Education - Sept 2015

Small and large format print workshops - The Antalis Digital Academy

Digital Academy Seminar roomcontemporary environment

The array of workshops offered by The Antalis Digital Academy has proved popular since launching last September. Aimed at print service providers and sign makers, these small and large format workshops call upon experts in their fields to teach delegates the latest techniques and applications.

The workshops take place both at the Antalis head office in Leicestershire, and throughout the UK during on-site events. Courses include Colour Management, Sign Making, Vehicle Graphics Application and Vinyl Application.

“Our aim is to add value to our customer’s businesses, and train them in what is often new product or application areas,” says Giles Bristow, Digital Support Manager, Antalis. “We train attendees in a dedicated learning environment that involves expert trainers in their own fields, so that they can go away with skills to undertake new applications and jobs and therefore expand their business.”

Those new to the signage industry can attend an introductory sign makers workshop, while there are more specialist courses available covering the application of different types of vinyl, along with vehicle wrapping. The initial sign makers workshop is proving hugely popular, something Giles attributes to the number of commercial printing ventures that are investing in large format digital equipment, and looking at large format and sign making as ways to develop their businesses. Another popular workshop is aimed at sign makers that use Roland products, called the Roland VersaWorks Advance workshop, and it trains users specifically on these machines.

The courses began running in September 2014, and by the end of July this year, Antalis had run 45 workshops throughout the UK. The team travel anywhere from Devon to Scotland to carry out the workshops, and there are plans in place for a regional academy in Yorkshire in September.

Expanding education for sign makers

In addition to looking at the number ofcourses offered, Antalis are also examining areas of expansion that could be beneficial to sign makers.

“This year, we are looking at offering courses in things like exhibition graphics,and lamination and finishing,” says Giles. Antalis already run a range of workshops on colour management, an area Giles cites as being of growing importance, but they plan to expand further to provide more in-depth training with specific manufactures of RIP software. “Sign makers need to be able to use printers to provide consistent, repeatable colour. If they have to make more than one product that features corporate branding for a client, the colour is going to have to match across all those products perfectly.”

One of the major benefits of the courses offered at The Antalis Digital Academy is the expertise of the instructors. Rather than have one educator across all courses, an expert in the related skill or product oversees each workshop. For example, experienced sign maker and regular figure at Sign & Digital UK Paul Hughes is one such instructor, overseeing the workshops relating to sign making and vinyl application.

According to Giles, another benefit is the low cost of attendance. “Antalis run these courses and only charge a nominal fee, because for us, it’s about improving the relationship with our customer and adding value to their business,” he says. “I have lots of positive feedback from clients where they have been able to take on extra work because they now have the skills to be able to do that, simply by taking a workshop with us.”

Vehicle Wrapping Courses - Regularly held by Grafityp

GrafiWrap Wrapped Audi Team Car GrafiWrap Colourwave WrapGrafiWrap Training Course

For sign makers interested in vehicle wrapping, there are regular courses held at Grafityp UK Ltd. The courses were launched to accompany the introduction of the GrafiWrap Vehicle Wrap films for printing and their corresponding laminates, produced by Grafityp in Belgium.

One of the original providers of these types of courses, Grafityp has long been committed to furthering the skill sets of sign makers.

“At Grafityp, we wanted to offer people the chance to learn this new and exciting skill to the best of their ability, ensuring that both they and our products maintained a high reputation,” says Debbie Astle, Marketing Manager, Grafityp UK. “With vehicle wrapping here to stay, this course remains extremely popular.”

Debbie notes that there has been a constant interest in vehicle wrapping courses. “Full colour printed bespoke wraps are a popular choice for commercial fleets, small businesses, buses, and taxis.” In addition to learning about wraps for personalising vehicles and advertising, course delegates can discover newer trends as well, such as colour change wraps and special effect films, such as those in the GrafiWrap Auto FX range produced by Grafityp. This collection of films offers vinyls with effects such as textured leather, metallic, brushed metal, carbon fibre, flock and many more in lots of colours. “Partial or full wraps in these materials can look fantastic on small vehicles as well as prestige cars, but wrapping isn’t only restricted to vehicles. Many household objects, furniture items and shop fittings can look just as stunning,” adds Debbie.

The courses provide practical hands on experience of wrapping a vehicle successfully, covering steps such as applying in recesses, removing and replacing vehicle furniture and cutting neatly, along with selecting which tools to use, and many other tips and tricks. “There is also a classroom aspect to the course dealing with the design and RIP software,” says Debbie.

As well as offering vehicle wrapping, Grafityp hold Textile Workshop Seminars in conjunction with garment films manufacturer Siser.

