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					                                         T H E W O R L D O F S U B L I M AT I O N




                                    THE NAME BADGE BUSINESS:
                                    Another Revolution in the Making
                                    I
                                      F I TOLD YOU THAT YOU COULD BE MAKING $250 to $500 per hour with only a very       If so, let’s start with another question.
                                       small investment, would you be interested? No, I am not talking about         How many companies do you know that
                                                                                                                     use name badges? As you know, almost
                                       some get rich quick deal, or a multi-level marketing program selling          any company or service that works with the
                                    miracle herbs on the Internet. I am talking about real, honest, US green-        public either does or should insist that
                                                                                                                     every employee wear a name badge. I have
                                    backs in the bank, no tricks attached, add to the bottom line, profit. Again,    even gotten a couple of churches to provide
                                    I ask you, would you be interested enough to read the rest of this article?      name badges for their staff, deacons, elders
                                                                                                                     and so on. The idea? So visitors will know
                                                                                                                     who is who. One fairly large church has
                                                                                                                     even gone so far as to provide a name
                                                                                                                     badge for every member. What better way
                                                                                                                     to help people feel comfortable and wel-
                                                                                                                     come? Business has been doing this for
                                                                                                                     years and although there are always the
                                                                                                                     general mumblings from employees about
                                                                                                                     having to wear badges, almost everyone
                                                                                                                     recognizes the value of self-identification
                                                                                                                     and company recognition to customers.
                                                                                                                         An equally reasonable question might
                                                                                                                     be how many companies do you know
                                                                                                                     who don’t use name badges? The truth is,
                                                                                                                     there aren’t many and that is exactly why
PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSAL WOODS




                                                                                                                     you can make $250 per hour or more
                                                                                                                     making name badges.
                                                                                                                         Since we know that most companies,
                                                                                                                     many organizations, government agencies
                                                                                                                     and even churches use lots and lots of
                                                                                                                     name badges, the next logical question is
                                                                                                                     how can we get a piece of the action?
                                                                                                                     Perhaps you already do name badges for
                                                                                                                     hotels, food service establishments, bars
                                                                                                                     and businesses of all kinds and perhaps
                                                     Mass of name badges.                                            you make a good profit at it but what if the
                                                     Illustrates some of the
                                                     countless designs
                                                                                                                     profit and potential market could be mul-
                                                     possible with the plastic                                       tiplied many times over with only a small
                                                     name badge material.                                            investment in equipment, time and
                                                                                                                     energy? Still interested?
                                                                                                                         Until now, sublimation has never really
                                                                                                                     caught on as a means of doing name
                                                                                                                     badges, and for good reason. With the
                                                                                    By J. Stephen                    exception of the occasional black on gold
                                                                                           Spence                    metal badge, they have been labor inten-
                                                                                                                     sive, offered mediocre quality and were
                                                                                                                     very limited in variety of materials and
                                                                                                                     shapes. But not any more. That has all
                                                                                                                     changed. With the introduction of
                                                                                                                     Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FR Plastic),
                                                                                                                     we can now sublimate name badges
                                                                                                                     quickly and easily in a full range of colors
                                                                                                                     and even do it on plastic.


