14 Nov 2019

Case Study: EFI-VUTEk QS3220 helps Artworks Solutions extend its creative capabilities


Artworks Solutions Qs3200

As part of its ongoing development, design and production of an unusual range of digital generated applications, Bristol based Artworks Solutions has invested in an EFI-VUTEk QS3220 wide-format printer. The flat-bed and roll-fed device uses the latest generation of UV-curable inks and was supplied and installed by specialist UK distributor, CMYUK Digital.

Although already a highly skilled and experienced company producing a wide-range of digitally generated output, Artworks Solutions extends its portfolio of print-related services far beyond the normal remit offered by most wide-format display specialists. Now in its thirteenth year, the business has used a sensible path of investment fuelled by its growth and the demand made by its ever increasing customer base which includes architects and designers.

As well as providing a full range of digital print and display services, Artworks Solutions has literally lived up to its name by using its resources and skills to generate an astonishing range of additional capabilities. Many of these can only be manufactured using specialist processes and materials, and experience has shown the company that a standard piece of equipment or material can be stretched beyond its original boundaries to create truly innovative and unusual applications.

Mixing fabrication techniques with wide-format digital output has added an extra dimension to the company’s talents and many of its end applications serve more than one purpose. For example, in addition to providing functionality, a large percentage of the jobs produced by Artworks Solutions incorporate highly creative elements; as a result, it is not surprising that, for end users wanting visual appeal combined with practicality, clients nationwide turn to the company knowing it can transform an original idea into a novel, practical and creative result.

John Sulzmann founded Artworks Solutions having gained considerable experience with the sign and display industries, both within the production and distribution sectors. He realised, wisely, that to succeed long term in a fast growing industry sector his company needed to be prepared to diversify in order always to bring fresh ideas and results to his client base.

Today, Artwork Solutions specialises in producing high quality output onto unusual materials, with creative combinations of finishes and effects providing both useful and innovative results. Typically the company can turn its hand to producing digital wallpapers, printed storage walls, acoustic panels and tensile structures which combine functionality with eye-catching designs and features.

As wide-format digital printers have evolved, so Artworks Solutions has been able to diversify further and the use of UV-curable ink technologies has broadened the company’s capabilities for printing direct to unusual substrates. Combined with sand blasting, etching and kiln forming, Sulzmann and his team have established a method of mixing processes and substrates to produce coloured textures for interior design and display projects. This extends onto glass, a medium which is growing in demand for a range of projects where stunning visual results are essential and where the combination of print and the use of light can blend effectively.

Although Sulzmann had experience of UV-curable inks, he knew that Artworks Solutions was reliant on well-tested technology in a device which was proven across the market yet which would allow the company to continue on its path to greater creativity. When the time came to invest in a new printer, he investigated the options available and chose the EFI-VUTEk QS3220 because of its reliability and its ability to work with a vast variety of rigid and flexible materials up to 3.2 m wide.

“The combination of speed and quality was important to us,” Sulzmann states. “We cannot compromise with the types of application we produce and, for one-offs and longer runs, we needed to have absolute consistency in results. Working with many unusual, premium and specialist materials, we need results which are right first time and, with unconventional surfaces and coatings, good ink adhesion is vital.”

The EFI-VUTEk QS3220 is a sophisticated, yet tough unit which, whilst suitable as a work-horse on standard display and industrial materials, can be configured to be compatible with surfaces that aren’t flat and contain deeply etched textures and shapes. Unlike many machines on the market today, with a skilled operator this printer has the ability to be set up manually to enable the print-heads sufficient clearance to produce accurate droplets on uneven elements, such as reverse etched designs, logos and text.

Following the success of its forerunner, the QS3200, the EFI-VUTEk QS3220 maintains many of the same features but adds a high definition print capability, known as HDP, which increases the types of material onto which it can print. Its refined vacuum and revised input and output tables are designed to enhance media handling, performance and throughput, also complemented by an improved UV-curable ink formulation. Along with its efficient UV-curing system, this combination has improved adhesion and durability preventing cracking, chipping and crazing when difficult materials are used.

EFI-VUTEk’s Series 2 UV-curable inks are also formulated to deliver better performance, essential with jobs where an element of flexibility is required in the end application. This feature has extended the range of materials which are now suitable for production using this ink chemistry, with greater durability and high resistance to scratching and scuffing. The QS3220 benefits from a CMYKLcLm configuration with a three layer white ink option for additional versatility, and these are supplied in generous 3.25 litre containers.

