Grapo Technologies and Orafol Partner to Bring New Capabilities to Traffic Sign Manufacturing

Brno / Olomouc, Czech Republic, March 23 2010 – Grapo Technologies, a manufacturer of UV large format roll-to-roll and flatbed UV printers based in the Czech Republic, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Orafol Europe GmbH, a leading manufacturer of self-adhesive graphic products, special tape systems and reflective materials. Both companies agreed to develop an application package that uses Grapo’s Octopus UV digital printers and specially developed inks to digitally produce reflective traffic signs using Orafol`s microprismatic reflective film systems, replacing screen printing technology for many sign applications.

“We are very pleased have been selected by Orafol, a well-known and respected brand in the market, for this unique application” said Radim Kralik, CEO of Grapo Technologies. “Through this partnership, Orafol and Grapo will be able to sell this unique system. It is a rewarding experience for Grapo that Orafol’s due diligence efforts resulted in the approval of our technology for this highly critical application.”

Traffic signs are a very specific application with critical specifications and cannot be produced digitally using normal CMYK inks. In partnership with Orafol, Grapo Technologies has modified its Octopus UV printing system to the ORALITE ® UV traffic sign printer, developing special inks to address the seven-color requirement for traffic signs. “For printing on the Orafol`s microprismatic reflective material,” added Kralik, “each color must have perfect physical specifications to ensure proper reflection. The seven flat color inks we developed are able to be printed directly from one head on the ORALITE ® UV traffic sign printer, replacing traditional screen printing processes which are costly, time consuming and carry a heavier environmental footprint. In addition, screen printing is not a cost-effective process for shorter runs.”

Grapo Octopus

Migrating Traffic Signs from Analog to Digital Manufacturing

With this new system, traffic sign manufacturers will be able to cost-effectively handle short runs and print signs on demand to meet market needs, especially for signs with variable information, directions and other information that may only require a quantity of one or two.

Kralik points out that although Grapo can sell the system under the agreement, Orafol will be the primary coordinator of sales activities. “There are legal and testing procedures required to gain acceptance from each ministry of traffic,” he explains. “Colors must be certified, but more importantly, the entire system must be certified. Orafol will be leading the certification process based on their relationships, reputation and experience in this market.” Not only must colors be specific in order to pass certification, but inks also must demonstrate good adhesion to the reflective materials and last a long time under varying light and weather conditions. The new traffic sign manufacturing system consists of three components: the ORALITE ® UV traffic sign printer developed by Grapo, custom inks developed by Orafol, and microprismatic reflective material provided by Orafol.

“Because of this easy and reliable technology we expect to see good market reception to this breakthrough solution.” said Dr. Loclair, Managing Director of Orafol. “We are excited to be able to show samples of printed reflective material using this system at Intertraffic Amsterdam 23-25 March 2010 .” Orafol can be found in Hall 1, Booth 203 at the show.

Agile Development Ensures Fast Production of Niche Products

“This is only one niche market we have been investigating,” said Kralik, “and we are extremely pleased that our nimble and flexible R&D organization was able to respond quickly to the needs of this market as presented to us by Orafol. This is only one example of how our R&D efforts can benefit not only niche markets but the market as a whole in an environment where new applications arise frequently and requirements for existing applications can change quickly.”

About Orafol

ORAFOL Europe GmbH is a leading manufacturer of self-adhesive graphic products, special tape systems and reflective materials. The company strongly invested in the expansion of its core business during the last few years. It is currently represented in over 90 countries. The site in Oranienburg near Berlin employs more than 500 people. ORAFOL Europe GmbH is certified according to EN ISO 9001 and EN ISO 14001. A subsidiary, ORACAL USA Inc., was established in the United States.

About Grapo Technologies

Czech Republic-based Grapo Technologies is the only wide-format printer manufacturer with origins as a print shop. Grapo’s founder, Radim Králik, manufactured his first UV-curable wide-format printer for his own print shop in 2003. When he launched it commercially in 2004, Grapo Technologies was born.

Today, the company manufactures mid-market wide-format printers that use UV-curable inks. By drawing on its experience as a print shop operator and using smarter engineering, Grapo Technologies ensures that its systems are the most efficient and cost effective on the market. Grapo Technologies‘ printers deliver optimal performance and are easy to use and maintain, keeping training and operating costs to a minimum. All Grapo Technologies systems are put through a rigourous testing process in Grapo’s own print shop environment prior to customer shipment.

Grapo Technologies printers are manufactured in Europe and are used to produce billboard displays, building wraps, point-of-purchase (POP) displays and more. Grapo Technologies currently offers three models – Manta, Octopus and Shark – which are sold throughout Europe and the rest of the world through a network of distributors.

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