originally seen in Canvas Magazine, April 2020
Sign Artisans. If you are looking for a name that helps define everything and anything about Intersign Corporation, you can start there. Incorporated in 1987, the Chattanooga, Tennessee based company has become an industry leader in designing and producing high quality interior and exterior signs for healthcare and long-term care facilities, hotels, businesses, restaurants, apartment complexes, and more.
The Intersign team, which also operates a satellite plant in Springboro, Ohio, runs three shifts, 24 hours a day, six days week with approximately 220 employees. The crux of its business is in interior ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) signage, which impacts every aspect of a building’s construction and design. Over the years, Intersign has become a respected name in helping companies meet ADA guideline requirements, a process that can oftentimes be complex. Intersign works with its customers to produce signs that govern what constitutes compliance with the law, including adhering to issues like no glare, high contrast, easyto- read typefaces, upper and lowercase rules, appropriate sized letters and room-identifying signs properly placed.
One of the biggest dynamics impacting Intersign Corporation’s marketplace is continual evolution of ADA, which guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications. In 2010, the standards presented set minimum requirements for newly designed or renovated state and local government facilities, public accommodations and commercial facilities to be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including customers, clients and employees.
Along with providing direction in helping businesses keep up to speed on ADA signage requirements, Intersign works with its customers to provide the expertise needed to not only meet legal specifications, but aesthetic guidance as well. “Our product is usually viewed from an arms-length distance to 5 feet away or so (wood grains, brushed finishes, and large areas of solid color print all of which are viewed up close),” says Jim Roides, Intersign COO and GM.
Roides says Intersign’s customers look for a multitude of material and material textures, all of which the company is equipped to provide. “The trends for our markets are always colors, patterns such as wood grains, brushed metallics, and various materials. Being in the architectural sign business has us printing primarily on rigid material. Mostly various acrylics, PVCs, styrene, glass, glass mirror, metals, FRP and rigid films. Some of these materials accept ink well and others present challenges that take time to dial in.”
In a continually changing marketplace, the Intersign team wanted to improve its ability to process and deliver on the specific and time-sensitive needs its customers sought, especially relating to ADA requirements. Roides and his team set out to find ways to deliver more efficient and cost-effective production methods, including bringing some of the work it was outsourcing, in house.
“Our business is very customer driven, so much of how we innovate is determined by the specifications of our customers,” Roides says. “Our customers do not design many products with large format printing in mind. We lean toward LFP (large format printing), as we see it provides us the opportunity to use its capabilities to value engineer a specification and to ensure we remain compliant with ADA requirements.”
To help hit its target, Intersign turned to Fujifilm’s Acuity Select 26 flatbed, from the Acuity Select 20 series. With proven performance and incorporating Fujifilm’s GREENGUARD® Gold certified industry leading Uvijet inks and inkjet technology, the Acuity Select series features up to eight color channels, including options to run white, varnish and light inks, making it an affordable solution for a number of creative print applications. Roides says the versatility of printing high quality, 1200 dpi or greater graphics on rigid, flexible and even roll media offers Intersign opportunities to expand its print capabilities. “The Acuity fits well into the majority of our opportunities. Space issues are the primary reason we have yet to move forward with an even larger printer, but we are working on that solution, too.”
Since bringing the Acuity Select 26 on board, the Intersign Corporation team has been able to gain more control over some of the jobs they were outsourcing. Intersign also purchased several other printers based on specific projects and contracts they were able to land.
At the end of the day, the partnership with Fujifilm helped increased its output capabilities, which has been quickly utilized based on their growth over the past seven years.
“Our initial printer purchase was to bring in house some work that we were outsourcing,” Roides says. “Once in house, we knew we would find many opportunities to increase the capabilities we could bring to our clients.”
One of the main benefits of Intersign Corporation’s partnership with Fujifilm is the synergy it has created on the technical support side. The Intersign team says it is hard to start any conversation about Fujifilm without highlighting the technical support team that delivers on each request.
“Fujifilm’s level of tech support is what we value most,” Roides says. “We run our printers on three shifts, 24 hours per day, six days a week. All machines will have issues, especially when you run 24/6 in a growing company. With our company being very due date/deadline-driven, equipment uptime is critical. Fujifilm has provided a well-built machine, great tech support, and are always there to address the issues, enhancements and improvements needed.”