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What Specialty Printing & Processing Can Do With The Iridesse System

Specialty Printing & Processing provides top-quality printing services for customers based on their unique project specifications. To give our customers the best possible results for vinyl, polyester, and polycarbonate prints, we have implemented a highly efficient printing process. Specifically, using the Iridesse printing process, we have determined how to print at a significantly lower cost and much greater efficiency.

What Is the Xerox Iridesse Production Press?

The Xerox Iridesse production press is a new type of digital press used for printing on vinyl materials. It uses as many as six colors within the same pass, allowing for inline embellishment. In turn, customers benefit from superior results with each print job using this press.

Ultimately, using the Xerox Iridesse production press enables us to provide our customers with highly efficient prints while maintaining consistently great quality with each project. One of the main features that allows for this quality is the press’s Color FLX technology. This tech gives you the ability to use two specialty dry inks within a single pass, layering cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (CMYK) for color printing. At the same time, registration remains accurate across all colors.

Features of the Iridesse Printing Press

The Iridesse production press offers a few key features that help us deliver great results to our customers, which include:

  • A maximum of six inline print stations that are efficient and print within a single pass at a high rate, all while maintaining accurate registration from color to color
  • Specialty dry inks available in colors such as clear, white, gold, and silver that can enrich each project
  • Full Width Array technology that further increases efficiency through baselining the press
  • Mixed Media Xceleration (MMX) tech that boosts performance for mixed-stock projects

How SP&P Has Redefined the Iridesse System’s Capabilities

Using the Iridesse system, SP&P can print everything from polyester and vinyl labels and polycarbonate overlays to decorative trims and decals. We’ve also achieved similar results with our Indiego600, a paper printer we’ve used for printing templates, labels, overlays, decorative trims, and more.

Since acquiring the Xerox Iridesse production press, we’ve pushed it to its limits to maximize efficiency, durability, cost-effectiveness, color adhesion, and speed. In the process, we’ve worked to offset increasing printing costs, with these savings passed on to our customers in the form of more affordable printing services to help increase their bottom line.

One of the main benefits we’ve found with the Iridesse system is its ability to duplicate color. The press has the ability to duplicate, verify, and store various colors over a period of time, eliminating the need to rematch colors while allowing for optimal color stability and management. This also facilitates more cost-effectiveness, productivity, and efficiency.

How SP&P Has Improved Productivity

With the help of the Iridesse system and other efficient equipment, SP&P is able to make the most of its existing resources. We’re capable of providing our customers with the products we offer while using staff more efficiently, maintaining financial stability, and offsetting increasing material costs. In other words, we can do more with less.

A couple of specific benefits of using the Iridesse production press among other efficient systems include:

Expanded Applications

Our production press helps us serve all markets across a range of applications from medical device templates to decals and labels for businesses. Our long list of applications includes polycarbonate overlays, custom decals, product identifications, custom digital graphics, and specialty signage.


The efficiency of the Iridesse production press allows us to scale our services based on each customer’s needs, enabling us to keep up with customer growth and maintain sustainability. While printing materials may come with higher costs, our equipment has helped stabilize these expenses.

Learn More About SP&P’s Innovative Capabilities

The state-of-the-art printing equipment available at SP&P helps us provide our customers with the precise solutions they require, whether printing on vinyl or other materials that require specialized solutions. We work with each customer to understand their specific needs and provide the best available solution to get the job done right the first time.

Want to learn more about our printing capabilities? Request a consultation to discuss your next printing project with us, or reach out to us to speak with a representative about our services.

How to Choose the Right Metal Nameplate for Your Application

Metal nameplates are used in many diverse applications to display information clearly. As a highly customizable product, there are numerous factors to consider when developing a nameplate for any given application. This blog post will discuss the types of nameplates, their production processes, and other key design considerations.

Things to Consider When Selecting a Metal Nameplate

When selecting a metal nameplate for a product or piece of equipment, there are several design considerations to keep in mind. One important factor is the type of metal to be used, as different metals have different properties that may be more or less suitable for the intended application. Other important factors to consider include the size, shape, and thickness of the nameplate, as well as the type of printing or engraving to be used to create the markings on the nameplate.


Screen printing, digital printing, and engraving are all suitable processes for metal substrates. However, they vary in how the printing is performed, the colors that can be used, and how well the results will perform in various environments.

