With the current economic climate there were concerns about the show and whether it was up to the challenge. These concerns were safely put to bed come 10am on the opening day. Crowds flocked to the NEC and saw a glittering showcase at the UK’s premier sign making and digital printing event.
The quality of visitors at this year’s show was unquestionable. From all the information, data and feedback we have received the main point that has kept on cropping up is that the quality of the visitors with money in their pocket was excellent.
Visitors to the 2009 show included: Delta Display, McLaren Racing, Signs Express, British Airways, Sign-A-Rama, Cadbury, FastSigns, Legoland, Pyramid, Harrods, Linney Group, Ikea, Kall Kwik, Co-operative Group, Hawes Signs, Waitrose, Prontaprint, MOD, Augustus Martin, Jaeger, Cestrian, Motorola, C3 Imaging, Hampshire County Council and many more.
The show data has now been collated and checked, and we can now release our subject to audit ABC certificate which shows a total visitor attendance of 6,127 which does not include repeat visits, and a total overall attendance, including press and exhibitor personnel, of 7,111.
Alan Caddick, Marketing Manager for the show comments: “For us, it is really important to go for an ABC audit. It very much fits in with our ‘open and honest’ approach which is the way we like to work. ABC is a trusted impartial service that gives us a true result of our attendance at our exhibition. This adds value to our business and event and gives us real credibility and integrity when talking to the market place about our attendance figures.”
Hexis, manufacturer of self-adhesive vinyl films, and Oreca, the motor racing company, are entering a technical partnership with the aim of further improving the performance of the LMP1 race car (Le Mans Prototype 1). The vehicle body panels will be covered in vinyl film instead of paint for a noticeable weight reduction thus achieving fuel savings and faster laps. Several tests were carried out in 2008 and 2009 with the results pointing in that direction.
For this type of application Hexis supplies ultra-thin adhesive coated vinyl films. As the films are extremely conformable and stretchable they can be applied over curved surfaces and thus completely wrap the vehicle. The Hexis training department provides technical assistance with the application of the films onto the vehicles.
Oreca, set up in 1972, is a race car designer and constructor based in France. 2009 is their second year of participation in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Hexis manufactures a full line of graphic vinyl and digital printing media used for sign making and vehicle markings. The company is based in Frontignan, near Montpellier, France with subsidiaries in Germany, Italy and the United States and with affiliate Hexis companies in the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK. The group exports some 40% of its turnover to over 40 countries worldwide, while enjoying sales of EUR 37.6 million in 2008.
The trading record of UV light source manufacturer Integration Technology Ltd (ITL) was described as ‘worthy of a Harvard Business School case study’ during the official presentation on Tuesday (July 21st) of the 2009 Queens’s Award for International Trade by Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, Tim Stevenson OBE.
Founded in 2000, Integration Technology designs and assembles compact, lightweight, modular UV systems for a variety of inkjet and industrial applications. “The record of this company is impressive,” said Mr. Stevenson. “An enormous amount of hard work and effort needs to go into what Integration Technology has achieved and it’s founded on quality, relentless focus on customer service and a determined approach to the international marketplace.”
Mr Stevenson suggested the record of the business over the last six years as “worthy of a Harvard Business School case study”, with the company scoring a compound rate of growth in turnover over the last six years not less than 43% of its net profit compound rate of growth of 58%.
Mr Stevenson took a tour to meet some 40 staff working on the development of UV curing systems at the company’s design and assembly facility at Upper Heyford near Oxford. After presenting the Queen’s Award to ITL managing director Adrian Lockwood at a reception on the company site attended by staff and special guests from local community and global industry, he congratulated the company on its achievement.
“Winning the Queen’s Award is by no means small beer,” said Mr Stevenson. “The award is not given lightly. It’s made on merit and given its prestigious nature, there is very strong competition for it. So this is a wonderful opportunity for Integration Technology to capitalise on its undoubted strengths.”
Guest speaker Tony Baldry, Conservative MP for Banbury said: “Around ninety-eight percent of ITL products are exported and that’s a phenomenal achievement given the competition in the global marketplace.
Norfolk based ReproArts has been in business for over 60 years, starting out as a screen printer, and in that time has seen a lot of changes in the industry. Priding itself on keeping up to date with the latest technology, not only did it install the first fully automatic Sericol screen printer in the 1970s, a serious leap into the unknown at the time, but it has recently installed the first Fujifilm Acuity Advance X2 in the UK.
Paul Hill, Production Director at ReproArts, says “We first saw the Acuity X2 in action earlier this year and placed our order at Sign and Digital UK. Although it has been a major investment for the company, we knew when we saw it that it was just what we were looking for in terms of its print area of 3.05m x 2.5 m edge to edge. That really is a massive sheet size.”
“Combined with its incredible accuracy, there was no hesitation in understanding that this machine was what we needed to achieve even better quality work than we had been offering. And the fact that it comes with a white option has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for us. For instance, we are now able to print double sided on Perspex, something that is very important to our customers.”
The Acuity Advance series uses FUJIFILM Sericol Uvijet UV inks, delivering supreme flexibility, particularly when using Uvijet white, which allows users to print a very opaque white under, over or between print layers, as ReproArts is doing, as well as directly onto dark media.
Paul continues, “Our previous roll fed machine simply couldn’t cope with heavy weight flat sheets and for double sided work the Acuity is impressively accurate, printing in exactly the right position for our Zund cutting machine to then cut the outlines.”