Driven by the EFI Fiery XF RIP, also supplied and installed by CMYUK Digital, the software works closely with the throughput requirements of the printer, enabling users to combine images and jobs to optimise material usage. Output speeds of up to 84 square m/hour are complemented by fast change-over from rigid and roll-fed media and back again.

CMYUK’s Robin East comments: “This installation of an EFI-VUTEk UV-curable solution at Artworks Solutions is a typical example of how these printers excel in situations where variety and versatility are the key. Increasingly we are finding that users are wanting to produce unusual applications with complex effects and finishes and, in the past, these jobs wouldn’t have been possible.

“Now that workflow, media handling, inks and curing have been refined along with the actual design and construction of the printer itself, our users are constantly putting new demands on their machines,” East continues. “Inventive and innovative companies want to be able to experiment with different effects across a range of materials, and the EFI-VUTEk QS and GS families are designed to cope with taxing and difficult projects and applications whilst still retaining their unswerving ability to print longer runs, day in and day out, in both flat-bed and roll-fed modes.”

For Artwork Solutions, the investment in the EFI-VUTEk QS3220 means that the company can extend its creative ideas and applications to a wider range of clients. Sulzmann concludes: “Today’s display producers are becoming fiercely competitive but, for us, our experience means that we concentrate on market areas which so far remain virtually unchallenged. This latest investment will enable us to stretch our creative skills and attract new business from architects and designers as well as from our other customers who simply want well-produced and executed graphics for a variety of end uses.”



Using the free Virtual Printroom Calculator (built for UK EFI-VUTEK distributor CMYUK by the web development team here at LFR), now you can illustrate realistic profit forecasts based on both your current and projected print volumes. Simply enter your buy and sell prices, add your associated production cost elements, and click the ‘Calculate’ button.

It’s a completely free tool and you don’t even need to register to use it. Click here to do the maths now.


Efi Vutek Qs3220


Case Study: Allprint Display finds the EFI-VUTEk QS2000 an easy choice for quality and reliability

Allprint Qs2000


It was the result of reading a variety of testimonials such as these, on EFI-VUTEk printers, that led Allprint Display straight to UK distributor CMYUK Digital, when an investment was needed in a versatile, cost-effective wide-format solution. This enterprising Northamptonshire-based display specialist realised it needed to make a serious transition into digital production if it was going to grow its customer base, remain competitive and extend the range of services which it could supply.

Having started as a screen-printing company 18 years ago, concentrating primarily on trade work, Allprint Display still produces a considerable percentage of analogue jobs. But although the company hasn’t yet experienced a significant slow-down in this area, its directors realised that digital alternatives would become an essential part of business growth. Thus, four years ago the decision was made to invest in an entry-level UV-curable machine.

However, whilst Allprint Display’s first digital wide-format printer provided the company with a valuable introduction to flat-bed capabilities and associated technology, its limitations soon manifested themselves. Not only was the unit slow but it presented constant problems with handling and substrate hold-down, with poor ink adhesion being another major disadvantage. Subsequently, for roll-fed work, the company invested in two solvent-based printers but, inevitably, the time came for investment to be made into a quality solution which could work with both rigid and flexible materials.

“We knew we would have to purchase a machine which could provide the standards and service we wanted,” says James Daldy, one of the three directors of Allprint Display. “Fortunately, this didn’t prove to be a very difficult decision. Having read about so many positive experiences from users of EFI-VUTEk printers, we decided to investigate further and contacted CMYUK Digital. Following discussions and a meeting with Robin East, we were interested immediately in the QS2000’s versatility and speed. We were also keen to take advantage of the new generation of UV-curable inks which had just been introduced.”

East arranged for the Allprint Display team to visit EFI-VUTEk’s European head-quarters in Brussels to see the machine working. “I appreciated the fact that the entire pre-purchasing process was so simple, even down to the fact that we were able to take our own files for testing,” Daldy continues. “To be honest, when we saw the samples they were absolutely spot-on in terms of quality; we were completely blown away with them – so we ordered the QS2000 without any further delay.”