Screen Printing

Screen printing is a cost-effective method of placing graphics and colored logos or images onto equipment. It is a multi-step process that involves covering a metal surface with a mesh screen and then using an applicator to apply ink or epoxy. Screen-printed nameplates use spot colors, which is a printing technique for producing line art, logos, and text with clean edges and excellent color control. While the inks used today do withstand wear, sometimes a final coating is necessary to further seal the nameplate. This is particularly useful for nameplates that will be exposed to chemicals and wear.

Digital Printing

Widely regarded as the best option for producing nameplates with unique colors, gradient colors, or halftones, digital printing offers nearly endless opportunities for customization. It is also well suited to a variety of fabrication styles, enabling further customizations such as rounded corners, holes, and adhesives.


The engraving process is highly suitable for both metal and plastic nameplates. During this process, a rotating tool gently cuts into the nameplate’s material at the desired depth, following a computer-generated design pattern. Engraving creates a permanent design with less risk of wear compared to ink-printed designs.

Nameplate Materials

The best material depends on the nameplate’s intended use and the environment to which it will be exposed. For example, nameplates that will be used outdoors require a material able to withstand the elements. An anti-corrosive option like stainless steel is generally suitable for these applications. If the nameplate will be used indoors, malleability and color can be prioritized over durability.

Common Nameplate Materials

The most commonly used types of metal for nameplates include:

  • Stainless steel: Incredibly long-lasting, stainless steel is corrosion-resistant and able to withstand other environmental challenges, such as moisture and wear. It also features an attractive, clean finish, delivering a stylish appearance in addition to its high-performance capabilities.
  • Aluminum: Aluminum is a cost-effective alternative to other alloys and pure metals. It is malleable, making it ideal for custom printing, intricate designs, and shaping work. As a lightweight material, it is well-suited to pressure-sensitive adhesives. Its coloration naturally enhances digital and screen-printed graphics.
  • Brass: A popular choice for plaques, mounted nameplates, and awards, brass is a luxurious material. It is a more decorative choice than other metals due to its distinct coloration. Brass has a copper and zinc-alloy base which provides durability and malleability when heated. The higher the zinc content, the stronger the nameplate will be.
  • Cold-rolled Steel: Also known as cold-formed steel, this material is shaped using low temperatures. For nameplates, it provides a canvas suitable for painting, plating, and powder coating. Its durability and maintenance-friendly nature make it suitable for a variety of uses.


The final shape, height, length, and thickness of a nameplate help determine which type of metal will be most suitable. It also determines how much detail can be included in the printed designs and what type of edges the finished product could have.


Certain applications require protective coatings to increase the nameplate’s durability. In other applications, a finish to enhance its visual effect might be more suitable to help the final product stand out.

Environmental Conditions

The wear the nameplate will experience in its ultimate environment influences which material, printing process, and finish it requires. Possible exposure to water, oil, chemicals, and even air are other environmental considerations.

Indoor or Outdoor

Determining whether the nameplate will be used in an indoor or outdoor environment can help you make other decisions regarding its materials and production.

  • Indoor: If the nameplate is for indoor use and won’t be exposed to abrasives, vinyl decal designs may work well. In more demanding applications, polycarbonate or polyester nameplates may be a more suitable choice.
  • Outdoor: Outdoor usage typically requires a high degree of durability and weather resistance. Stainless steel and aluminum are most suitable for withstanding humidity, high temperatures, water, oils, and chemicals.

Adhesives or Fasteners

How your metal nameplate will be mounted onto its final location is another important consideration. Holes can be added to the nameplate design for wall fasteners if the dimensions allow it, or an adhesive backing can be used.

Metal Nameplates from Specialty Printing & Processing

Nameplates are an effective method of identifying products and conveying information. If you need a custom nameplate, Specialty Printing & Processing has been creating high-quality solutions since 1961. We offer a wide selection of processes to meet your needs and can help you develop the perfect nameplate for your application. To get started, contact us today.

Benefits of Contract Manufacturing for Printed Components and Finished Goods

Recent global events have put countless manufacturers in the difficult position of being unable to supply product, mostly due to circumstances beyond their control. Material scarcities, labor shortages, inability to get materials shipped in and goods shipped out, the list goes on. As a result, manufacturers have since been forced to reconsider their entire supply chain and overall manufacturing processes. Many have come to the same conclusion: to increase efficiency and reliability, they must simplify their processes and reduce the amount of suppliers involved. Or, as we like to say, less cooks in the kitchen.

