From a distance, some computer-driven machines at Vision International don't look like much.
But up close one can see that these are sophisticated pieces of equipment churning out large banners shipped to all parts of the world and make a big splash wherever they are hoisted into position.Back and forth go the printing parts of the machines, gently spraying paint onto a piece of vinyl, canvas, paper, muslin or cotton. After each pass, the roll of material is advanced slightly, and within 21/2 hours the banner is complete and ready for shipping.
Timothy S. Fullmer, president and chief executive officer of Vision, said he has 14 of these machines at work constantly and another two are being developed. These machines are so remarkable that as the paint part passes by, one color stops being sprayed and another starts to complete the picture.
With eight of his 96 employees working in research and development, Fullmer's company already owns two patents on its printing processes and equipment. As a result of research, Vision was able to enlarge an eight-foot printing machine to handle 16-foot material and the time for completion of a banner was greatly reduced.
For example, when billboards were hand-painted, it took 60-80 hours for the work. When Vision started producing its banners by machine, the time for making a billboard banner 14 feet high and 80 feet long was eight hours. That has been reduced to 2 1/2 hours, and the image is much sharper than before, said Fullmer.
Once the material is stretched on the billboard it is amazingly clear and stands out for everyone to see.
All of this is accomplished by scanning a customer's picture that can be quite small into a computer, which then drives the printing machine.
About 95 percent of Vision's products are shipped outside Utah, and the demand is so great that Fullmer said he has more work than he can do.
Some of the more noteworthy examples of Vision's work were the large banner attached to the Delta Center that praised Jazz forward Karl Malone for winning the Most Valuable Player award in 1997, a banner 8 feet high and 1,000 feet long for the premier of China and a banner 50 feet high and 200 feet long that "wrapped" Bloomingdale's department store in New York City.