Reading, Berkshire-based Glendining Signs Ltd has installed a third HP Scitex FB500 Industrial Printer to 'meet customer demand and leverage the advantage of direct-to-substrate digital printing'.
The company, which began selling safety services and equipment in 1979, has evolved into a full-service digital sign company offering flexible and rigid signs for a broad range of customers.
“We had several goals when we were looking for a new printer: print quality, production throughput and versatility,” said Chris Lake, operations director, Glendining Signs Ltd. “A key factor in choosing the HP Scitex FB500 was the continuous substrate feed using a moving belt rather than a fixed bed. This production method fits in with our fast-paced requirements perfectly.”
The HP Scitex FB500 Industrial Printer uses piezoelectric printheads to print up to six colours (one of which can be an optional white). The variable drop size gives excellent print quality sharp lines, text and smooth tones. The press has the ability to print at speeds up to 29.6m2/hr (398ft2/hr) for outdoor signage, and up to 16.4m2/hr (177ft2/hr) for indoor applications, delivering high productivity and throughput.
“We purchased our first FB500 press from Paperlinx (then Robert Horne) at the beginning of 2012 for printing health and safety signs,” explained Lake. “We were so pleased with the speed, quality and versatility of the machine that we went back to Paperlinx and bought a second HP Scitex FB500 Industrial Printer just three months later.”
Being able to print direct to substrate meant that sticking vinyl onto rigid substrates was no longer necessary which increased productivity while reducing production and factory space costs. About 80 per cent of the company’s production is on rigid substrates, so the savings had a significant impact on the business.
The most common rigid substrates used by Glendining Signs include 4 and 10mm Correx, foam board and Di-bond. Common flexible substrates printed include various types of vinyl, PVC banner and mesh banner materials.
To illustrate the benefits digital production, Lake explains how a customer request for acrylic door numbers opened a new market for digitally printed signs using the HP Scitex FB500 Industrial Printer.
“The sample provided was clear acrylic, backed with frosted vinyl and on the other side was a black cut-out vinyl letter,” Lake said. “For us to produce the sign in the same way as the sample would have been very time-consuming and costly due to the amount of labour involved. Using one of our HP Scitex FB500 printers we were able to simulate the frosted effect by printing a light grey translucent background and at the same time, print the door number direct to the acrylic.”
The customer approved the sample and told Glendining Signs that it was better than the original. The company was able to fulfil the order at a competitive price and achieve a fast turnaround.
“Since then, we have had repeat business from this customer for more acrylic signs and we are now marketing these signs to others,” said Lake.
The decision to add the third HP Scitex FB500 Industrial Printer required a major change to accommodate the new printer, having squeezed the second printer into existing space. At the beginning of 2013, Glendining Signs decided to convert one of its warehouses into a new print room and move all three FB500 printers into it.
“With the third HP Scitex FB500 printer installed, we have increased our capacity again and are once more actively seeking new business,” said Lake. “Our future vision is to encourage the growth of the company at a steady controlled rate while maintaining the levels of service our customers are used to. We believe that the HP Scitex FB500 Industrial Printers are allowing us to do just that!”