                                    40                                                                                                      July 1999 • A&E MAGAZINE
    Until now, any name badge requiring
several colors in a logo had to be either hot
stamped or screen printed. These badges
required additional setup charges for each
color imprinted plus additional costs for
imprinting each color. The new sublimated
badges can offer as many colors as you
like with a single computer setup. There are
no dies or screens to make and should
the customer desire to have several dif-
ferent size logos used along the way, no
problem; once the logo or design is in the
computer, it can be adjusted to meet
almost any need.
    Remember how you had to require
your customer order 50 or 100 hot
stamped or screened badges at a time, even
if he didn’t need that many? No more.
Sublimated badges can be made in any
quantity and although you may want to
charge extra for small orders, any profit       A copy of the logo created for our test runs and a sample of the actual name
made goes into your pocket, not someone         badge used.
else’s. Better yet, no matter how small your
shop is, you can perform the entire oper-
ation in-house to insure on-time delivery
and the best possible service. Unlike color
imprinted badges of the past, you will no
longer have to engrave names and titles on
the badges before sending them out.
Names, titles and other information can all
be imprinted at the same time as the color
logo—even if there is different text on
each badge.
    Needless to say, this opens a market
that is potentially the most lucrative market
I have seen come along in years. Now we
can offer full-color name badges that are
quick and inexpensive to make, to anyone
who needs one—regardless of size, quan-
tity or even the number of colors they
have in their logo. You can even print pho-
tographs with no additional material cost
(assuming you have a scanner or digital
camera available).
    This has got to be expensive, right?
Wrong. The truth is, it is really not much
more expensive to sublimate a full-color
badge than to engrave a plastic badge.
With the cost of a sublimation pre-cut          Finished name badges made with the three systems described in the article.
                                                As you can see, the quality is equal. This is about how many badges can be
blank running about 30 cents, a “normal”        made in an hour (start to finish) without using a jig. This is also the amount
name badge with a full-color logo and pin       of badges that can be made in about five minutes using a jig (time does not
                                                include printing transfers or creating badges on the computer).

A&E MAGAZINE • July 1999                                                                                                    41
     T H E W O R L D O F S U B L I M AT I O N




                                                                                             or military clutch on the back can be made
                                                                                             for less than 60 cents in ink and materials
                                                                                             and retailed for ten or twenty times that
                                                                                             amount. In my shop, I sell full-color
                                                                                             badges for $7.50 each with a one-time art
                                                                                             charge of $10. Granted, I usually drop the
                                                                                             art charges if I already have the logo on file
                                                                                             and I am quick to drop the price of the
                                                                                             badge as the quantity goes up, but even at
                                                                                             $5 each, that is almost ten times the cost
                                                                                             of making the badge (not counting labor
                                                                                             of course). Considering the fact that it
                                                                                             takes about the same amount of time to
                                                                                             make ten or fifteen badges as it does one,
                                                                                             you can see how lucrative this can be. Let’s
                                                                                             say you get an order for 100 badges at $5
                                                                                             each. That is a total sale of $500 with less
                                                                                             than a $60 investment (plus labor)—that
                                                                                             is a net profit of $440—not bad in
                                                                                             anyone’s book. Better yet, you can easily
The name badge jig by AwardCrafters with transfer and finished badges.                       make those badges in 60 to 90 minutes
                                                                                             and that yields a net profit of $250 to
                                                                                             $440 per hour.
                                                                                                 But what about that labor? How long
                                                                                             does it take to make a name badge or even
                                                                                             100 name badges? If it takes an hour to
                                                                                             make a single badge and the profit margin
                                                                                             is only $7, then you are working for min-
                                                                                             imum wage. If, on the other hand, it takes
                                                                                             only ten minutes to make a single badge,
                                                                                             you are working for about $30 an hour. If
                                                                                             you can make a hundred badges in an
                                                                                             hour and you are charging $5 for each
                                                                                             one, that is $440 an hour—I’ll go for that.
                                                                                                 So, how long does it take to make a
The Imprints USA name badge jig. Jig is         The Imprints USA jig with transfer and
leaded with blank badges. They are ready        badges in place and ready for pressing. As   name badge—or even a hundred badges?
for the transfer, which is placed inside the    you can see, the corner is lifted to show    That seems to be the $64,000 question
metal pins. The pins recess when the press      the images on the transfer.
                                                                                             and that is just what I want to address in
is closed. The top sheet is Teflon that can
be changed to allow for any shape offered                                                    the pages that follow. Granted, our research
by Universal Woods.                                                                          will not be very scientific—nor could it
                                                                                             be. After all, we all work at different speeds
                                                                                             and use different types of equipment. I
                                                                                             might type at 120 words per minute with
                                                                                             no errors (I don’t, but I might.), while you
                                                                                             type at 10 words per minute and make a lot
                                                                                             of errors that have to be corrected.
                                                                                             Secondly, the amount of ink coverage on
                                                                                             the badge and the number of badges being
                                                                                             printed on each sheet of paper will change
                                                                                             the speed at which transfers are printed.
                                                                                             There are other factors that can greatly
                                                                                             affect how fast badges can be made as
                                                                                             well—using Power Clip for instance will
The Imprints USA badge jig with the             The taped method (above) on the press        slow the printing process. To make a long
transfer in place and “about to be              and ready to apply heat. Heat is applied
pressed”. Pressing time is one minute on        for two minutes using this method.           story short, we are going to find out how
most presses. The jig makes fifteen 1.25”                                                    long it takes me to make a single badge and
x 3” badges. Jigs require heavy pressure                                                     how many badges I can make in one hour
to insure good contact across the entire
surface of the jig.                                                                          using a couple of new tools being intro-

