The World of FASTSIGNS
I recently had to have a banner sign made for GRAPH EXPO. This was a double-sided banner that could be attached to a tripod. So...I made my way over to my local FASTSIGNS franchise in Eden Prairie, MN. Owned by Bev Weber, a transplant from the United Kingdom, and her husband, and their franchise has experienced steady growth since they opened the doors.
I had to engage their services recently in order to get the banner sign and display stand produced for GRAPH EXPO. I asked Bev to give me the cook's tour of her shop and was struck by the range of products that FASTSIGNS could produce. From your basic "garage sale" to complete vehicle wraps (and more). But what caught my eye was a little red machine at the back of the shop. It was a pint-sized laser. One of the staff explained to me that this little machine could perform a variety of operations—cutting, engraving, marking and more. You simply load the drawing and material in, close the cover, and away you go. Not only that, but the machine had a serious cutting ability, able to cut through serious thicknesses of plastic, glass, paper, textiles and more.
As a demonstration, they fired up the machine. After loading the file, a minute or so later the tiny laser head fired up and produced a perfectly cut Minnesota Vikings acrylic key ring attachment from a sheet. I was impressed. The laser cutting systems I was familiar with cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. But this machine was far less than that. In fact, Bev explained to me that they had purchased the machine on the basis of a single job which nearly paid for the system. And it allowed them to bring in a lot of work that would have been farmed out prior.
Don has worked in technical support, sales, engineering, and management during a career in both the commercial offset and digital finishing sectors. He is the North American representative for IBIS Bindery Systems, Ltd. of The United Kingdom.