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The Art of Attraction

(July 2009) posted on Mon Jul 20, 2009

One of the oldest technologies for making one thing cling to another is exhibiting some attractive properties.

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By Ashley Ferguson

Despite the fact that flexible magnet offerings span from 12- to almost 40-inch-wide rolls and are available in an array of colors, cuts, and thicknesses, some shops have discovered the appeal and efficiency of the traditional magnet system in reverse—that is, with a magnet sheet backing adhered, or permanently installed, on a wall and a thin paper substrate coated with metal (that can be printed on using virtually any machine) applied to the magnetic backing.

Case in point: Graphic Systems in Minneapolis, which has found success with a “magnetic-receptive system” from Xcel Products.

“We actually came upon it at the SGIA show in 2007,” says Marty Kauls, Graphic Systems’ marketing manager. “We thought it was a cool product, and when we returned home, Wilson’s approached us.”

The major US leather retailer, which was only a prospective client at the time, explained that it wanted to be able to change out its 8 x 10-foot murals three to four times a year. It was then that Graphic Systems performed an in-house demonstration of the magnetic-receptive system they’d previously seen at SGIA as well as a pressure-sensitive vinyl system. It didn’t take much to sell Wilson’s on the magnetic-receptive media: Using the product made much more sense for Wilson’s Leather because the printed media is easily rolled up, placed in tubes and shipped for less than images printed or mounted on rigid material, Kauls explains.

Shortly after the in-house tests, Kauls and crew output the graphics for the first 8 x 10-foot mural for use in Wilson’s concept store in Minneapolis, Minnesota, onto Xcel’s VM Polyeight 8-mil Satin Polyester. Three 33-inch panels were printed using Graphic Systems’ Durst Rho 351R with Durst UV inks, then cut with a Zund cutter. The mural was then applied to the magnetic backing, which had already been adhered to the store wall.

“Getting the proper installation of the magnet to the wall is crucial,” says Kauls. Magnetic backing, with which the changing printed graphics correspond, does require professional installation and a strong adhesive custom for every wall, he points out.


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