42                                                                                                                  July 1999 • A&E MAGAZINE
duced. To make the results as realistic as        “real world”, and it is the reason one must        down on the transfer) works great, it does
possible, these badges are being made for         be careful when pricing small quantities of        not insure zero movement and the taping
a “real” customer. Each badge has a dif-          any imprinted item. If too much time has           process does add significantly to the
ferent name that must be taken from a             to be given to creating the art, there is little   amount of time needed to actually make
membership directory printed in 6-pt type.        hope for a profit when the job is finished.        the badges.
In truth, my typing speed is only about           In this case, the customer not only ordered
average and I am not the world’s fastest          several hundred badges, they also ordered          THE TAPING METHOD
user of CorelDraw either so chances are,          a variety of other sublimated items to sell            Here, no jig was used at all. Each transfer
whatever I can accomplish in this test            in their gift shop so the time invested            was placed face up on the platen of my
should be about average. Even if you can’t        quickly returned a profit. Total produc-           heat press and the badges carefully posi-
match my number first time out, you can           tion time: 45 minutes.                             tioned and taped in their appropriate
probably catch up with a little practice.             Once the art was complete, it was time         spaces. The transfer and badges were then
Also, speed is going to vary according to         to print the transfers. With my computer           covered with a second sheet of blank paper
the technology you are using. I happen to         and printer, it required about four min-           (some people prefer a Teflon sheet), and
be using ink-jet sublimation. If you are          utes to create and one minute to print a           heated for two minutes at 400 degrees.
using another technology, you may find            single page of transfers using my Epson            After the allotted time, the transfer was
the print speed to be a bit faster or slower      850 printer. It didn’t seem to matter much         allowed to cool for a few seconds before it
than mine. So, with all the disclaimers           how many badges were on the page. When             was lifted off the platen and set aside to
out of the way, let’s get to finding out how      I ran the same test with a full color back-        cool. Meanwhile, the next transfer was
long it actually does take to make name           ground, it increased the print time to just        placed on the platen and the process was
badges with sublimation.                          under three minutes.                               repeated. It is not out of reason to place a
     The first step in our test was to locate a       As I considered printing the badges,           transfer on a work counter and do the
logo suitable for our test. As a “control         there were at least three choices as to how        taping process while waiting for the first
group,” I selected a badge I already had in       I could do it. The first option was to tape        batch to “cook”. So long as the badges are
my database. The process was simple: To           each badge face down onto the transfer             secure, there is no reason they can’t be
import a previously used design, shift the        and press the badges at 400 degrees for            moved from the work counter to the heat
logos to their correct positions, change          two minutes with medium pressure. Some             press without the badges moving. I con-
the name and title and add the name of the        say this is the best method for imprinting         tinued this process until a full 100 badges
school. The final step was to add a black         FR Plastic since the extra heat tends to pre-      were completed. Here is what I included in
fill. The finished badge was for a teacher        pare the substrate for receiving the ink.          the total production time for this method.
showing two logos and three lines of text         Although I agree this method is best from          First, I imported a pre-designed name
in two different colors. Time from start to       a technical point of view, printing badges         badge into CorelDraw and duplicated it
finished badge: seven minutes.                    face up seems to work just fine and reduces        ten times. I opted to print ten badges at a
     Now we come to the real test. Making         the print time to one minute or less.              time because it gave me plenty of room for
100 badges with a different name on each.             Partially because of the fact that these       taping down the badges. Next, I ungrouped
The customer for our test was a local rail-       badges can be printed either face up or            the badges and typed in the correct names.
road historical society. They had just cre-       face down and partly to make the process           When ten names were entered, I sent the
ated a new logo for their organization and        even simpler and faster, two companies             job to the printer. While that job was
wanted new badges for their members.              have introduced special “jigs” for making          printing, I began entering the names for the
The logo was far more complex than it             lots of name badges in a very short period         next ten badges. When the first sheet came
first appeared since the center area came to      of time. One person who tried out the new          out of the printer, I took it to the press,
me hand drawn and colored by hand with            jig felt like she could use two jigs at the        taped down the blank badges and pressed
a colored pencil. Because I was not happy         same time on a larger press and transfer           the job. While that job was “cooking”, I fin-
with the quality of the art, I spent consid-      upwards of 1,000 badges an hour (not               ished entering names for the next ten
erable extra time cleaning up the drawing         including computer and printer time, of            badges and sent that job to the printer.
and actually “hand painting” the West             course). For the purposes of our experi-           When the buzzer went off for the first batch
Virginia map in the background using the          ment, we will take a look at each of these         of badges, I removed the finished badges
PhotoPaint tools. Once this was done, I           name badge jigs, how they are designed,            and repeated the process. The total pro-
imported the scanned image into                   how they are made and how to use each.             duction time for completing 100 badges
CorelDraw where the outside circles,              In the process, I will try to relay some of the    was exactly 100 minutes. That’s an average
banner and text were added. Next, I gen-          features and concerns associated with each.        of one badge per minute. If I sell the badges
erated the correct size for the badge and         Both are ingenious designs and an item I           for $5 each and make a profit of $4.40 per
positioned the logo and text where I              would recommend regardless of how many             badge, that is $264 per hour net profit.
wanted it. The final step was to print a          badges you make at a time. The ease and
“sample” badge to be sure everything was          simplicity of a template and jig makes it          NAME BADGE JIG #1
just right. To be sure, this took far longer      almost impossible to make a mistake or                 The second method employed a new
than I usually need to spend importing a          have a badge “slip” and although the first         “Name Badge Jig” designed and manu-
logo but I felt it was representative of the      method discussed (taping the badges face           factured by Imprints USA (I list their device

