In business, delivering a winning performance and stealing the show typically requires an extra edge over competitors, something that Bruno Schmitz, co-owner of Belgium-based Schmitz Digital Printing sprl, knows all about.
Created in 1988 as a producer of traditional signs, Schmitz has developed into one of the country's foremost suppliers of digitally produced indoor and outdoor large-format graphics across a host of applications for the domestic market, as well as in France and Luxembourg.
This achievement can be attributed to the company's continual investment in new equipment and steady expansion at its original facilities in Ciney. Other factors include a genuine and enthusiastic desire to limit the impact of its operations on the environment; a commitment promoted by Schmitz under its 'Green Attitude' slogan.
Schmitz's eco-responsible attitude was formally recognised last year when the company became Europe's first large format digital print business to receive the coveted Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS)(1) certification, a management tool for companies and organisations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance.
For Bruno Schmitz, achieving the EMAS accreditation was based in no small measure on the company's installation last summer of a HP Scitex LX800 Printer. Running water-based HP Latex Inks, the LX800 offers an increased print width of 3.2m and was acquired by Schmitz as the business sought to upgrade its existing but smaller, HP Scitex LX600 Printer(2).
"Being awarded the EMAS certification required our business to undertake a range of different environmentally responsible methods and practices over a long period of time, but it goes without saying that the HP Scitex LX800 proved pivotal to seeing us make the grade," said Schmitz.
"The LX800 is key to our ability - and indeed our increasing need - to offer customers improved application versatility by printing to a broader spectrum of media," he added. "The fact that we can undertake a virtually limitless array of projects, while still achieving exceptionally good print quality at high production speeds is testament to the fact that the LX800 can uphold its green credentials without compromising in other key areas."
As was the case with the company's HP LX600 printer, the LX800 at Schmitz enables the production team to output printed graphics for use in working environments where odour is a concern, including hospitals or restaurants(3).
The LX800 also eliminates the need for special ventilation(4) at the company's own 2000m2 print facility. Moreover, according to Schmitz, its ability to produce wider prints, delivers added value in terms of responding to the business' needs, as well as to those of its customers.
"Investing in HP Latex Inks technology in 2009 was absolutely the right move for our company and we were keen to be among the first to employ this technology when it was introduced. Beyond the performance attributes, it is aligned to our Green Attitude ethos and significantly strengthened our case for achieving the EMAS certification," added Schmitz. "When the larger LX800 was launched, we were immediately interested, as the increase in width from 2.6m to 3.2m allows us to ramp up production throughput while affording us greater flexibility."
Having installed the LX800 for only a couple of weeks, Schmitz soon had the opportunity to put the printer through its paces on a project commissioned by the organisers of Belgium's renowned Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur (FIFF).
The company subsequently produced a stunning visual communications package for the 25th edition of the FIFF - every aspect was printed using HP Latex Printing Technologies. This included a 50 x 1.6m banner containing 100 large format prints of iconic French-speaking film industry figures, which adorned the exterior of one of the central marquees during the festival.
"As well as the exterior photographs, we also produced a number of gloss, panel-backed re-prints that we affixed to the interior of the same marquee," explained Schmitz. "The HP water-based latex inks really made a difference here, thanks to their odour-free(3) attributes. Upholding the integrity of the original images to ensure as faithful a reproduction as possible, was paramount. Also, despite using two different substrates, it was also vital that we maintained colour consistency and print quality across the whole series of prints."
Having produced the FIFF project on time and to the complete satisfaction of the client, Schmitz acknowledges that the speed of the LX800 played an important role in making sure production ran smoothly. "As is frequently the case with certain jobs we manage, 80 percent of artwork is provided by the client early on, but it's the other 20 percent that can typically arrive at the 11th hour and sometimes leave precious little time to deliver everything on time," he continued. "The same scenario was true of this particular project, but the impressive speed of the LX800 meant that we were not hamstrung from a time perspective and were easily able to complete the job to deadline with even a little time to spare."
As well as the series of interior and exterior large format photographs, the FIFF project saw Schmitz print around 100 large format flags and banners to promote the event. Measuring 80 x 250cm and 100 x 300cm these were hung throughout Namur's streets to ensure ample branding presence was provided in advance of and during the film festival. To further grab the attention of both visitors and the city's inhabitants Schmitz was also commissioned to decorate a fleet of more than a dozen official FIFF vehicles with full-colour event graphics. This entailed producing around 40m2 of self-adhesive vinyl on the HP Scitex LX800 Printer, the result of which, Schmitz confirms, captivated the some 30,000-strong crowd of spectators and added an additional head-turning element throughout the eight-day long celebration of Francophonic cinema.
As the curtain fell on the festival, Schmitz acknowledges the leading role played by his most recent digital print acquisition. "We were delighted with the stunning visual quality of the entire printed visual communications package, as was the client, who was keen to source a supplier who could handle a range of different graphic applications for the festival's 25th edition," he said. "Although this obviously put us in the frame from the outset, the fact that we would be using solutions that are designed for the environment, definitely clinched the deal on this one."
- Print wider images while maintaining high speed production with and high output quality
- Undertake print for major film festival, faithfully reproducing iconic photographs by upholding integrity of the original artwork
- HP Scitex LX800 Printer
- HP Latex Inks
- Stunning package of attention-grabbing graphics, delivered on time and to client satisfaction
- Achieved client objective of utilising solutions designed for the environment, achieved
(1) EMAS is a management tool for companies and organisations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance. Companies can cut costs by reducing consumption of resources, such as energy and water and by minimising the use and waste of materials. EMAS came into force in 1995. Today, more than 5,200 organisations, covering over 7,500 sites, are registered with EMAS. The scheme has recently been revised to reduce costs and bureaucracy, for example by the use of tools like EMASeasy, and to enable organisations located outside the EU to participate.
(2) Formerly known as the HP Designjet L65500 Printer.
(3) Printers using HP Latex Inks use internal heaters to dry and cure the latex polymer film. Some Substrates may have an inherent odour.
(4) Special ventilation is not required to meet US OSHA requirements on occupational exposure to VOCs from HP Latex Inks. Special ventilation equipment installation is at the discretion of the customer-no specific HP recommendation is intended. Customers should consult state and local requirements and regulations.