Perfection is mandatory in professional sports: Mistakes are costly, timing is critical and excellence requires precise form. The same holds true when you weld banners for some of the biggest names in athletics.
American signage firm AMI Graphics has a customer list that includes the National Hockey League (NHL), the National Basketball Association (NBA/Boston Celtics) and other professional sports leagues nationwide.
AMI designs, welds and delivers the solid and mesh vinyl banners these leagues use to advertise at some of the country's biggest arenas. AMI's customers often need these banners on tight deadlines, since championship contenders are frequently decided shortly before the finals actually occur. That means AMI must complete large signage projects while on the clock. And like any match that comes down to the wire, the pressure is intense.
"You have to be accustomed to quick turnarounds in this business," says AMI president and founder Peter Wensberg. Only firms with a sterling track record stay in the game. With a 17-year streak of honesty, integrity and customer service, AMI graphics is one of those firms.
That's why the Boston Bruins hockey team chose AMI Graphics when they needed thousands of square feet of signage—and needed it fast—for the 2013 Stanley Cup championship.
Laying It All on the Production Line
Wensberg founded AMI Graphics in 1996. His basement was the firm's first office and he was the only employee. Today, AMI is 34 employees strong and welds thousands of square feet of signage per month at its production facility in Strafford, New Hampshire.
Over the past five years, the firm's savvy business moves and rock-solid reputation in the sports signage industry kept it growing while smaller firms folded during the global economic recession. That expanded capacity came in handy when the Boston Bruins called.
The team was scheduled to play several Stanley Cup games at the TD Garden, their 755,000 square foot home. This was a high-volume job: The Bruins needed massive banners displaying their logo and players for both TD Garden and the hotels surrounding the arena.
And there was a catch: The Bruins needed the banners fast.
Because the team had only recently qualified for the Cup, AMI Graphics had just days to weld thousands of square feet of vinyl banner. That meant AMI's tools needed to run constantly, putting serious strain on the equipment.
There was zero room for error or delays: According to Wensberg, sports signage is an industry that doesn’t forgive or forget.
"If you can't perform, you won't be in the industry very long," he says.
The stakes were high, which is why AMI Graphics turned to Leister tools.
AMI Graphics and Leister: A Winning Team
AMI had to seam and hem weld over 2,200 square feet of solid and mesh vinyl banners for the Bruins. The firm's tools would need to continuously run for at least 12 hours a day, five days a week. Wensberg had used Leister tools for over a decade, and knew their unmatched reliability was the only choice for a job of this caliber.
"I can't live without the fact that they run day in and day out," he says. "We really rely on these tools."
For the Bruins job, AMI Graphics used a Leister VARIANT T1 seamer and five Leister UNIPLAN welders. The VARIANT was used for hem welding, while the UNIPLANs were for hem welding.
A Photo Finish
Using the Leister tools, AMI Graphics welded and delivered the Stanley Cup banners on time and with the perfect quality the Bruins demanded. Welding and delivery took roughly a week.
Wensberg cites Leister reliability and tool quality as key reasons the Boston Bruins were pleased with AMI's work.
"They're terrific customers. They expect the best and they get the best," he says. "You cannot have issues when you deliver to organizations like these. That's why we choose Leister for these jobs."
He also credits Leister's world-class support for keeping his shop continuously on all the company's demanding sports signage jobs.
"We have great local support," Wensberg says. When there's an issue, "they come right to our door."
The advantage of Leister reliability and service strengthened AMI's reputation in the sports signage industry. As a result, Wensberg intends to buy more Leister tools for continued success. In fact, AMI just purchased a new UNIPLAN E to meet growing business needs.
"In this business, you go with the equipment that works," Wensberg says. "Leister has always been in our shop. They're really proven pieces of equipment for us."
Professional athletes rely on the best equipment for optimal performance. Professional banner welders like AMI Graphics rely on Leister.
Banner Manufacturer: AMI Graphics - Strafford, N.H.
Equipment Supplier: Leister Technologies AG - Kaegiswil, Switzerland
Leister Sales and Service Partner: Leister Technologies LLC - Tiverton, R.I.
Text: Mike Kaput, PR 20/20 - Cleveland, Ohio
Photos: AMI Graphics - Strafford, N.H. / Don McHenry, Leister Technolgies LLC - Tiverton, R.I.