A&E MAGAZINE • July 1999                                                                                                                        43
     T H E W O R L D O F S U B L I M AT I O N




                                                                      The color template       first because it arrived at my shop before
                                                                      from the                 the other one did, not out of preference for
                                                                      AwardCrafter’s jig.
                                                                      The green marks          one or the other).
                                                                      the outline of a “Full       This unique device highlights “Yankee
                                                                      Bleed” badge while       ingenuity” as they addressed each of sev-
                                                                      the inside red
                                                                      outline is the actual    eral very complex problems before arriving
                                                                      edge of a badge.         at their final design. The jig measures 17”
                                                                      This template allows
                                                                      the user to use the
                                                                                               square and the one I tested printed up to
                                                                      “Snap To Object”         fifteen 1.25” x 3” badges at one time. The
                                                                      tool to achieve          advantage of using a jig like the two tested
                                                                      perfect alignment
                                                                      with each and            here is that they allow the user to position
                                                                      every badge. When        both the badges and the transfer perfectly
                                                                      printed, only the        without having to tape down badges and
                                                                      badges and the
                                                                      single black outside     with little or no chance of badges shifting
                                                                      border will print.       causing wasted badges and ink.
                                                                      This provides a
                                                                      means for
                                                                                                   The Imprints, USA jig uses a Teflon
                                                                      positioning the          sheet that has “cut outs” to hold the badges
                                                                      transfer onto the jig.   in place. This Teflon sheet can be easily
                                                                                               exchanged for other sheets that allow the
                                                                                               user to make 1” x 3” badges, Christmas
                                                                                               ornaments, key chains or any number of
                                                                                               other odd shaped items. Imprints, USA
                                                                                               tells me they will produce a “sheet” or
                                                                                               “jig” for every product manufactured in
                                                                                               FR Plastic. For my test, I used the 1.25” x
                                                                                               3” name badge jig.
                                                                                                   The over-all device is about 1” thick.
                                                                                               Because of the bulk of this device, it may
                                                                                               not work on smaller presses although it did
                                                                                               fit on my 12” x 14” swing-away press with
                                                                                               no problem at all. Of course, it does
                                                                                               require a press that can accommodate a
The AwardCrafters name badge jig being          The AwardCrafter’s jig loaded with blank       thickness of at least 1”. The jig is sold in
loaded with blank badges.                       badges awaiting the transfer to be
                                                attached.                                      three parts. The base is $79.65. There is a
                                                                                               special pad required and it is an addi-
                                                                                               tional $10. These two items must be pur-
                                                                                               chased only once since they form the base
                                                                                               of the device upon which the Teflon sheets
                                                                                               or “jigs” can be placed and interchanged
                                                                                               as needed. The Teflon sheets with cutouts
                                                                                               sell for $75 each. A Teflon sheet can be
                                                                                               used over and over and if given reasonable
                                                                                               care, will last for years. A separate Teflon
                                                                                               sheet must be purchased for each size or
                                                                                               shape you desire to press.