Textile printing, garment preparation and décor, along with t-shirt and screen-printing have become more popular offerings from sign makers in recent years. Grafityp stock a comprehensive range of garment transfer materials for both CAD cutting and printing transfers for heat application. This workshop gives delegates the chance to try out the materials, stay up to date on the latest products, and get tips and tricks on applications. They can also speak to the manufacturers directly to become confident in applying transfers to all kinds of materials. These workshops are held a couple of times each year, with the next available dates being 30th September and 1st October.

Grafityp also provide basic training along with machinery installations for the Roland range of printers and print and cut machines, the LaserPro range of engravers, cutters and markers, and cutting plotters.

Roland DG UK’s Academy

Joe Wigz Web RDG Academy logo

Roland DG UK’s Academy is a facility in which sign makers can find fresh inspiration and skills to develop their businesses. Since its creation in 2006, the academy has consistently provided support not only to seasoned professionals, but also to those new to the industry, or those looking to diversify into lateral markets.

Roland DG Corporation is a leading manufacturer of products designed to help professionals and hobbyists transform their imagination into reality, including SOLJET, VersaCAMM, VersaUV and Texart series large-format inkjet devices. In addition to these product offerings, Roland DG also run a number of courses to inspire imagination and provide hands-on experience for sign makers.

The Roland DG Academy is an industry- recognised training facility available to businesses and individuals working within the heart of the creative industry – from sign makers to vehicle wrappers, textile printers to merchandisers. Offered at two central UK locations, Bristol and Walsall, the Academy presents attendees with an ideal, engaging learning environment equipped with modern training technologies in order to stand out and get the most out of their businesses.

“Our Roland Academy presents attendees with clear, practical and inspirational content that opens their eyes to new, profitable possibilities and opportunities in their fields,” says Joe Wigzel, Academy and Creative Centre Manager. “Versatility is important in today’s signage and print market, and the Academy and Creative Centre help make this transition easy and natural.”

The Creative Centre plays a large part in the support of both new and familiar customers. Based in Clevedon, the centre is filled with examples of what sign makers can develop using Roland DG technologies, including signs, packaging, engraved products, textiles and even 3D models. For those unable to attend the Creative Centre physically, there is an online Creative Centre Virtual Tour, in which past attendees can continue to be inspired from their own offices or homes.

Courses offered within the Academy are designed to suit all skill levels, ranging from the basics of software applications to production methods and beneficial technology advancements. There are full-day, halfday and taster sessions provided, alongside longer industry-specific courses such as the two-day Vehicle Wrap course held at Walsall Academy.

An all-in-one solution

In order to facilitate what Joe calls an “exchange of wisdom and imagination”, Roland DG offers Academy courses with the majority of print products that are sold.

For example, the Introduction to Digital Print course is offered alongside the compact VersaSTUDIO BN-20, and the Intermediate Digital Print course is bundled with the advanced SOLJET PRO-4 XR-640, offering support and knowledge to all business levels. Better Business Bootcamps are also provided for those interested in knowing more about a machine they are looking to purchase, such as the successful Texart Dye Sublimation Better Business Bootcamp.

“For those with more specific needs, Roland DG also run courses on Vehicle Wrap and Application based at Walsall College, providing the groundwork for those looking to diversify into a profitable new sector,” adds Joe. Lamination courses are also run in conjunction with Vivid Laminating, offering additional skillsets and developed knowledge to many print markets.

GFloor Printable Flooring - Training by Soyang

g floor day2

Following the initial success of their GFloor printable flooring, Soyang recently held a one-day free training session to educate sign makers and printers on the finer points of installation and sales.

The training event took place in the Soyang premises in Lancashire, with about 40 people in attendance.

Given the success of the new product, Sales Director Bill Rothe and Fitter Tony Spratley flew in from the United States to educate the UK market and run the seminar.

“The training day was an opportunity for Soyang’s existing G-Floor customer base to come along and participate in a practical workshop on how to fit it,” explains Mark Mashiter, MD, Soyang. “G-Floor is a unique product, and there are many creative possibilities, so they (attendees) were given insight into how to increase revenue with G-Floor in their portfolio. It was very beneficial to the sign makers that attended in helping them get the best out of their products.”

The day involved a live demonstration, during which the G-Floor was fitted in the Gymnasium. Tony took three pieces of material that needed joining together, and showed attendees how to put the material down with adhesive, and how to finish it on the edges and seal it properly.

G-Floor printable flooring has proven to be successful with printers looking to provide their client base with the latest in rich graphic media. The product is designed for use with both UV and solvent inks, and can be printed onto directly for second surface viewing. For any sign makers looking to offer vinyl floor graphics, the product is ideal, and the interest in it can be seen when looking at the turn out for the training event.

While there are no immediate plans for another training day, Mark says the team are looking at other possibilities, such as a road show, for the future. “When you get people together under one roof, in almost a classroom setting if you will, the focus is much more apparent,” he says. “When people are outside their own working environment, they’re quite relaxed and very focussed on what they’re coming to see.”

Design by