On paper, Inc Design and Display is a young company and a relative newcomer to the Irish display market, having been formed two and a half years ago by directors Paul Byrne and Paul Hogan. But don’t be fooled: they have a combined thirty years of experience in sign production, with talents including vehicle wraps, exhibition banners, modular signs and pop-ups.
They’re proud to count among their clients Dublin’s musical instrument mega-store, Xmusic, and the remainder of their portfolio ranges as broad as banner production and fascias. A more recent job has seen a large amount of vinyl banner produced for the high profile Taste of Dublin food festival.
Byrne and Hogan knew that growing the company rapidly could only come from strategic investment in machines that offered productivity and excellent turn-round. “We wanted to be able to compete with the best in terms of speed and quality right from the start,” explains Hogan as he remembers the first machine at Inc Design – the Roland SolJet Pro II.
The successor to the Pro II, the Pro III XC-540, handles smaller-format print-and-cut jobs at the Dublin site. Inc Design is particularly fond of the print-and-cut machine’s handling of contour cutting, making vehicle wrap production significantly easier, and eco-solvent inks mean that interior signs produced on the Pro III are odourless.
After only a few months Inc Design realised that it needed to accommodate larger-format work at a greater capacity to win bigger contracts. The business partners performed extensive research, deciding finally to stay with Roland DG because the Advanced Jet AJ-1000i offered the best throughput possible with its 2.6m width complemented by durable, high quality results. The printer was installed at their premises over Christmas 2007 and it's now in daily use for both indoor and outdoor graphics, on an ever-growing range of flexible materials.
“We looked at flat-bed technology before the purchase of the Pro III, and again when investigating the AJ-1000i, but decided that roll-to-roll was the better choice, offering more in terms of output quality and the range of compatible substrates. Additionally, this machine had a much smaller footprint and a more reasonable capital outlay,” says Byrne.
Hogan explains that investment in the Roland AJ-1000i felt like the next natural step in growing the company. “Although still a very young business, we had reached a stage where we needed to expand capacity and improve turnaround times – we knew from experience that these are the key areas in which the big contracts are won.”
The Roland AdvancedJet AJ-1000i is the larger of the company’s two machines, which are particularly suited to high-volume grand format printing for the durable graphics market. It is complemented by the 1.87m AJ-740i for users who want a narrower option. Its resolution of 720dpi produces near photo quality images and its ability to produce solid colours accurately makes it ideal for display producers and sign-makers. The ink formulation has an outdoor durability of up to 3 years, which can be extended with over-lamination where greater longevity is required.
Inc Design’s AJ-1000i has recently benefited from upgrades to its firmware and software, bringing it in line with Roland’s latest product releases. Other key updates include the newly-designed spare ink reservoir and the ability to change the calibration of the machine while it is printing. Byrne and Hogan are quick to promote that this allows for fast adjustments, reduces media waste and prevents time-consuming stopping and starting.
Amongst the first jobs that Inc Design & Display completed with its new printer was Ireland’s largest hoarding, sited at Dublin’s Belmayne housing development. A massive 3km of vinyl film was mounted on to 2.5 x 1.25m composite Dibond panels with an anti-graffiti laminate, printed in batches of up to 600 at a time. “The Belmayne job was completed in stages over a number of months in line with the development’s progress. There is no doubt that without the AJ-1000i we wouldn’t have been able to take it on,” Byrne recalls.
The automation of the RolandAdvanced Jet was a major attraction for IncDesign. Automatic maintenance and head cleaning have greatly reduced servicing and maintenance obligations, while a specialist pump keeps the flow of ink constant through the print-heads. This eliminates banding and means that cartridges can be changed ‘on the fly’.
“The combination of the AJ-1000i’s speed and the durability of its EcoXtreme solvent-based ink is spectacular and its colour accuracy is superb, with easy Pantone matching when required. My favourite aspect of the machine is that it can operate unattended,” highlights Hogan. “We’ve left it printing overnight on occasion - we load up a 100 metre roll of paper and come back in the morning to find the job completed, no problem.”
The AJ-1000i's heavy-duty take-up system supports rolls weighing up to 100Kg, and Roland’s proprietary six-colour EcoXtreme inks include light cyan and light magenta for a wider gamut. The machine is happy working with a wide range of coated and uncoated media for durable, long-life graphics, and has a maximum throughput of 90 sq m/hour.
“Its size and speed have opened up new doors for us and the AJ-1000i is now a core part of our business and production strategy. Both of our Roland machines are highly reliable and obviously well built, but engineers are on hand should we need them. With these two printers there isn’t much we can’t do – big or small,” boasts Byrne.
Progress doesn’t stop here for Inc Design, tactical expansion is again on the agenda, with Byrne and Hogan already considering future development, including perhaps personalisation and Variable Data work for promotional items.
The main thing, Hogan concludes, is to remain versatile: “There is a wealth of opportunity out there and part of our job is to keep on top of changes in the market. It’s important to be able to meet new demands as and when they arise. With its productive and diverse technology, Roland DG has certainly earned our trust in this respect.”
Find out more, and calculate the running costs of the Roland AdvancedJet AJ-1000i printer, at www.rolandpro.co.uk