28 years ago, Kevin McCallion was made redundant when his son was only a few weeks old. He found work at a plastics factory, which one day opened its own in-house sign shop – and Kevin was handed the keys. So began the story of Mac Signs.
"Suddenly I was a sign maker," he recalls.
Initially the work depended on very basic techniques and kit – including tracing paper – but gradually the sign shop invested in equipment including a Roland cutting plotter. Kevin, now operating as Mac Signs, bought his first digital system ten years ago and hasn't looked back.
"Our first digital system was a Roland TrueVIS VG-540 which not only showed improvements in quality and resolution but also changed our business," he says. "Previously we were 100 per cent generic traditional sign making, now we're 80 to 90 per cent digital."
Like hundreds of TrueVIS owners, Kevin can offer a full range of sign and display products and build a compelling solution for his customers. As such, Mac Signs offers everything from premium signage and banners to vehicle graphics, health and safety labels and construction site signs. It counts the NHS as a key customer, producing an array of work such as wayfinding signage, directories and emergency signs.
Last year Kevin McCallion decided it was time to upgrade his TrueVIS to the brand-new Roland TrueVIS SG2-540, becoming the first company in the UK to take delivery of this next-generation system.
Available in three sizes, the SG2 series is more than a reliable asset for sign makers like Kevin. The system boasts the renowned quality and efficiency of all Roland devices and features comprehensive media compatibility, low running costs and the same-day application promise of the new TR2 ink.
These attributes have earned the system top honours in the prestigious Keypoint Intelligence Buyers Lab 2020 Pick Awards for Outstanding Entry-Level CMYK (Eco-solvent/Latex 54"/64" Printer category).
The 54" (1.3m) TrueVIS SG2-540 was installed at Mac Signs in October by Roland supplier Signmaster. Kevin says he has been impressed by its colour profiles and quality – which he says are a 'step up' – and especially by improvements made to its integrated cutting capability. Thanks to its permanently fixed media guides, the material is kept flat and channelled through the system quickly and smoothly. Kevin describes this as a 'godsend.'
Now both in their late 20s, Kevin's two sons work with him at Mac Signs and are set to continue its legacy. They have plans to attend Roland Academy’s intensive 2-day vehicle wrapping course at Roland’s UK headquarters in Clevedon to expand their own skillsets and the services provided by Mac Signs.
"The new TrueVIS should be working for the next five to seven years, by which time my sons will be taking a bigger role in the business," says dad and owner Kevin.