New sequin display company Shimmerdisc revealed a new type of printable display at Sign & Digital UK at Birmingham's NEC.
The display, also called Shimmerdisc, is created by having a UV-printed image, which can be scaled to any size, placed on top of a carrier system that has secured the sequins in place. The image is then peeled off the carrier system to form the display.
The system has taken around three months to perfect, during which time Shimmerdisc set up partnering deals with Mimaki and Agfa. Shimmerdisc intends to sell its displays to end-users and will outsource production to printers with suitable UV flatbed machines.
Managing director Andrew Ainge said: “The Egyptians used to take little bits of metal and hammer them flat into circles, hang them up in temples and call them shimmer displays. All I’ve done is taken what was originally done by the Egyptians and made it smaller for a more effective shimmer and then introduced print production.”
Each display is made up of 200x200mm modules, each in turn made up of 225 printed 13x13mm discs. The smallest display that can be printed is 1,000x1,000m, a display which would comprise 5,625 discs. Shimmerdisc can also produce 3D virtual proofs of designs and animated videos showing how the completed display will appear.
The Sign & Digital UK launch was the first public showing of the displays. Ainge said the pre-production phase was fraught with difficulty, and that it was hard starting from scratch with such an intricate idea.
“You can imagine how difficult it is to make a sequin, print it and load it onto a display. So it was down to thinking how to make it commercially viable.”
Ainge, who has 20 years’ industry experience, believes there are two main markets for the sequin displays. One is commercial, such as visual merchandising, shop displays and exhibition stands, and the other is the art installation market. He said the photographic sequin display was one of the most crowd-drawing installations at this year’s Sign & Digital show.
“When we first spoke to the organisers I was trying to explain what it was and asked to have it put in the reception hall. The organiser said it couldn’t be put there. After the first day he came back and looked and said he should have listened to me,” added Ainge.
Shimmerdisc is also planning to launch its currently unnamed aquarium model – a 12cm-deep fish tank with two pumps to circulate water inside it and sequins moving in the water. Ainge said the product is at the protoype stage with a launch planned for around two months' time.