ReproArts has enjoyed a long standing relationship with FUJIFILM Sericol, installing the first ever ‘Sericol Sprinter’ automatic screen printing machine in the early 70s. Paul explains, “FUJIFILM Sericol has given us a fantastic level of service over the last 40 years. So, although their digital offering is relatively new, we had no qualms about going to them when we wanted to expand in this area, as we know we can trust them.”
The company has customers that range from some major restaurant chains and shopping outlets throughout the UK, to the car industry, and produces anything from window graphics, banners, in store decorations/displays to tool storage solutions. The large sheet size that the Acuity Advance X2 offers is extremely important, as the majority of the work customers are now looking for needs something capable of printing at this size. In fact, before the machine was installed, work was queuing up waiting. And the white option and the bigger print area has enabled work that couldn’t be done before to be handled.
“The large print size also means that when we are doing smaller jobs we can have one running on one side of the machine and be setting up another next to it. The machine has literally been printing all the time since the day after it was installed, and we are using it across a wide range of substrates up to its maximum depth of 48mm. I can honestly say we have no regrets at all.”
Paul continues, “We are so impressed with the quality of the work coming off the machine and the improvement in turnaround times - and it’s not just us, our customers have also commented - that we’re even thinking about making another investment.”
The Acuity Advance X2 has the same modified print head array as the Acuity Advance and incorporates greyscale print head technology to produce near-photographic quality print - unrivalled in the market today. The print area of the Advance X2 makes it the largest UV inkjet printer currently available, and it prints at a speed of 22m2/hr in production mode and 15m2/hr in high quality mode. Its additional white ink option complements the CMYK colour set.
FUJIFILM Europe, a leading supplier of total solutions for the Graphic Arts industry, today announces the commercial availability of its high speed thermal plate for newspaper applications, Brillia LH-NN2, first announced at Ifra 2008.
Designed specifically for newspaper production with 830 nm laser diode equipped platesetters, the notable features of Brillia LH-NN2 include: high-sensitivity for extended laser life; wide exposure latitude for stability and repeatability; long developer life for economy and minimal environmental impact, and the benefits of Fujifilm's patented MultiGrain™ technology for reduced ink usage and improved ink/water balance. Suitable for up to 300,000 impressions, the commercial availability of Brillia LH-NN2 means Fujifilm now has one of the widest ranges of plate production solutions on the market.
Specifications: Sensitivity: 70 mJ/cm² Resolution: 2-98% dot at 1200dpi/150lpi Run length: 300,000 Developer / Replenisher: LP-DZ / LP-DRZ
Thanks to an unprecedented investment programme in plate R&D and manufacturing, Fujifilm is now able to offer the most complete, high quality, environmentally-friendly range of CTP plate products in the industry. In line with Fujifilm's long term strategy of offering choice, the Brillia range of CTP plates now comprises both violet and thermal versions, with processed, reduced chemistry and processless derivatives. Underpinned by a world-wide support infrastructure and plate manufacturing capability, Fujifilm has developed a solid platform from which to further its position as the number one plate supplier in the market.
Proskills, the Sector Skills Council for the Process & Manufacturing sector, which includes the print and paper industries, is making a plea to printers to join forces with them to help shape the future direction of skills provision and training for the printing industry. Richard Moore, the recently appointed Print and Paper Industry Lead at Proskills is heading the campaign to encourage as many printers as possible to provide more representative input into how Proskills can assist employers gain the right training provision, offer the most appropriate industry-specific qualifications and guide businesses through the process of obtaining government funding for skills training.
“We need more printers to work with; their input is critical to our success in ensuring our industry has the right skills and training provision going forward,” says Richard Moore, Print and Paper Industry Lead at Proskills. Companies can either continue to voice their disapproval, disappointment and even disillusionment with the current system, or they can get actively involved and work with us at Proskills to develop skills training solutions and qualifications that fit with the needs of our industry.”
There are two ways print companies can get involved; by joining the Print Industry Board, or as a representative on the Standards and Qualifications Reform Group.
The Print Industry Board helps set the strategic direction for Proskills and plays a direct role in influencing skills development and training provision. To date, it has a membership of just over 20 employers, but in real terms, these companies only represent a small fraction of the industry, which comprises around 16,000 workplaces and 145,000 employees. Supported by representatives from employer bodies, trade unions and training providers, the task of the Print Industry Board is to ensure that the objectives and solutions developed by Proskills and the National Skills Academy for Materials, Production & Supply (NSAMPS), the new directional delivery arm of Proskills, remain fully aligned to the needs of the industry.
The role of the Standards and Qualifications Reform Group is to develop and review new and existing standards and qualifications to meet the increasing demands of business, and as such, play a key role in ensuring the right training provision is in place to support investment in skills.
Richard Moore added, “Too often, we hear the criticism that the current government’s skills and funding system doesn’t deliver against the disparate needs of the printing industry – the wrong sort of training provision or delivery solution and the complex funding rules and processes that seem to preclude rather than include, all of which are frequently cited as the reason for not training staff. But is this viable in today’s economic climate, where advanced skills can drive business growth and aid survival during these difficult times?.”
“To ensure a more complete coverage and ever more influential input, we need more printers to get involved with the work we do and join the membership of both our Print and Paper Industry Boards as well as join our Standards and Qualifications Reform Group.”
Large Format Review provides daily breaking news on digital printer technology as used for commercial production of print for wide-format sign and display, dye-sublimation textile and fabric printing, packaging and industrial applications. We also cover 3D print and additive manufacturing.