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Faster Fabrication, Superb Clarity and Strength Add Value for Large Retailer

(Oklahoma City, OK) - Coinciding with the recent dip in consumer spending over the last few years, design trends in the P-O-P industry are driving fabricators to deliver more options and better service, and often for less money. Retailers and brand managers still have a need for quality displays and units, but increasingly they are looking to either reduce overall spending, or justify costs with value-added features.

Western Plastics (Oklahoma City, OK), a plastics fabricator specializing in the P-O-P industry, found a method to capitalize on value-adds in both operations and materials. For a recent large manufacturing order—sign displays for a major North American retailer—Western Plastics used ACRYLITE PLUS® acrylic sheet from CYRO Industries (Rockaway, NJ). The product was chosen over PETG sheet because ACRYLITE PLUS sheet offered the clarity of acrylic with an impact modified polymer technology to improve impact strength and extend product life.

In addition to these benefits, Western Plastics discovered the material saved costs on the fabrication side, with faster routing and fewer replacements. The result: a value-add for both manufacturer and retailer.

The sign order was substantial: over 10,000 pieces resulting in sales in excess of $50,000. The sign holders would hold printed graphics in different departments of retail stores encountering heavy traffic. Since the material would undergo a battery of abuse in the field, impact resistance was critical to the customer.

Western Plastics sells primarily to P-O-P processors, and it needed to produce the pieces and package them for direct distribution to retail stores. Whenever Western Plastics is approached with substantial orders like this, the first thing it examines is the material specified for the project. Because of the exceptional impact strength needed for the signs, PETG was specified. However Western Plastics realized that, while PETG would provide the strength, it lacked clarity and would diminish the consumer appeal of the display.

A “Gin Clear” Material
“Anytime an item is on display, clarity becomes a major issue,” says Sheryl Gipson, Co-Owner of Western Plastics. “To put it simply, see-through applications call for acrylic. Sign holders in particular require the clarity that acrylic offers. After all, a sign holder isn’t there to be noticed, it’s there to make sure the sign gets noticed.” Vic Nicholson, Plant Manager at Western Plastics concurs: “The best sign holders we can make are the ones you don’t know are even there,” he says.

Although ACRYLITE PLUS sheet was a relatively new product, Western Plastics was already familiar with its properties. “We like to say the clarity is ‘gin clear’,” jokes Gipson, who adds that the material was engineered to meet the specific needs of the P-O-P market. Western Plastics was confident in recommending this material over PETG sheet, and over other acrylics.
“For clarity, acrylic is the best material, but when you have to introduce break resistance you usually have to use PETG. ACRYLITE PLUS sheet has the clarity of acrylic and adds the impact resistance for those applications that need it,” says Nicholson. “The impact-modified acrylic sheet is ideal for the day-to-day contact the holders would experience in the field,” adds Gipson.

Customized Sheet Size Kept Large Project Simple
The unique dimensions of the sign holders posed another obstacle that could cut into Western Plastics’ productivity. The industry standard sheet size (48” x 96”) would not give the economical yield for the job. Having worked with CYRO Industries in the past, Western Plastics requested customized sizes in order to capitalize on yields and increase productivity. CYRO was able to accommodate the large order and supplied ACRYLITE PLUS sheet in 51”x 100” sizes. In so doing, Western Plastics was able to achieve the required yield to maximize ROI.

“The quick response and good communication we had with CYRO Industries allowed us to spec in a new sheet size, and to know exactly when product lines were running to set up an accurate timeline for the job,” says Gipson.

Quick and Easy Fabrication Saves Up To 20 Percent
Western Plastics has found that by using ACRYLITE Plus sheet for jobs it has lowered overall fabrication costs. “I would say it has reduced our costs by 15 to 20 percent, depending on the application,” says Nicholson. The main reasons for this are faster fabrication and reduced labor.

Modified acrylics such as ACRYLITE PLUS sheet allow fabricators greater tooling parameters during fabrication. Other materials such as PETG have a tendency to “grab” the bit during routing if fed too fast. This makes it necessary to run materials at a slow speed.
By loosening the tooling restrictions of the material being machined, Western Plastics is able to run ACRYLITE PLUS sheet through routers and saws faster than other materials such as PETG. These faster feed rates reduce the shop time required to complete projects, which minimizes overall operation costs. Since labor represents the largest cost to a fabricator, this has allowed Western Plastics to quickly realize bottom line benefits.

“We have been able to increase our machine rates with ACRYLITE PLUS,” says Nicholson. The material also resists chipping and melting, and another aspect that has been beneficial to operations is easier flame polishing. “With only one pass of the torch on the ACRYLITE PLUS sheet, we have been able to quickly put on a nice finish. We find flame polishing steps run much more smoothly than with PETG. To get a flame polished edge with PETG, you need a special temperature. This results in changes and adjustments, more time, and eventually higher costs,” he adds.

Lower Replacement and Shipping Costs
Impact strength is extremely valuable to a display’s service life, and customers are usually willing to pay a little more for impact resistant products. The cost for replacements is also an important factor for the display manufacturer, since if parts break before reaching customers, fabricators absorb the expense, 1eating up a significant amount of time and materials. Initially using materials with additional impact strength will often help avoid those replacement parts.

Shipping is another cost-savings. Since ACRYLITE PLUS sheet can be downgauged while still yielding impact strength, it lowers the weight of the display. “It reduces shipping costs because you’re using less material,” says Gipson. “We experience low transit breakage, and we feel with ACRYLITE PLUS sheet parts arrive more safely, more often.” She notes that for fabricators this is often a bigger selling point than for end-users. “Sometimes you have to sell your customers on downgauging because they assume thicker means more durable.”

Gipson notes that because of the value of impact resistance, PETG has usually been an industry standard. But ACRYLITE PLUS sheet’s modified impact strength offers fabricators and end-users substantial strength with the beauty of acrylic. In the end modified acrylic sheet provides a display that looks great and has lasting durability.
“Starting with the right material can really pay off in the end. And ACRYLITE PLUS sheet is the product of choice for applications and signs that call for eye-popping graphics with superior impact resistance,” she concludes.

For more information about CYRO, contact:

CYRO Industries
100 Enterprise Drive
Rockaway, NJ 07866
Tel: 800-631-5384
Fax: 973-442-6117


Plastics Molding & Fabricating
P: (847) 362-1560
F: (847) 362-5028