08 Jul 2020

Light Air's images take to the slopes with the Rossignol demo tour



Light Air 2With the winter season underway at mountain resorts across Europe, the team at French large-format print specialist, Light Air, just finalised a massive print job on behalf of leading mountain-sports equipment manufacturer, Rossignol. This saw the Lyon-based company produce a series of wide-format graphics for the high-focus Rossignol Demo Tour—a multi-country, multi-resort alpine roadshow comprising events that allow skiers and snowboarders to test (for free) the company's latest equipment ranges.

"Rossignol's brief was succinct and clear," said Light Air's Commercial Director, Jean-Baptiste Aguettant. "We needed to produce 'intense, jaw-dropping printed graphics which would uphold a brand image that embodies superior quality, attractive design and high reliability.'"

This winter, ten European countries will play host to the Rossignol Demo Tour, which between them will stage around 110 individual test events. Given the scale and importance of the Tour, Rossignol sought a print partner that could deliver on two key prerequisites: first, to produce stunning promotional graphics that would maximise its visual impact and ensure head-turning interest throughout each resort; secondly, to do so by employing print technology that would not betray Rossignol's environmental philosophy and century-old respect for the mountains.

According to Aguettant, this combined requirement perfectly matched Light-Air's service offering, which is spearheaded by a trio of HP large-format digital inkjet printers, the most recent of which is the HP Scitex LX600 Printer, running water-based HP Latex Inks. This print stable has, in only a short space of time, seen Light Air earn a reputation as a fast provider of vibrant wide-format graphics that embrace a plethora of outdoor advertising and branding applications.

"We moved into large format printing only five-years ago and at FESPA 2007 were amazed at the potential of the high-speed, five-metre HP XL1500," he said. "Until then, we were focused more on traditional neon signs and had to sub-contract our large-format requirements to other print providers, which was not only expensive, but didn't give us full control over the quality of our production. Today, our print facility is 100 percent HP and our own appreciation for greener technology is demonstrated by the fact that we were the first print service provider in France to install the versatile HP Scitex LX600. The blend of attributes afforded by our printing arm meant that we ticked all the boxes for Rossignol, and as such, we are the sole supplier for this multi-country showcase."

Kicking off in Italy at the end of November, the focal point of Rossignol's Demo Tour centres on a purpose-built, specially-branded 'demo village'. This is set to comprise a series of massive inflatables, including two 36 sqm and 20 sqm tents, 3m-high totems and several huge arches marking the foot of ski runs. More importantly, these will all be adorned with attention-grabbing company and event logos featuring in-built durability to withstand the outdoor use and inevitable adverse weather conditions demanded of the six-month ski season. Additional promotional branding will be provided by a series of 6m-tall vertical flags, as well as a fleet of more than 30 support vehicles covered with self-adhesive vinyl graphics that also sport the Tour's official livery.

"In total, we will probably have printed around 265 sqm of banner material and used about 20 sqm of adhesive," continued Aguettant. "However, as with most of the projects that come through our door, despite knowing that this one was due, we only ended up having a week in which to complete the job."

Working to such an extremely tight turnaround from receipt of artwork to delivery of printed materials to Rossignol was, Aguettant acknowledged, no mean feat. Indeed, he is quick to highlight the massive contribution played by the HP LX600 Printer, whose odourless, water-based inks, he says, achieve a performance comparable to low- or eco-solvent inks. The printer features three 108mm HP 786 Designjet Printheads supporting a firing frequency of up to 24 KHz. Each contains two colours of ink and 1,200 nozzles per inch—or 10,560 nozzles per printhead. This enables Light Air to produce high-resolution prints at up to 1200dpi, while meeting the demands of high-speed, 70m2 production-volume printing.

"The beauty of the LX600 is that, not only can it help lower the impact of printing on the environment—thereby fulfilling an increasing customer stipulation to use greener production methods—but in doing so, it doesn't compromise one iota on speed or quality," he explained. "Instead, we benefit from fantastic image quality at very high production speeds, which given the seemingly impossible timeframes with which we sometimes have to contend, have meant the difference on more than one occasion."

As a company, Light Air has capitalised on its HP large-format print arsenal, which as well as the HP Scitex XL1500 Printer and HP Scitex LX600 Printer, also includes an HP Designjet 9000 Printer. This three-pronged HP printing capability not only delivers a broad, multi-faceted applications offering to Light Air's customers, but also enables the business to act as a sub-contractor to other print providers lacking wide-format capabilities of their own. Supported by a nationwide network of certified Light Air installers, and with an eye on a possible extension to its existing 800 sqm facility, the company continues to increase its dominance as one of France's foremost wide- and super-wide format outdoor branding companies.

"We are still a relatively young company, but our steady, profitable growth has been thanks to HP's innovative large-format technology," said Aguettant. "We have always endeavoured to remain abreast of our supplier's latest developments and would not rule out further investment in HP kit to ensure our continued ability to serve customers' future needs."


