Northern Flags fly with Agfa Graphics

(L-R): Iain Clasper-Cotte, UK MD Northern Flags & FaberExposize with Gary Giles, Account Manager Agfa Graphics.

One of the UK’s largest fabric printers, Northern Flags, is flying the flag with Agfa Graphics having invested in two Agfa print engines and a workflow solution for their new Leeds facility.

Northern Flags, which has a 33-year history in supplying flags and sister brand FaberExposize, offering extended print POS solutions, re-shored a proportion of print into the UK just two years ago. The business required a faster and wider ink jet solution and a quality dye sublimation printer with maximum show through results, important when printing textile substrates.

The FaberExposize brand takes its name from its European owner and expands the team’s specialism for printing on fabric to a broader range of materials and wider customer base.

The company, which is a new customer to the Agfa brand, has installed a two engine solution consisting of the Agfa Avinci DX3200 dye sublimation engine and Agfa Anapurna H3200i LED 3.2m wide format ink jet press, both of which are driven by the Agfa Asanti workflow, one of the few wide format workflow solutions supplied by an engine provider. This new installation is part of the company’s £1m investment in the UK in new premises and equipment.

“We were simply blown away by the Agfa Avinci DX3200 dye sublimation printer.” Said Iain Clasper-Cotte, UK Managing Director for Northern Flags and FaberExposize, following numerous trips to Agfa in Belgium and demonstrations and testing on the Agfa stand at Fespa, Hamburg. “It’s allowed us to deliver the best digital results in the market, rivaling screen print production. We have a total of some 55 wide format printers across the group, so lots of experience and we diligently met with many suppliers to get the right solution for our UK business. The Avinci’s performance convinced us and coupled with the established and reliable Anapurna H3200i LED wide format ink jet printer, Agfa has continued to reassure us that we made the right decision. They maybe the first, but I’m sure they won’t be the last Agfa engines purchased by the group.”

Each Agfa press offers different strengths and having both machines gives Northern Flags the flexibility to decide which job and which fabric should go on which machine. The Agfa Anapurna H3200i LED is a high-speed hybrid UV LED-curable inkjet system. The 6-colour engine has a print width of up to 3.2m and combines high quality with high productivity for outdoor and indoor, rigid and flexible wide-format applications. It offers roll-to-roll or flat bed printing of materials up to a thickness of 45mm. It’s also fitted with the very latest energy saving air-cooled LED lamps, which are ideal for a thin heat-sensitive material.

Whilst the dye sublimation process can be a more expensive option in print, as the ink soaks into the material it can be easily folded making the transportation and packaging a lot more cost effective. Therefore quite often the overall price of the job can be less than a UV ink jet solution, where the ink lies on top of the material and can be damaged if not packaged correctly. The Agfa Avinci DX3200 is an industrial dye sublimation roll-to-roll printer bringing remarkable print quality to a wide range of soft signage applications. It’s a highly productive, large format unit, printing up to 3.2m in width with low ink consumption, 6 colours (CMYKLcLm) and with a resolution up to 540 x 1080 dpi.

Both presses are driven by Agfa’s award winning Asanti workflow. Asanti is a completely automated production hub based around the latest version of Adobe PDF Print Engine (APPE) enabling highly specific functions such as true shape nesting, automatic pre-flighting and high quality colour management. The combination of the above features is designed to avoid errors, minimise manual interventions, shorten the overall pre-press procedures and simplify the entire printing process.

Iain concluded, “In the end we chose Agfa as they are as passionate about their solutions as we are about the quality we produce. They understand our business and have proved to be very proactive and responsive to our business needs.”

Agfa Graphics is a global solution provider to the printing industry, employing over 4000 people. They supply an extensive range of sign and display and prepress solutions, including hardware, software and consumables to commercial, display, newspaper and packaging printers. Their UK offices are in Brentford and Leeds.