Since the EFI-VUTEk QS2000 was installed and configured at Allprint Display, it has been working non-stop faultlessly and cost-effectively. While the printer itself was being set-up, the company received training on the EFI Fiery XF RIP, enabling even the earliest prints to be output in real time on actual jobs. From the start, on a day-to-day basis, the machine is pushed to its absolute limits, with new materials being tried constantly, and it has never faltered.

Daldy and his fellow directors opted for the six-colour UV-curable QS2000 without the white ink addition. The company’s experience in screen-printing means that, when this extra capability is needed, it has successfully formulated a method to incorporate analogue elements as an under-, over-print or spot-colour on digital output. Unusually, this involves mixing ink types as the Svecia units at Allprint Display use solvent-based chemistry, but knowledge and experimentation have paid off to produce the right results.

The timing for the purchase and installation of the EFI-VUTEk QS3200 was fortuitous and coincided with the company’s expanding customer base asking for higher volumes of wide-format digital print. These numbers would have been unachievable had Allprint Display not made its investment in a high-end UV-curable solution and, as a result, it has won many new orders.

“With run-lengths increasing, and greater demand for work on rigid substrates, it was critical that our machine choice was right for the future as well as the present,” states Daldy. “It was also vital that the adhesion of the UV-curable ink formulation meant that it didn’t have problems with flaking and cracking, unlike with our earlier printer where wastage was high because of poor, inconsistent performance.”

The types of order carried out by Allprint Display include a large amount of point-of-sale work for its trade clients which need additional cutting and creasing on the company’s Zünd flat-bed machine. One of the immediate benefits of the output produced on the QS2000 has been the stability of the ink when the print is being finished.

Clean edges and flexibility on jobs which need to be cut and creased are features which are complemented by the inks’ excellent adhesion on all materials. This has eliminated the waste factor and allowed the company to remove the margin for error which had to be considered when its older system was used.

The ink capabilities have also proved themselves on roll-fed materials as well as rigid substrates, with no glazing and absolutely consistent results throughout the print run. Although a large amount of flexible media still tends to be handled on Allprint Display’s solvent-based printers, leaving the QS2000 for flat-bed applications, some work is now being moved across to the UV-curable alternative.

With its 2 m wide print area, fast speeds and high resolution, one of the benefits gained by QS2000 users is the ability to change easily from rigid and flexible materials and back again. Despite their rugged construction, the flat-bed tables can be rolled away by a single operator to enable roll-to-roll production, and replaced just as quickly when rigid substrates need to be output.

The versatile EFU VUTEk QS2000 has proved to be the ideal complement for a company which is accustomed to, and expects, the rich colours which can be achieved as standard when using the screen process. Allprint Display has always placed great emphasis on quality and didn’t want its standards to be affected adversely when moving jobs to a digital machine. In fact, the company has been particularly impressed by the extremely high standards achieved on graduated areas, such as skin tones, as well as with strong solid colours that are commonplace in many applications.

CMYUK Digital’s Robin East comments: “Allprint Display is a classic example of a company which has years of experience in screen-printing and understands the demands of working to tight dead-lines. But the need to bring versatile digital print on-board is essential for this type of business when outputting variable run lengths onto a wide variety of different display materials.”

Now a two-family business, Allprint Display was formed in 1992 by Wally Marsden and Pat Daldy. Their respective sons joined the business and, when the founders retired, they have continued to drive the company forward. James and Paul Daldy took over from their mother, along with Rob Marsden who stepped into the shoes of his father. All three are now directors, with a staff of 15.

The company’s consensus is that the EFI-VUTEk QS2000 has been the perfect addition to its business and will help it on its growth path. James Daldy concludes: “Not only does this printer run full-pelt, every day, non-stop, its continued reliability has been another outstanding feature. We’ve no regrets whatsoever about this investment, and its running costs are as cheap as chips.”



Using the free Virtual Printroom Calculator (built for UK EFI-VUTEK distributor CMYUK by the web development team here at LFR), now you can illustrate realistic profit forecasts based on both your current and projected print volumes. Simply enter your buy and sell prices, add your associated production cost elements, and click the ‘Calculate’ button.

It’s a completely free tool and you don’t even need to register to use it. Click here to do the maths now.