Banner welcomes HMS Ark Royal home for the last time

Ark Royal

As HMS Ark Royal sailed into Portsmouth harbour for the last time, her crew were greeted by a huge banner hung on the sea walls welcoming them home.  Leading flag manufacturer, Hampshire Flag Company, produced the 22m x 1m banner, in partnership with The Portsmouth News. Crowds of well-wishers braved the freezing temperatures and gathered round the banner, which said ‘Farewell to The Mighty Ark’ the nickname that the ship is affectionately known as. The PVC banner, which was produced on a Dupont Cromaprint printer, was turned round in just three days.

Graham Wilkinson, Hampshire Flag’s Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to have produced this banner. HMS Ark Royal is very special to Portsmouth and we were glad to be able to help celebrate her final return to the city.”

“As the ship sailed in, the crew posted a picture of the banner on twitter – it was great to know that they had spotted it despite the thick fog,” added Graham.

Mark Acheson, deputy editor of The Portsmouth News, said: “The banner was a big hit with everyone who turned out to welcome HMS Ark Royal home, as well as the crew of the ship itself. We were glad to help celebrate its final return.”

This recent banner is just the latest that Hampshire Flag Company has produced to support a local cause or event, working alongside The Portsmouth News. Earlier this year produced the huge 40ft flag that travelled to Wembly to support Portsmouth Football Club in the FA Cup final.

Hampshire Flag’s team of 21 produces hand-sewn national and international flags and digitally printed banners.  The Waterlooville firm also offers a bespoke flag design service, PVC banners, marine flags, bunting, table flags, exhibition graphics and event systems in addition to the supply and installation an extensive range of flagpoles.

Its prestigious portfolio of clients includes Selfridges, the BBC, Channel 4, Portsmouth Football Club, IBM and British Airways. Hampshire Flag supports various charities and expeditions including Action for Kids, Samaritans, Gumboots and for swimmer and environmentalist Lewis Pugh’s on-going feats.

Sign & Digital UK focus on textiles

Impulse Med

In the second case study from Sign & Digital UK, we are focusing on finishing products in the large format print industry – and in particular banner and textiles finishing.

An area which is often overlooked is the finishing side of large format and yet the soft signage and banner market is growing rapidly and almost all soft signage and banners require some sort of finishing whether its hemming, eyeleting or welding. The ability to control the quality of the finishing and increase the overall profit margin of a banner or soft signage product by bringing this finishing in house is becoming more commonplace. One such company helping signmakers and print businesses make this transition from “printer” to “print solution provider” is Solent Sewing & Welding Solutions . They are a 4th generation family run business that specialise, as their name suggests, in sewing and welding equipment for technical textiles. They manufacture their own range of industrial long arm sewing machines as well as supplying high quality standard sewing machines and offer a full range of hot air, hot wedge and impulse welding machines from Miller Weldmaster.

Melanie Jenkins, Marketing Director of Solent explains their ethos; “Our emphasis is on improving the customers’ production times and finish quality by finding the best sewing or welding solution for the customer. The wide range of welding equipment we offer means our customer can weld PE and Digital Textiles as well as PVC. The technological developments of printers with increased speed and print width has meant that we have to find faster finishing solutions to keep up with the print capacity. This can be a real issue for businesses and that’s why we offer a very comprehensive range of solutions that range from standard machines for joining and hemming graphics through to custom automated systems.”

There are many needs for soft signage today and the demand is growing for high quality tested graphics for building wraps, flags, banners and scaffold mesh. All of these require finishing to the highest standards due to potential health and safety risks, so reliability is of paramount importance. For the smaller banner maker who would traditionally send banners out to be finished, bringing this in house offers some very real benefits including increased quality control, quicker turnaround times and increased profits. For example, a 1.8m x 1.2m banner can be hemmed on all 4 sides in under 1 minute with no consumables required (i.e. no additional costs) using the Weldmaster T300 Extreme Edge.

Hampshire Flag Company, themselves a past exhibitor at the show, first saw Solent Sewing & Welding solutions three years ago at Sign & Digital UK and were convinced that their products were the way forward and as a result, purchased their first finishing machines.

The reasons, they state, that they bought the products was because of their ease of use and the build quality. “Three years on and we are still happy with them,” Graham Wilkinson of Hampshire Flag Company states, “they have been extremely reliable, economical and cost effective.”  Hampshire Flag Company are also a family-run business, formed almost three decades ago. They create a huge range of banners, bunting and burgees to café barriers, ceremonial equipment and custom flags and their client base is local, national and international.  Wilkinson continued, “Over the last five years, advances in digital textile printing has led to quicker production speeds in addition to the demand for allowing greater complexity of design and full photographic design with UV resistance. This has meant we have to respond equally and we can achieve this through our state of the art production facilities that deliver first class results to meet the high expectations of our clients.”