                                                                                               HERE IS HOW IT WORKS
                                                                                                   With the jig, you will receive a com-
The AwardCrafter’s jig loaded with
transfer trimmed and lightly taped in                                                          puter disk containing a variety of sample
place. Corner is raised to reveal printing.                                                    template files. In our case, the files were for
                                                                                               1.25” x 3” name badges. Most files were
                                                                                               designed to be used with a single name or
                                                                                               line of text on each. These can be quickly
                                                The AwardCrafter’s jig ready to be pressed
                                                                                               changed to print the most basic types of
                                                with heavy pressure for one minute. Larger     name badges. If your jobs are like mine,
                                                pressures will accommodate two of these        however, you will need to select the
                                                jigs at the same time allowing for even
                                                faster production of badges. Production        “Master Template” and insert your design
                                                using a single jig could allow for the         into the spaces indicated by the guide-
                                                production of 300 or more badges per hour.     lines. A separate set of guidelines is provided
                Use FAST #335
44                                                                                                                     July 1999 • A&E MAGAZINE
for badges that do and do not have full-           priate spots quick and easy. It is necessary       process—nothing more.
bleed background (a full-bleed is when the         to remember that for the “Snap To” tool to             Both designs worked very well. I suggest
background color actually runs off the edge        work correctly, even a white badge must            you check them both out at a tradeshow
of the badge). The guideline network pro-          have a filled background. This step is             prior to making your purchase. Although
vides the actual location of each badge as         simple and easy to accomplish and is               they accomplish the same thing, they are
it relates to the jig. Once the template is on     clearly spelled out in the instructions that       very different in design and the manner in
the screen, import the finished design for         come with the unit. This extra step is not         which they work. What will be “just right”
your badge. Once sized and on the screen,          necessary when full-bleed colored back-            for one user may be “just plain wrong” for
rotate your badge 90 degrees and drag the          grounds are incorporated since they                another.
badge into the first area indicated by the         already have a fill.                                   The manner in which the transfer is
guidelines. Next, select and duplicate your            This jig is much smaller than the first        placed over the badges is very different
badge, dragging the copy to another loca-          we considered, measuring in at only 7.75”          between the two systems. The Imprints USA
tion as indicated by the guidelines. Once all      x 10” and a mere 7/16” thick with badges           version uses the entire sheet, making it very
the positions are filled with a badge,             and transfer in place. This smaller thickness      simple to align over the badges, but it car-
ungroup, enter the correct text (names and         may make it usable by those with presses           ries with it the possibility that not all printers
titles) for each badge. When all the slots are     that will only allow for limited upward            will always pick up the paper in the same
filled and correct, send the job to the printer.   adjustment. The smaller “footprint” allows         way every time. This could result in mis-
Our 1.25” x 3” template printed fifteen            the unit to be used on any size press and          aligned badges. Special care will have to be
badges in one pressing.                            if so desired, several units could be used         given when using the Epson 3000 and other
     Printing and pressing is also a simple        simultaneously on larger presses.                  printers where both feed paper guides are
matter. Once the transfer is printed, it               Because of the smaller size, it is necessary   user adjustable. I tried testing to see how
should align perfectly with the badges             to handle the transfer differently than with       much of a problem this would be by run-
