Unless you’ve spent the last few years intentionally ignoring who is doing what in the wide-format digital print market, you’ll already be fully aware that Hollywood Monster is a pretty big deal when it comes to the volume production of retail sign and display print.
There’s a well-known saying by Aesop – he of Fable fame – that states 'A man is known by the company he keeps'. If we accept that quote as accurate then we have to conclude that Hollywood Monster are currently right up at the top of the wide-format retail print hierarchy, as they’ve have been hanging out with some very illustrious company of late: at a recent thought leadership event, organised by Hollywood Monster and hosted at its Birmingham headquarters, speakers included Andy Street, Managing Director of John Lewis; Gareth Hudson, Head of Development at McDonald’s; Myf Ryan, the Chief Marketing Officer for Westfield; and Social Chain CEO, Steven Bartlett – assembled to investigate and discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the £339bn retail sector.
In fact there’s rarely a month goes by without some news from Hollywood Monster, be that a big retail contract win, a new printer installation, or even news of expansion into new territories around the UK – they recently opened up a new operation in London.
So what’s new at Hollywood Monster right now? Well how about the installation of the UK’s first 5-metre wide EFI VUTEk 5r printer just a matter of days ago.
Supplied and installed by EFI distributor CMYUK, the West Midlands-based display specialist selected the 5m-wide machine for its ability to meet the productivity levels required from its rapidly expanding retail customer base.
Featuring high-quality output with 7 picolitre greyscale imaging in resolutions up to 1,200 dpi, the new VUTEk 5r model offers the fastest throughput in its class, giving Hollywood Monster the ability to maximise quality, performance and efficiency.
Other standout features of the EFI VUTEk 5r printer include: powerful LED-curing technology; unique feature sets such as easy and accurate double-sided backlit and blackout printing; carriage height adjustment and wrinkle analyser to avoid head strikes; handling of rolls up to 750kg; and a raft of other well thought-out operator-friendly features that make the 5r intuitive to use.
In terms of the production speeds achievable, Robin East, Group Director of CMYUK, comments: “We’ve run some initial tests on the new EFI VUTEk 5r, and we’ve already established that we can print saleable quality mesh at 455m²/h , and PVC banner at 212 m²/h. Pretty much any other material we throw at it can be printed in perfect quality at 148 m²/h.”
Just as importantly in terms of overall productivity, the 5r features an inline XY finishing system for cutting and slitting, which enables the production of trimmed-to-size print straight from the printer. Hollywood Monster is now maximising its production time, with a fast print system and less downtime between jobs thanks to this integrated cutting function.
Simon McKenzie, Managing Director at Hollywood Monster, explains: “Prior to the EFI VUTEk 5r installation, we would typically move printed output over to a cutting table for finishing. However, the 5r model’s XY cutting eliminates that process, removing significant delays.
“It’s not unusual for us to print off hundreds or even thousands of banners for big events. Previously they would all have needed trimming on our cutting table, or – dependent on size – even by hand. That entire process is now completed on-the-fly during the print process. It’s a huge productivity boost.
“Being a long-time UV-LED printer user, we already expect increased reliability, instant on/off of the curing lamps, the ability to print sensitive and thin materials, reduced costs of replacement lamps and reduced energy consumption. However, the EFI VUTEK 5r goes beyond that and delivers a number of new features aimed at running cost and waste reduction, including higher ink efficiency and a reduction in media wastage (just 40cm of wasted material per load).”
McKenzie elaborates: “With multiple roll changes daily, combined with the volumes that we print, the reduction in media waste will result in us saving many thousands of square metres annually – over its lifetime, the media savings alone will make a significant contribution towards the machine's purchase cost.
“All told, the EFI VUTEk 5r is a printer that appears to have been designed in association with experienced operators, as almost every new feature seems to solve a problem, improve a process or make the day-to-day running of the system easier and more efficient. For a busy business like Hollywood Monster, that can only be a good thing.”
Robin East concurs: “The VUTEk 5r stands out in its field. EFI is now embedding technology within its printers that dramatically increases overall productivity. Aside of delivering the best in class quality at speed, with inline XY finishing, exceptional media handling and ease of operation, there is simply nothing else out there currently that can compete with this incredible printer.
“This is the sixth VUTEk printer we have installed for Hollywood Monster in the last 12 years. We continue to work closely with the company, and keep them informed of any interesting technical developments. It’s exciting to work with a business as dynamic as Hollywood Monster; a business that embraces technology and innovation to solve problems, increase productivity and continually drive its own success.”