Let’s take a look at how a brand can achieve this, and other benefits, by working with a contract manufacturer, particularly when the assembly or finished goods require some sort of specialty printing.

Cost Savings

By working with a single source supplier, money is saved in many ways. First, purchasing costs are reduced. Everything goes on one purchase order. This generally means one invoice, and only one processing cycle. Done. So much less involved than dealing directly with a handful or more suppliers. In addition, the manufacturer does not need stock raw materials or parts, some of which will sadly never leave the warehouse. As another major benefit, the supplier is responsible for providing the assembly or finished product to the agreed specifications. If the supplier makes a mistake, the burden is on them to resolve it, not the manufacturer. In certain situations, this could lead to huge savings.

Improved Turnaround Times

Most products or sub-assemblies require multiple manufacturing processes. For instance, the ones that we typically handle may require machining, fabricating, laser work, powder coating in addition to a long list of secondary and finishing operations. That’s a lot to coordinate! A contract manufacturer relieves this burden. Often, they are working with trusted suppliers with proven track records. And, truth be told, these suppliers are often likely to give priority to long standing customers.

For example, let’s review a subassembly that we produce for a major manufacturer. We coordinate multiple process that starts with procuring powder coated metal backing plates. These may have mounting PEMs® for switches or circuit boards, which we take care of as well. Typically, we will also manufacture the overlay including adhesive work and die cutting, then apply the overlay to the plate assembly and deliver the completed subassembly to our end customer. This greatly simplifies their sourcing process, while saving them a good amount of money (and grief) as well.

Reduced Need for Skilled Labor and Capital Equipment

We all know the old saying, “You can’t find good help these days.” This one has surely stood the test of time! In fact, it’s now more relevant than ever. Complex manufactured/printed products require employees with a wide range of varying skillsets. Whether it’s a rather simple assembly job, or a more complex arrangement, why deal with the burden of finding and keeping skilled labor when the contact manufacturer has them in house or a phone call/email away?

The same rings true for capital equipment. Machinery typically carries six or seven figure price tags, in addition to the skilled labor required to operate it. And let’s not forget the recurring training and maintenance costs!

These are just a few of the benefits that manufacturers can receive when working with a single source supplier for assemblies and finished/packaged goods. It’s important though to make sure you partner with the right one. While we could probably write a whole blog on that topic alone, here are a few pointers: Look at their portfolio, see what brands they’ve worked with and what they’ve done for them. Make sure they are confident that they can take on your work based on its complexity, volume and target delivery dates. Established contract manufacturers will typically take what they know they can handle. Some of us like to get creative and take on bigger challenges. But at the end of the day, the contract manufacturer wants to be the hero of the story, not yet another source or sourcing aggravation!

Introducing our New MVP: Delivering Better Quality without Inflated Price Tags

Advances in printing have come a long way over the last thirty years. This is thanks mostly to the advent and acceleration of digital printing technology. When comparing the capabilities of today’s digital equipment to how things were done back then, the differences are almost unimaginable. (We won’t bore you with the details.) Better yet, the technology continues to improve, bringing further increased quality, efficiency and other significant benefits.

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Delivering Better Quality without Inflated Price Tags

We Pushed the Limits, Again

The latest addition to our equipment lineup, our impressive Iridesse system, is no exception to the trend. It boasts a six-color engine, that can lay down CMYK in a single pass, in addition to specialty spot colors. (More on that later.) While this press is impressive right out of the box, we’ve already been able to push the limits of its capabilities. By leveraging the creative thinking and problem solving we’re well known for, we’ve adapted the use to our customer’s needs, materials and applications. For instance, we can print directly on plastics and other materials more efficiently with better quality than ever before. But there’s much more to it. 

Keeping the Lid on Prices

One of the greatest benefits of implementing this new technology is the ability for us to continue to offer competitive and predictable pricing, at a time when price tags seem to grow larger by the day. There are several factors that contribute to this:

  • The equipment is faster 
  • It’s less expensive to operate, with lower maintenance costs
  • The increased speed, efficiency and quality helps compensate for continually increasing material costs. This allows us to absorb those increases, rather than passing them along to our customers.
  • Significantly improved uptime. This means we can be more productive, while minimizing material and wasted resources.

