Technology-led Belgian company stays with EFI for latest wide-format investment
Based in Edegem, Belgium, digital printing specialist Triakon recently became the first company in the country to install an EFI VUTEk GS3250LX 3.2m wide-format solution. This enterprising business, which was founded in 1998, specialises in a vast range of applications using toner-based and ink-jet technologies, and its choice of a new flat-bed and roll-fed UV-curable system with EFI’s ‘cool cure’ LED lamps has been founded on many very successful years working with a VUTEk QS3200.
Triakon evolved when Lucien De Schamphelaere - the father of current managing director, Lieven De Schamphelaere - retired from Xeikon, which he also founded. He wanted to remain in the industry and use his many years of experience working with developing digital technologies and running his own print shop. As a result, the company has a strong technical bias, working both commercially and on a research basis, with the latter courtesy of funding from the Flemish government in co-operation with the University of Leuven.
Working originally with Xeikon equipment, the size and durability limitations with dry-toner electrophotography began to manifest themselves as Triakon diversified into additional production areas. Lieven De Schamphelaere acknowledges that there were three primary areas which the company’s existing technologies couldn’t handle. The first was a width limitation, the second was the inability to print to rigid materials, and the third requirement was to be able to produce long-term applications for outdoor use.
Ink-jet was viewed as a valuable potential process, and the company invested in roll-fed solutions to produce wider applications. Triakon saw the potential of UV-curable machines early in their development, and believed they should be able to provide greater levels of durability as well the option for printing direct to rigid substrates, and this led to an investment into a Zünd 215C.
Although the system was very slow and limited on quality, the combination of Zünd and its Sericol inks was sufficiently effective to convince Triakon that UV-curable production was a very useful addition to its portfolio. As the technology continued to develop and improve, so the company began to investigate the different options that were coming to market. In 2008, it purchased a VUTEk QS3200 3.2m wide-format flat-bed and roll-fed printer which, as Lieven De Schamphelaere states, matched the speed and production qualities that were available at the time.
“We looked at a range of UV-curable systems from different manufacturers, but chose the QS3200 for a combination of reasons, based firstly on the stability of the machine, the speed and its quality,” states De Schamphelaere. “But also of considerable importance was the fact that we trusted EFI as an organisation, so we were confident in having the company behind us because we knew would get the support and service we required.”
Upgrading to LED curing
Thus, when Triakon decided it needed to increase its UV-curable throughput, the company decided to stay with EFI and invest in the VUTEK GS3250LX. A combination of reasons led to the decision to upgrade earlier this year, with many criteria based on the desire to remain on the leading edge of the latest digital technology and deliver its benefits to customers. In addition, environmental aspects are becoming increasingly important, and the versatility provided with EFI’s ‘cool cure’ LED lamps was compelling.
“The jobs we were running on the QS3200 were getting larger and more numerous, and we needed higher productivity,” explains De Schamphelaere. “Although it was sooner than anticipated, we made the decision to upgrade as we were convinced that the VUTEk GS3250LX printer would be able to run our jobs 2.5 times faster. Now that we have this speed advantage, Triakon benefits from the extra productivity, and we’re also able to pass on better quality to our customers.”
There have been significant advantages for Triakon with EFI’s ‘cool cure’ LED technology incorporated into the VUTEk GS3250LX. De Schamphelaere says that the lower curing temperatures enable the company to print to heat sensitive and thin materials without buckling or head strikes, adding significantly to its portfolio of applications. Additionally, the environmental benefits mean that less energy is required, with the extra benefit the lamps have a longer life span.
Continuous board production
In practical terms, operator Jan Vangenechten finds the VUTEk GS3250LX is extremely versatile and easy to work with, driven by the latest Fiery wide-format digital print server which delivers consistently precise colour and very fast processing speeds. “There is the benefit that the LED curing lamps don’t need to warm up before we use the printer, speeding up set-up times,” he says. “As well as being able to handle very sensitive substrates, another huge advantage with this machine is its continuous board production capability which adds to the range of jobs that can be produced.”
The installation of the VUTEk GS3250LX has lived up to expectations at Triakon, complementing the company’s existing toner-based systems by adding outdoor durability and additional widths to a variety of print jobs. The printer has more than realised the technical demands required by De Schamphelaere and his production team, in terms of high-speed throughput, versatility and quality, and the benefits gained with EFI’s ‘cool cure’ LED curing technology address the growing demand for greener practices.