Printing on flexible magnetic sheeting and magnetic-receptive material promises some truly attractive opportunities, literally and figuratively.
Unlike the fairly rigid but flexible magnetic materials you may already know, advances in magnetic substrates now allow P-O-P that is at once lighter, more durable and flexible, and easily printed with graphics as visually stunning as today’s digital presses can produce.
Keep surfaces clean and properly store these materials and these P-O-P displays will serve for months, even years.
“Magnetic P-O-P signage is a growing segment in an otherwise relatively flat market,” notes Korby Guthrie, director of business development for Magnum Magnetics. “Today it’s easy to print on magnets.”
Guthrie advises print service providers to learn about their customers’ needs and then familiarize themselves with how advances in magnetic materials can address them.
The applications and benefits are as varied as the displays and settings. “There are no limits to how magnetic materials can be used in P-O-P today,” asserts Steve McLevey, customer service and product manager for the Flexmag™ division of Arnold® Magnetic Technologies Corp. “You tell us what printer and what ink system you’re using, and we have a solution for the application.”
For the end-user, magnetic solutions allow them to easily update or revise P-O-P content without the cost of producing an entirely new display. “The use of magnetic-receptive media and/or magnetic sheeting is ideal for situations where displays need to be changed or updated on a regular basis.” Says Dan Halkyard, director of marketing for Visual Magnetics.
At Master Magnetics, Sales Manager Melissa Thompson agrees. “[Magnets] can be easily changed,” she notes, outlining the key advantage of magnetic P-O-P. “When the promotion changes for the next month, just pull off a magnet and put a new one out there.
“There’s no messy glue or holes to deal with. It saves time and money!”
While flexible magnetic sheeting remains a popular choice wherever P-O-P signage must be updated on a fairly regular basis, it’s the new display systems and materials that are actually expanding the applications for use of magnets at the point-of-sale. “For P-O-P, anywhere you have a steel surface or can install a magnetic-receptive material, [magnets] can be very cost-effective solutions,” explains McLevey.
Flexmag offers traditional magnetic sheeting and its Flex-Mag Coat EZ creates a printable surface idealized for the particular print and ink system in use. Sheeting is available at thicknesses ranging from 10-mil to 60-mil.
The product line also includes magnetizers for treating the material after graphics have been applied. “By providing the opportunity to magnetize the material after it’s been printed, we’ve really broadened the market,” says McLevey. “You can take advantage of the graphics capabilities of today’s presses and still have all the advantages of magnetic material.”
Korby says most P-O-P signage produced with Magnum Magnetics products is done using a two-part magnetic system: a base layer of the company’s RubberSteel® magnetic-receptive sheet or roll material that can be permanently applied to most surfaces, to which a magnetic layer with a printable surface is added. “This allows the signage to be re-positionable and the receptive to be reusable,” he notes. “Print quality of magnetic sheeting now rivals most other materials, and the ease of application, durability, and finish cannot be matched.”
As Halkyard explains, the Visual Magnetics Graphics System uses proprietary technology in which graphics are printed to magnetic-receptive media with embedded Micro Iron particles. “Magnetic-receptive media is part of a simple system where specially coated print media is first printed and later applied to the flexible magnet,” he says. “The magnet then becomes part of the fixture in the P-O-P environment and need only be installed one time.
“The lower cost magnetic-receptive media is changed out to refresh the message.”
Master Magnetic’s product line includes FlexIron™, a magnetically receptive material that, according to Marketing Manager Mike Gertz, has many uses for P-O-P applications. “It’s a magnetically-receptive material that attracts all types of low-profile magnets,” he explains. “It can be printed on for a colorful background that flexible and ceramic magnets adhere to.”
Protect the Investment
Whatever their approach, vendors maintain magnetic P-O-P can be much more durable than other forms of P-O-P. The first step for protecting these displays, says Thompson, is cleaning the surface the magnet attracts to of dirt, dust, or other debris before installation and then periodically cleaning to ensure a good hold.
“Store flexible magnetic sheeting in a clean dry area,” advises Thompson. “If rolling, roll with the printed or non-magnetic side out. Store on end to avoid flat spots.
“If storing flat, then store it on a clean, smooth, flat surface and don’t stack the magnetic side to the magnetic side.”
With proper maintenance, the initial upfront investment in magnetic P-O-P can be recouped in a system that serves long-term, as the same display can be continually refreshed with a new message or graphics. That’s why flexible magnets have always been so popular in menu boards—and why these new options can appeal to cost-conscious clients who want the most from their P-O-P.
In fact, the P-O-P magnet systems and solutions are now so versatile—and the potential benefits so numerous—the biggest challenge to growth could be limited awareness of how to incorporate flexible magnets into more compelling displays. To overcome that, Thompson has a recommendation. “Show the magnets in use for different applications. [This will] stir the imagination and encourage clients to explore ways to incorporate flexible magnets into their P-O-P.”
“The main thing to convey is that, if they have a need for magnetic materials in their displays, there are now answers,” sums up McLevey. “There are many untapped opportunities yet in how these flexible materials can be used, so there’s still a lot of growth in this market.”
Photos (top to bottom) courtesy of Magnum Magnetics, Master Magnetics, Visual Magnetics.