Tay-CAD, based at Lerwick in Shetland, was formed in 1992 to provide CAD services to the oil and gas industries in Scotland. Since its establishment, the company has extended its services to include graphic design and large format printing. Eighteen months ago the company, traditionally a business-to-business service provider, decided to use its HP Designjet printers to extend its client base by offering its large format printing capabilities to the public.
"Shetland is a group of islands in the north eastern tip of Scotland," explained Mark Fuller, managing director and owner, Tay-CAD Ltd. "Its distance from the mainland of Scotland and small population offers a challenging marketplace and we have to be adaptable to meet the demands of our customers."
Expanding its service offering
In 2010, Tay-CAD decided to replace its existing HP Designjet 9000 Printer with HP Latex Ink solutions. It invested in two HP Designjet L25500 Printers, the 60 inch and 42 inch models, for high versatility and the ability to print on a wide range of substrates, including coated media or polyester fabric, and low cost papers without treatments.(1)
"We are a small business and the L25500 allows us to offer high-quality, competitively priced prints, with minimum operating costs," said Fuller. "As the HP media portfolio develops, we are finding that we can offer quick and effective solutions to jobs that would have been impossible without HP Latex Ink technology. For example, using our L25500s and HP Air Release Adhesive Gloss Cast Vinyl, we have been able to provide partial truck cab liveries, wrapped furniture and safety signage, all in the same print run."
Tay-CAD has also benefitted from the HP Designjet L25500s' ability to streamline workflow and minimise interruptions with its low maintenance printing.
"The L25500 has simply been a revolution in our workflow," continued Fuller. "First and foremost the print quality for indoor and outdoor applications is excellent, there is virtually no waste and we can leave the printers running unattended, whilst we concentrate on other work. Since installing the 60 inch printer last march we have seen a major boost in productivity."
Undertaking time critical work
In June 2010, Tay-CAD used its HP Designjet L25500 Printers to produce the graphics for a major exhibition at the Shetland Museum and Archives as part of the ‘Hamefarin' (homecoming) 2010 event that takes place every twenty-five years. During the event, Shetlanders and their descendants from around the world are welcomed back to their home islands. For many attendees this is their first visit to the islands.
"The ‘Hamefarin' From Old Rock to New Life exhibition at the museum focused on emigration and looked at the life stories of Shetlanders who had left the islands," explained Dr Ian Tait, curator, Shetland Museum and Archives. "When people relocated they took their possessions with them. This meant that the exhibition depended on high-quality graphics featuring sources such as photographs, biographical stories and newspapers, rather than focusing on artefacts."
The content for the exhibition was split into 48 A1-sized panels with the design determined by the destination of the person leaving. Every panel contained a combination of high-quality images and text. Each country was represented by different coloured text and a corresponding date stamp, superimposed onto each image. For consistency all the panels followed the same style, designed to look similar to a passport.
The centrepiece of the exhibition was a large panoramic montage, which measured 2440 x 1220mm, with an accompanying caption panel of 2440 x 600mm. The montage featured 135 photographs including black and white, sepia and full colour images. Tay-CAD produced the graphics using HP Permanent Matt Adhesive Vinyl mounted to 5mm foamboard.
"Timing was the most demanding aspect of this job, artwork was being finalised and approved right at the last minute, so being able to turnaround the production quickly was vital," said Fuller. "The HP Designjet L25500s were ideal for undertaking the job. Prints that come off the printer are instantly dry. In addition they do not require outgassing and are immediately ready for finishing and installation, ensuring that we could even fulfil the last minute changes."
As well as undertaking the printing of the montage, Tay-CAD designed the artwork so that it could be used as the cover page of the exhibition brochure, with minimal changes to the design. Production of the brochure was outsourced.
The exhibition was a huge success and the museum attracted 22,650 visitors over its duration, an increase of over 20 percent from the previous month.
"When I briefed Tay-CAD on the project, I wanted the final montage to be high-impact, so it was vital that the colours appeared vibrant, shadows and shading were well defined and textures were well captured," said Tait. "The captions had to be sharp enough for children to read easily and the panel had to be the right size and correctly positioned to stop adults from stooping to read. Tay-CAD managed to deliver all of this and the quality of the final result exceeded my expectations.
"Tay-CAD's combination of high customer service and its HP Designjet equipment has brought an advanced design and printing service to our islands. Without this, the ‘Hamefarin' exhibition would have been a lot more difficult. As it was, they made it so easy I didn't have to worry. The quality of work was superb."
(1) For best results, print on polyester fabric that does not stretch. Performance may vary depending in media. Please consult your media supplier for compatibility details.