when placed in the jig. Just drop the paper        the Imprints, USA jig. Since there are no          ning a stack of paper through three different
between the six metal guide pins (they             “guide pins” to hold a full sheet of paper,        printers I use in my shop. Although there
move down out of the way when the press            positioning must be done using another             was some variation, it was very slight and
is closed) and press. I found 400 degrees          method. To accomplish this, the software           would not have produced a problem. It
with heavy pressure for a full minute to           provided with the jig includes several pro-        should be noted that cheap printers, old
work best on my press but presses do vary          tected layers built in, that, although they can    printers, or printers with defective or dirty
so don’t be surprised if yours works best at       be seen and used for alignment on the              feed rollers could be a problem. The
some other time although 35 seconds to             screen, cannot be altered and do not print         AwardCrafters design solves this problem by
one minute should be ideal.                        on the final transfer. There is also an addi-      printing the edges of the jig right on the
                                                   tional over-all border included in these           paper. Although it does require a few extra
NAME BADGE JIG #2                                  “protected layers” that does print on each         seconds to cut and tape the transfer to the
    The second jig to be tried was designed        transfer. It is a single black box surrounding     jig prior to pressing, I found no significant
and produced by AwardCrafters. This                the name badges, which directly collates           difficulty or reduction in speed using this
device had to deal with all the same chal-         with the outside edges of the physical jig.        method.
lenges as the makers of the first jig but          Once printed, the black box shows exactly              So how many badges can a badge maker
their effort resulted in a very different          where to trim the transfer with an X-acto®         make when he is making badges in a hurry?
product. The AwardCrafter’s design is              knife or paper trimmer. When trimmed,              A lot. My test demonstrated that I could
much smaller and is designed to accom-             the transfer fits over the jig exactly (only two   easily press upward of 60 badges in a single
modate only name badges although both              sides need to be trimmed to properly posi-         hour without using a jig or special software.
the 1” and 1.25” x 3” badges are included          tion the transfer).                                This time included all the typing, printing
in the same device for a single price. They            The making of badges on this jig is            and pressing time required to produce a
also offer a jig for the new 2” x 3” rec-          done the same as with the previous device,         “real” order. If the transfers were already
tangle and 1.5” x 3” oval name badges.             400 degrees for one minute with heavy              printed and ready to take to the press, I
Using one side of this jig allows the user         pressure (time may vary on your machine).          could top 150 badges in an hour without
to make 18 of the 1” x 3” badges while             When finished, just dump the badges, re-           breaking a sweat. When using a jig, the
using the other side produced 15 of the            fill the slots, position a new transfer and        number increased significantly but the
larger 1.25” x 3” badges.                          press again. Since taping the individual           greater advantage of using the jig was the
    The software for this version works a          badges is not required with either of these        ease of pressing the badges. Not having to
little differently than the previous manu-         jigs to produce perfectly aligned badges,          tape the badges in place and remove the
facturer as well. Like the previous tem-           they go very quickly. The cost of this device,     tape after pressing was more than welcomed.
plate, accommodation has been made for             with software, is $74.95.                              Although I performed tests using both
both standard white badges with color                                                                 jigs, the results were so close to the same
imprints and badges with full-bleed color          A COUPLE OF CONCERNS                               that I consider the production time to be all
backgrounds. One trick included in this               These jigs are “tools” and are not              but equal. The software and physical design,
design is the use of the “Snap to Object”          designed to replace a sound working                however, is very different between the two
tool in CorelDraw. This makes the process          knowledge of CorelDraw. They are being             devices and each should be considered care-
of positioning the badges in the appro-            offered to speed up the production                 fully to find which one “fits” your needs.