A recent project undertaken using these machines was the production of a 12ft x 3ft PVC banner created to encourage people in Portsmouth to join the bone marrow register in a bid to find a match for a four month old baby who desperately needed a transplant.  They also manufactured a 40ft x 20ft banner emblazoned with the Portsmouth Football Club badge and the slogan “Pompey till I die” which was then signed by supporters all over the city ahead of the FA cup quarter final win against Birmingham City.

Jenkins concludes, “Solent has exhibited at Sign & Digital UK for a number of years. We have found it to be the best show of its kind in the UK to meet potential customers with a need for our products – from one man businesses to the biggest names in the Industry – and we look forward to meeting them all again at the show in 2011.”

Solent have a new website packed with lots of products and helpful information for the signmaker including many instructional videos, just launched at www.solentsew.co.uk and visit them on stand H20 at Sign & Digital UK 2011 at Birmingham NEC on the 12th – 14th of April.

Dael Printing creates eye-catching display using Inca Onset S20


Dael Printing, Belgium, designed and produced an eye-catching retail presentation

board for Kraft Foods in the shape of a 3D cargo bike for Kraft Foods. It had to

appeal to children and their parents but the biggest challenge was to create a

display that was light enough for the sales reps to transport in their cars from one

store to another and that was quick and easy to assemble. It had to be strong enough

for the different set-ups and the client didn't want any other materials or fixings

to be used. The final design was printed on to 50 pieces of 16mm Re-Board using the

Inca Onset S20 and resembled a large slot-together puzzle that could be packed into

a box for easy transportation.

Digitally-printed wallpaper stars on TV

Landor Final
When Landor Phototex, the digitally printable self-adhesive fabric,recently starred on The Gadget Show (Channel 5, 22nd November 2010) in a DIY shootout comparing traditional wallpaper with digitally printed wallpaper, Derric Landor was blown away by the response: "Since the show was aired, we’ve had hundreds of people asking for home murals.”
Tommy Walsh, the DIY celebrity, faced the challenge with conventional wallpaper and paste against the show’s presenter Suzi Perry putting up a Landor Phototex mural printed easily and quickly on an Epson 11880 inkjet printer.  The Gadget Show was looking for a new, innovative DIY product that would compete against traditional wallpaper methods. Landor Phototex not only is an easy to apply self-adhesive, product but also allows consumers to choose their own photos, images or designs for home. It is also ideal for a variety of industrial applications, posters, stickers, advertising, fine art, cut outs, interior décor, office and retail interiors. It can be printed by all known inkjet technologies, and is already being widely used on water-based, solvent, latex, eco-solvent and UV inkjet as well as laser, offset litho,and digital presses in all small and wide formats, sheets and rolls.
Derric Landor, Landor Managing Director, says “Phototex unique and patented adhesive combined with its high quality fabric texture makes it ideal and easy for anyone to apply, position, remove or re position a small or large graphic, walls, doors, indoor and outdoor without the usual difficulties attributed to the more common and lesser eco-friendly vinyl’s in the market today. Added to this its soft furnishing, stable fabric opens up the doors of creativity and opportunity for printers, retailers, home users and the corporate sector to improve the quality of advertising as well as the comfort of visual and art imaging in the home. Phototex can easily be used also for cutting out decals, personalising photos and signs quickly and simply”
Landor is the international distributor for most markets outside the USA including the UK, Ireland, Europe, and South Africa and the middle East.

Mutoh launches Business Builder Program - car wrapping is first module


Mutoh America Inc. proudly launches Mutoh Business Builder (MBB), an on-line tool for Mutoh customers that provides market specific information, education and application driven training.

Starting November 17, 2010, Mutoh customers, new and old, are given FREE access to MBB simply by registering their printer and applying for a password. Customers will have access to ideas and concepts to encourage improving their business, product offerings and their bottom line using the latest Mutoh technology.

"MBB is a tool for our customers to learn about the different applications they can create using our products.  Time and time again, people tell me they had no idea what all they could do with our printers.  With MBB we will showcase on mutoh.com, in our four showrooms across the country, and at tradeshows, various applications and educational information for making money using our Mutoh digital printing and cutting equipment" states Brian Phipps, General Manager of Mutoh America Inc.

The first MBB module is all about the Carwrap business.  Mutoh customers will have access to the following:

  • Training Video Library: Unlimited on-line streaming video.
  • FAQ Section: Access to FAQ knowledgebase forums on the Carwraps Website.
  • Design Database: Designs from the Carwraps Design Database at a discounted rate of $15.99 per design. Design requests will be available upon request on the Carwraps website.
  • Discounted Templates: Complete template set from Art Station templates for a discounted price of $149 (plus $9.95 shipping and handling), while supplies last.
  • Webinars: Live webinars covering topics of design and production will be available to all members periodically. Webinar schedules and topics will be posted on the Carwraps website and emailed to members 2 weeks prior to a scheduled webinar.
  • Vehicle Graphics 101 eBook: Available for immediate download.
  • Reduced rate "Hands on Installation Training": Carwraps will hold installation training at various facilities throughout the U.S. for a price of $499.