Roland SOLJET | Navy Pier

Urban Hot Spot Relies on Roland Inkjets for Hundreds of Signs

Navy Pier   |   Chicago, IL

The sign shop at Chicago's Navy Pier is as energetic as the urban hot spot it serves, welcoming more than 8 million visitors annually. The 5/8-mile venue is home to a unique collection of nearly 50 acres of shops, restaurants, theaters, museums and recreational facilities and a 170,000-square-foot Festival Hall exposition facility that hosts more than 30 events each year. Its historic Grand Ballroom which originally opened in 1916, serves as a magnificent venue for between 200 and 250 galas, weddings, and general sessions each year. Overall, the Pier is the site for hundreds of public and private events annually.

“For each event, we create at least sixteen 22" x 28" signs and four 28" x 44" signs - that's more than 6,000 signs each year for events alone. In addition, we produce all of Navy Pier's security, directional and entertainment signage. It's quite an operation.”

According to Patrick Gardner, Manager of Marine Administration and Building Operations, and supervisor for the Navy Pier in-house sign shop, keeping up with the signage requirements for this mini-metropolis is a daily challenge.

"There are hundreds of signs on the Pier at any given time and they can change on a daily basis," Gardner said. "For each event, we create at least sixteen 22" x 28" signs and four 28" x 44" signs - that's more than 6,000 signs each year for events alone. In addition, we produce all of Navy Pier's security, directional and entertainment signage. It's quite an operation."

To manage the extreme volume levels, Navy Pier relies on two top-of-the-line SOLJET inkjet printer/cutters. Most Navy Pier signage is not laminated due to time constraints, but Gardner has found the Roland media and eco-solvent ink to image well and withstand the rigors of Chicago's outdoor weather for up to three years, as is required in some cases.

"The flexibility of the SOLJET is important to us, especially since we print on a range of materials," Gardner said.