,” says Watts. “They then looked at it as kind of a package deal.”
The original concepts drawn up by Innovative Dental involved putting together multiple high-definition TV screens in the interior. “We told them we could instead provide one big, seamless video display,” says Watts, showing them examples of dental practices using similar displays in Chicago and Miami. (“There was nothing this size or resolution close by us in the Midwest.”)
The interior Watchfire digital display is one large unit that is comprised of a large volume of little tiles (modules).
This massive interior digital display stands in Innovative Dental’s main lobby, but its visual impact isn’t limited to just those inside. As mentioned, the building faces a major freeway, and its entire front was purposefully made out of glass. “Of course, if you’re sitting in the lobby, you can look at it,” says Watts. “But the real selling point is, as you’re driving down this highway in either direction, you can still see this unit since the entire front of the building is glass.”
The new Innovative Dental facility faces east and west, which played another critical role in opting for a seamless digital display over stacked high-definition TVs. “In the morning, when the sun comes up, direct sunlight shines through the windows and onto that unit,” says Watts. “This would cause major glare problems on a TV. We already fight that a lot on exterior digital displays. You want to make sure you have a high enough Nit rating that you can basically overpower the sun while still being able to see that board, and you can do that with this Watchfire display.
“Sure TVs would be less expensive, but we told Dr. Olson that he wouldn’t have the same impact from the street with the sun beating onto them through those windows.”
Another important thing to keep in mind here is that Dr. Olson also does a lot of cosmetic dentistry. “Cosmetic dentists are very, very detail-oriented,” says Watts, “almost painfully so. So one of his big things was ‘borderless’—he didn’t want a frame all the way around, which you would have with a TV display. You can get them pretty close to the edge, but you’ll always have a border.
“The digital display is basically a frameless module all the way around from top to bottom with no bezel.”
You can literally walk up to this display and put your hands on it. The crisp resolution means that the picture looks great standing five feet away just as it looks great when seeing it from the freeway.
The 2.4mm resolution was selected for this interior display because Dr. Olson wanted a very high-resolution board. And just like the facility in general, he didn’t spare any expense on the signage side either.
“We gave him a choice between 2.4 and 3.8mm, and he plainly asked which would look better,” says Watts. “We gave him our opinion, and that’s the one he went with. It was more like he was already making an investment, so there was no reason to cheap out and then come to us down the line and not really be happy with it.”
This interior digital display made up of individual tiles sits flush back into a wall to make it look flat. Springfield Sign worked with the architect and construction crew ahead of time to set the necessary depth. “They built around it,” says Watts. “So you have the drywall, then it goes to our screen. Then you go across our screen, and it goes back to drywall.”
Springfield Sign used a lift to install the interior display during the early part of the construction process when the building was much more of an open area.
Since this is a modular-based frame system, it arrived on-site in pieces. “We installed the frame to create a grid,” says Watts. “Then we built up, attaching the tiles one at a time to this grid,” says Watts.
One of the biggest challenges Springfield Sign encountered was keeping the tiles flush and even across the 16-by-27-foot frame. “If you don’t seat those panels exactly right, your modules might wave a little bit, as you start building,” says Watts. “So when the modules catch up to each other, if one is cocked out (about 1/16-inch or even less), you’ll see lines when a full-color image is shown across a big board like this.”
The sign makers worked hand-in-hand with Watchfire to make sure it was smooth by assessing the position of tiles as they were put on, which, although time consuming, was necessary. “ It was a significant investment for [Dr. Olson], as well as a showpiece, so we wanted to make sure it looked right,” says Watts.
Since the digital display is inside the building, there was actually no need for special permits or regulatory ordinances. “Even though the total point of that application is for people on the freeway to see it,” says Watts, “it’s inside a building, and technically the city doesn’t have any regulations on it.”
While Innovative Dental manages the content on the display, Watts says his company does offer in-house content management services and packages whenever they sell an interior or exterior board. “But in this regard, we got them going and showed them how to use it,” he says, “and then they took it from there.”
In addition to the outdoor pylon sign featuring a double-faced 8mm Watchfire display, Springfield Sign also fabricated and installed flat, cut-out lettering and reverse-lit LED channel letters on the building’s exterior at a couple of different elevations. Inside they installed accent wall signs and other such signage.
All in all, Watts says that the new Innovative Dental is an amazing facility. “Dr. Olson is well known for what he does. People fly in from the coasts to come to him,” he says. “Quite honestly it’s nothing like anything I had ever signed for a dentist. It’s probably more common in larger metropolitan areas, but this type of dental facility is a first for Southwest Missouri.”
Jeff Wooten has helmed Sign Builder Illustrated magazine as Editor-in-Chief for the past 23 years.Mr.Wooten continues to cover the breadth of sign-related topics,industry trends, and the magazine’s signature “How-To” features forour readers. He is also co-host of the regular SBI “On the Floor” Webinars and “Shop Talk”podcasts, which feature conversations with sign industryprofessionals and their insights. Mr. Wooten enjoys keeping SBi atthe forefront of must-read and must-watch content for sign makers.
