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Mimaki USA Collaborates with Philadelphia University Students to Explore Future of Print Applications

By Sandy Smith

As today’s sign, graphics and visual communications equipment improves, the sky is literally the limit when it comes to applications. But busy professionals may not have the time to experiment with all that can be done.

Mimaki USA recently collaborated with Philadelphia University to host a student competition, where student groups worked together across multiple disciplinary programs to determine creative uses for Mimaki products in printing on a variety of substrates, including fabrics, textile and materials. Students from two different majors, Surface Imaging, and Global Fashion Enterprise, participated in the multidisciplinary class, combining their efforts to explore the print market and experiment with a variety of printing processes, including UV, dye sublimation and acid. Competitors also offered advice on expanding Mimaki’s market.

Hitoshi Ujiie, Director at the Center for Surface Imaging department at Philadelphia University, saw the value in bringing together students from both disciplines to partner with Mimaki after attending several print industry events. “Surface Imaging major students are more into hands-on production, and Global Fashion Enterprise [Visual Merchandising class] students are more business-focused, so we brought the business and engineering students together.”

Natasha Kovacevic, masters student in Surface Imaging at Philadelphia University, found the project extremely eye-opening in terms of learning the print technology and potential uses in her future career. “The project allowed me to get to know Mimaki’s technology, because before we didn’t know in-depth about what we could do with printers. Going forward as a designer, I would know how to use the technology, that it gives me great results, and that it’s affordable.”

In all, students completed nine projects, which Mimaki will use in showrooms across the country to highlight its print capabilities. Three were included in a final round presentation to key Mimaki USA employees, including ISA Board Member Ken Van Horn, with the students detailing the types of inks, materials and processes used to create the projects. The winning student receives a one-year internship with Mimaki.

Ken Van Horn, Vice President, Marketing & Operations at Mimaki USA and International Sign Association (ISA) board member, found it useful to look at the equipment Mimaki sells from a different perspective to help inform future communications to Mimaki’s customers. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to see first-hand what students have created using Mimaki products. This competition is an extremely creative way to showcase an interactive learning experience using digital printing technology, and help us show the rest of the world what can be accomplished with Mimaki equipment.”

Students majoring in global fashion enterprise or surface imaging gained the opportunity to use Mimaki equipment. Mimaki benefited from new ways of using their products and potential ideas for expansion.

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