A&E MAGAZINE • July 1999                                                                                                                            45
     T H E W O R L D O F S U B L I M AT I O N



    Testing the jigs was done exactly the         sharp, vivid colors, it checks in at under
same as the “Tape Down” version. An image         $600 for a printer and your first set of inks.
was imported into the template, the tem-          Next comes the heat press. These can be had
plate “loaded”, names changed and the job         for as little as $600 or as much as $60,000
sent to the printer. While one job was being      but most people find the $1,200 range to
printed, the names were being changed for         provide a good, reliable press (check out
the next batch and so on. The total pro-          the article on heat presses in this issue).
duction time for 100 badges was exactly           Coupled with your computer, a copy of
one hour. This is a 40 percent increase over      CorelDraw, and a scanner, you can do almost
not using a jig, but again, the greatest advan-   anything your customer wants you to.
tage was the speed and ease of production.            Granted, sublimation can’t do every-
Even someone lacking in dexterity can load        thing. We still can’t produce the metallic
and press badges when using a jig. Without        golds and silvers hot stamping can.
the jig, each badge must be very carefully        Sublimation usually cannot be printed on
positioned and taped twice.                       metallic backgrounds (sublimation inks are
    Seeing a 40 percent increase in the speed     translucent and thus allow the background
of printing badges when using a jig, I            colors to show through). Occasionally, how-
couldn’t help but find out how fast badges        ever, I will sublimate a badge then come
could be made if one person began typing          back and engrave something in it that can
in names and printing transfers a half an         then be paint filled with metallic gold. This
hour before a second person began making          adds significantly to both the sale price and
the badges. How many name badges can a            the cost of production but it does produce
badge maker make? I wanted to work for an         a very nice product. There is a lot of work
entire hour to get an accurate count but I ran    being done on metallic backgrounds and I
out of names and badges so I could only           hope to share some of that with you in a
work for thirty minutes. In that thirty min-      month or two but for now, metallics are
utes, I made 225 badges. That means that          still out of the reach of sublimation. Short
if I had worked the entire hour, I could          of metallics, however, there is very little the
have clocked in 450 badges. At a $4 profit        new sublimation technologies can’t handle
per badge, that is $1,800 an hour net profit.     and the list of “can nots” is getting shorter
Granted, there would be the labor cost of         all the time.
someone typing in the names and printing              So, whether you make just a few badges
the transfers but how much could it be?           in your shop or you do nothing else, full-
Now, I have to wonder how many badges             color sublimation has to be a serious con-
could I make if I had two jigs going at the       sideration in the months ahead. It is not the
same time and someone to print the trans-         only system out there for making full-color
fers for me. Somehow, that 1,000 badges per       badges but it is one of the most versatile,
hour my friend talked about isn’t as unre-        and with the variety of new products
alistic as I had first thought. I’ll let you      streaming onto the market, sublimation is
figure up how much per hour that comes to.        going to be a major player in our industry
    Obviously, the issue here is no longer        for a long time to come. The full service
how many badges can a badge maker make            shop that doesn’t offer color name badges
but how do we sell that many badges in the        and other products is all but sure to find
first place. The truth is, I don’t know but I     their name badge business faltering in the
can promise you one thing, I am going to          months ahead, and for those who get their
work on it. Care to join me?                      foot in the door early, it could be nothing
    So, now we have come to where the shoe        short of a gold mine.
drops and we have to talk about what you              It is true, there is a revolution coming to
need to be in the name badge business. How        the name badge industry and the key word
many tens of thousands of dollars is this         is “sublimation”.
going to cost? Well, if you already have a
computer and CorelDraw, it might cost you         J. Stephen Spence is the owner of Awards by
as much as $2,000. If you already have a heat     Recognition Concepts in Ceredo, W.Va. In
press, you may get by for less than $600. Here    addition, Stephen offers a variety of services to
is what you need. First, there is the subli-      assist those interested in starting their own
mation system. There are many on the              company, or to help established businesses to
market right now but the bandwagon is with        grow. He can be contacted by e-mail at
Ink-jet technology. With its excellent color      Concepts@usa.net, by phone at (304) 453-
correction software, simple operation and         1800, or by fax at (304) 453-1900.            A&E



46                                                                                                    July 1999 • A&E MAGAZINE

				
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