Midlands design & print company puts their new HP Scitex FB950 through its paces

HP Scitex FB950

It's not very often that a wide format, flatbed printer can boast that its first job was for a Peep-show now is it? Although this is exactly the claim to fame by the newly installed HP Scitex FB950 for Midlands -based design and marketing agency R J Design Associates (RJDA) when they used it to print the latest promotional window graphic for footwear giants Schuh.

RJDA's needs for this large format printer wasn't entirely down to the initial demands of the customers however, but of their production manager. Managing Director Rob Walker says, "Originally it was pressure from our Production Manager, Julian Oldham-Kitchener to put this flatbed in.  Always looking for a way to get things done on time but faster, Julian had researched into the amount of time and money we were spending mounting and laminating jobs that had been printed on the Seiko's, for example."

Large format specialist reseller City & West End Solutions are a long time supplier of printer hardware to RJDA and after conducting a quality demonstration at this year's Sign & Digital UK Show, sealed the deal with RJDA.  Installation went ahead in July and it has not been out of production since.  The recent acquisition also proves to strengthen RJDA's position as the leading provider of large format print solutions in the East Midlands as well as offering the ability to lower the environmental impact of their own in-house printing.

The sales and design teams at RJDA seized upon the opportunities this printer offered their business and in no time the window graphic for the shoe retail giant 'Schuh' was the first to be printed.  The 'Peep-Schuh' refit was for the flagship Liverpool store and RJ Design were able to print and apply die-cut self-cling window vinyl's in just 2 days, complete with Amsterdam style peep-holes!  The new graphics succeeded the 15x2.5m board style hoardings that were printed directly onto substrate, also on the HP Scitex.

Since then similar innovative POS campaigns for the Livingston based footwear retailer have seen the production of a die cut, freestanding 'Adam-Ant' and 1m square Post-It notes for the Dublin store.

Another striking deal came in the form of wrapping Derby College's new Joseph Wright campus building - a true eye-catching landmark for the College measuring 9.7m x 9.5m utilising mesh banner vinyl.   With speed being of the essence the job was completed and fitted in just over half a day, something of an achievement for a tricky City Centre location!

The HP Scitex FB950 is capable of printing flatbed, sheetfed and rollfed at up to 80 m2/hr in fast mode the 2.5m UV printer will also print double-sided and edge-to-edge, utilising 6 colour UV-curable inks (C, M, Y, K, Lc, Lm).  Consistent print results are achieved thanks to 12 printheads with variable sized drops printing up to 1200 x 600 optimised dpi continually monitored by an onboard camera and spectrophotometer.  It can print directly on to a wide variety of rigid media that include corrugated or compressed carton; foam board; plastics; or specialty material like glass, wood and aluminium as well as more traditional signage and graphic applications.

Walker explains, "The HP Scitex has not only given us the opportunity to up sell to our existing clients, but to diversify our services into new markets. The key factor here is superb quality printing in addition to how much money per square metre everyone is saving with its no fuss, high production speed."

Production Manager at RJDA, Julian Oldham-Kitchener found that comparing the production print speeds of the Scitex flatbed to their Seiko printers, brought a huge difference in running time.  He says, "Where the production speed is quoted at 20m2 per hour we found that the Scitex actually does about three times the amount of work.  Printers like the Seiko need a fair amount of maintenance to keep running consistently and after all the stopping and staring in order to do this, you are in fact looking at about half the production speed. The HP Scitex however prints a 50m roll at 20m2 per hour- no stopping - brilliant."

Like many new installations and first runs RJDA were not without the odd problem, but in turn they have had no problem with the service received by both their supplier City & West End Solutions and distributor ArtSystems.   Response times to their teething troubles were met within the hour ensuring loss of production was virtually non-existent.

Walker concludes, "Our sustained growth and investment in people and cutting edge technology enables us to continually meet our clients needs.  Investment in the HP Scitex FB950 has meant we can significantly reduce the fulfilment time on jobs and drive down the cost of wide format signage and display graphics."