Retail-focused technology integration firm Abierto recently conducted a blind study of convenience store shoppers and found that LG’s 14mm pixel pitch Transparent LED Film (model LAT140) encourages spontaneous purchases, deeply enforces messaging recall and improves brand perception. The new LG technology, which Abierto has rebranded OPEN.LED as part of its OPEN platform of digital signage products and services, was tested at a Café Nouria convenience store in Maine and garnered immediate unanimous approval from shoppers who weren’t told which part of their visit was being studied.
A convenience store’s bottom line depends on in-store foot traffic, but according the NACS’ Consumer Insights 2019 report on Consumer Behavior at the Pump, 56 percent of fuel customers don’t go inside the store. Donovan Woods of the Fuels Institute said, “In fact, the average person spends a total of 3 hours per year at the pump fueling their vehicles. These recurring 3 to 5 minute fueling visits provide excellent opportunities for retailers to market to them.”
“For obvious reasons, even fewer consumers entered stores during the pandemic, and retailers are now looking for ways to entice them to return and shop the store” added Rick Sales, President of Abierto. “To date, the most common exterior-facing signage solutions have been traditional flat panel displays and low-resolution LED window signage, both of which have significant drawbacks. We found that an OPEN.LED display promoting quality foods and displaying animated graphics directly encourages spontaneous purchases and improves the brand’s perception as a more modern, upscale convenience store.”
The LG Transparent LED film is especially beneficial for fueling station convenience stores, as the 73-percent transparent technology enables dynamic digital advertising while retaining employees’ ability to monitor individual fueling pumps and parking lots. The transparency also gives customers an unhindered view of the store interior and provides tinting against glare. This is a major change from window-facing flat panel displays, which can completely block large sections of windows and may negatively affect in-store aesthetics due to unsightly wires and rear panel visibility.
According to Abierto, the advantages of LG’s LED film go well beyond visual quality and transparency, providing the option to build digital canvases in custom sizes and presenting a much simpler installation process than alternative technologies.
“LG’s 14mm transparent LED film is self-adhesive and consists of tiles that piece together, so any window can become home to a vibrant, attractive digital signage solution that requires no specialized mounts or infrastructure,” Sales added. “As part of our OPEN family of digital signage solutions that includes cloud-based content management, an entire chain’s OPEN.LED displays and other existing signage can be centrally managed, enabling near-instant company-wide messaging and promotion updates or to direct targeted messaging to specific sites testing new products.”
Because it is an extremely light weight self-adhesive film, the installation process is worlds away from window-facing flat panels, which require significant mounting infrastructure and can weigh hundreds of pounds for a video wall. Abierto was also impressed with the brightness and clarity of the 2,100 nit, 14mm pixel pitch solution, which has an ideal viewing distance of 25-75 feet, down from the 150-foot optimal distance typical of existing 24mm LED film solutions. According to LG, this installation is precisely what the LAT140 LED film was designed for.
“Collaborating with Abierto has demonstrated the benefits of our Transparent LED film technology, with its OPEN.LED solution offering convenience store owners a content canvas to increase consumer actions,” said Karl Jackson, senior manager, LG Business Solutions USA. “Any window can now become a prime platform for advertising convenience purchases and attracting more customers than easy-to-ignore paper signage.”
Carolyn Schnare, host of the NACS Convenience Matters Podcast put it best in her podcast about the importance of using solutions like OPEN.LED to communicate with consumers at convenience stores. “C-Stores have remained open during the pandemic providing many new and essential services. Communicating that, and what’s inside the store right now is imperative to retailer success.”
On top of the 14mm LED film’s ease of installation, customizable size, curvability and stunning visual characteristics, LG has also ensured that its content management is easier than ever through native compatibility with LG webOS-based digital media players and LG’s Control Manager software, which is available on any internet-connected device. Through Control Manager, users can update and set timed schedules for content and automatic brightness adjustment throughout the day, in addition to monitoring real-time activity.
“LG webOS is important to these projects and to the product, offering simple content management tools and is baked into our OPEN.CMS solution to provide effortless content management across LG digital displays at any number of locations,” Sales said. “Combined with LG’s LED film technology that can be customized to fit virtually any size window and deliver virtually any desired aspect ratio, the content possibilities are almost limitless.”
Abierto’s OPEN platform is designed to distribute content to all types of displays a convenience store may deploy, including OPEN.LED signage, existing flat panels, menu boards, and even screens on fountain soda machines. This enables brands to develop a comprehensive “customer journey” experience, where a customer may be enticed to go inside by an OPEN.LED display, then given more information about new sales items, promotions or local information on smaller displays. With Abierto’s Content Creator software, content can be automatically formatted for each display’s parameters, further simplifying the process and enabling rapid updates.
“Many brands under-utilize digital signage because it’s difficult to update, or they are still relying on costly, inefficient paper signage that is impossible to update and also difficult to deploy,” Sales said, “the OPEN platform offers a better, easier solution that can increase foot traffic, improve message retention and raise brand perception all at once. While our initial study didn’t measure repeat visits or long-term branding effects, it’s clear that stores that use LG Transparent LED Film effectively have the opportunity to truly differentiate themselves from local competitors.”
Listen to a recent episode of the NACS Convenience Matters Podcast featuring LG and Abierto here. To view a demonstration of the LG LAT140, click here.