Wait. It Can Do WHAT?

In addition to improved overall performance, the equipment can do some pretty cool things that help reduce process time and increase quality. For instance, it can lay down white, gold or silver. Previously, extra steps using additional equipment were required to achieve this. It also boasts a higher resolution, 1200×1200. While this capability isn’t new, the fact that it can achieve this without slowing down is a big benefit. This equates to noticeably better quality, without increasing runtime. Further, it offers us better color control, thanks to an onboard spectrophotometer. That’s just a fancy way of saying improved color matching and consistency across the run, and from job to job. 

The Machine is Green!

Not only do customers benefit from all of this, but so does the environment. The machine operates much cleaner than its predecessors. In fact, it’s almost chemical free. Better yet, it doesn’t create any waste! None, it doesn’t even have a waste tank. Environmentally speaking, this is a vast improvement. As an added bonus, it also consumes less power. 

Improved quality. Reduced manufacturing expense. Increased speed, reliability and uptime. All of this adds up to giving us the ability to make your products look great, without destroying your budget. 

Curious to see how you can benefit from this impressive technology? Reach out to us with your needs today. 

Achieving the ‘Impossible’: Printing on Complex Metal Fabricated Powder Coated Parts

“If it’s not flat, it can’t be printed on.” That’s the prevailing thought when it comes to printing directly on fabricated powder-coated parts. Yet, printing in some form, whether directly or indirectly, is required for marking, instructions, and of course, branding. While it is typically challenging to print directly for several reasons, we can tell you that it’s certainly not impossible!


Why Do People Say it’s ‘Impossible’?

So, why is it so difficult to print directly on complex powder-coated parts? It’s pretty simple, printing processes by their very nature are designed to lay down ink on flat surfaces. Complex parts have unusual geometries that don’t lend themselves to being printed on easily. So instead, manufacturers will often resort to labels. While this may be a good solution in certain situations, it’s a compromise that comes with drawbacks including:

  • Labels have a tendency to peel off over time. This may be due to environmental conditions such as heat or other climate-related factors, or thanks to people being unable to resist the urge to peel of a label, particularly for items in public.
  • To achieve proper adhesion, powder-coated metal requires an engineered adhesive. This adds inevitable cost and complexity to an otherwise simple product.
  • Labels complicate inventory management. In addition to managing the product, labels need to be inventoried as well. They take up space too, a precious commodity.
  • They increase procurement costs well. They require a purchase order. They need to be made. Received. Billed. Paid for. They also come with minimums. For short runs, manufacturers are essentially forced to buy more than they need, thus wasting money.


How Can Printing on Metal Powder Coated Be Done?

With a bit of ingenuity and determination, printing on complex powder coated components can be achieved, with impressive results. While we won’t give away the secret sauce, we can tell you that it involves creative approaches to workholding, and “outside the box” thinking when it comes to overall process. In fact, no two jobs utilize the same exact method. There is always some variation required to accommodate the part and the customer’s needs. Let’s look at some things that were thought to be impossible, but were able to be done.

  • A fabricator that makes side panels for welding equipment had big dreams: they wanted to brand them. The challenge is that the panels have vent flanges. We came up with a process that allowed us to screen print on the panels after they are powder coated. The result? A beautifully branded product, with type and graphics that will stand the test of time.
  • A west coast transit system uses brochure holders to disseminate information to the public. A sticker certainly won’t last for this application. In fact, digital printing wouldn’t hold up either, due to wear from public use. Our solution allows us to hold these components in such a way that we can screen print directly on them. In the end, logos and descriptions printed on them will withstand the beating they will take.
  • A manufacturer of instrument panels came to us with a challenge. They needed help putting markings on the front control panel. But the presence of thumb screws, and other components made it difficult. We developed a process allowing us to screen print in small areas with precision. Stickers or vinyl might have been an easier way to achieve this, but there’s no way they would last in this high touch, high use environment.

These are just a few of the many success stories we like to share. Regardless of the industry or use, they all have the same theme in common: printing on powder coated components is not impossible. We do it all the time. As a result, our customers get a polished printed product, without the hassles associated with labels. The printing is durable, attractive and stands the test of time.


If you have an “impossible” printing challenge for powder coated parts, let us know about it. We’d love to help engineer a solution tailored to your needs.