Efi Vutek Qs2000


Grapo Technologies Displaying Affordable Shark hybrid UV Printer at FESPA 2010

Grapo Shark

Grapo Technologies, a manufacturer of large format UV roll-to-roll and flatbed printers based in the Czech Republic, is announcing that it will be exhibiting at FESPA, taking place in Munich from 22-26 June 2010.   At the show, hall B2 stand 460 the company will be featuring its fully automated Shark hybrid UV printer with feeder/cutter options.

“FESPA is the perfect venue for us to show the latest additions to the Shark,” said Sales Director Branislav Oravec,  “including an automatic feeder for rigid materials and cutting system for flexibles. After working with Shark in our own printshop, we believe these options makes Shark even more efficient and productive.  At Grapo Technologies we are, first and foremost, printing professionals that manufacture printers designed to meet the specific needs of other printing professionals—we began as a print shop, and always keep in mind the basic requirements of the average print shop owner: a productive, durable piece of hardware capable of generating profit for the business. The feeder/cutter system is a logical outcome of that philosophy as it allows the user to take advantage of the Shark’s speed without requiring two employees to man the machine at all times. ”

New at the show:  Shark now equipped with Feeder & Cutter.

The four-color Shark is a multifunctional system capable of printing on both flexible and rigid materials, producing high-quality greyscale images for a wide variety of display applications. Grapo Technologies will be demonstrating the Shark hybrid UV printer at FESPA with a new cutter capable of cutting materials up to 1 mm in thickness transversally or longitudinally, as well as a feeder that can accommodate cardboard sheets and common rigid materials up to a maximum media thickness 10 mm and a maximum size 2000 x 2000 mm, depending on the weight of the material.

Branislav Oravec comments: "In addition to the feeder and cutter, we’ve added more functionality to  Shark to improve work flow and productivity. Each model now comes equipped a take up and special guiding system to secure printing of unstable materials such as cardboard, providing users high printing speeds up to 120 m2/hour as well as enormous versatility in applications."

The system can print on either flexible or rigid materials at resolutions up to 960dpi, and can image a maximum print width of 2010 mm with an unlimited print length. Production speed varies from 40 m2/hour for top-quality POS applications to 120 m2/hour for outdoor displays.

“The capabilities of the Shark are normally only found in very high-end printing systems,” commented Oravec.  “For example, when working with rigid substrates, manual feeding can often result in expensive errors.  The Shark can automatically feed and print 100 sheets per hour, with precise registration, guiding the cut to size sheets to the printer using a unique pause free loading system without compromising on production speed. Because the feeder is automatically driven by Shark software, customers can print up to 100 square meters per hour without human intervention for most substrates.  This is truly unique in a printer that comes to the market at the Shark’s low price point, and the market has responded quite favourably.  We are excited to share these capabilities with visitors to our stand at FESPA.”

Unique Substrates

“To further demonstrate Shark’s flexibility,” added Oravec, “we will be printing on a wide range of substrates in our stand.  This includes textiles, foam, PVC, Forex, glass, polycarbonates, DiBond coated aluminium, acrylic, APET Veralite 100, fluted polypropylene, PVC vinyl, Blueback Paper, Vivak, metal, wood, ceramic tiles, cardboard, and more. This will clearly demonstrate the unique business opportunities this printer can open up for our customers as they work to differentiate their businesses.”

PVP Offers New Applications with Addition of HP Scitex FB7500 Printer

Hp Scitex Fb7500

Company reduces turnaround time and further develops competitive business offering

HP today announced that PVP SA, part of BARBEY Holding, based in Digoin, Burgundy, France, has installed its first HP Scitex FB7500 Printer in order to increase its product offering and enter new markets.

The company, established in 1981, originally specialised in advertising for the retail industry. In 1998 it entered the digital wide format market and its business has grown considerably now employing over 50 people. The company prides itself in being responsive to its customer's needs. Customers include leading French hypermarket chains.

"We wanted to develop our Point Of Sale offering for events and short campaigns. To meet this requirement we needed to invest in a machine with higher production capabilities and capable of printing onto lighter and thinner substrates," said Frédéric Barbey, president, PVP France. "With our new printer not only will we be able to win more work from existing customers, but it means that we can now attract new customers with large-scale projects."

Dedicated inks provide versatility across a very wide range of substrates from paper to plastics, whatever the media, fast-drying HP UV-curable inks deliver outstanding application versatility and long-lasting colour.

PVP's customers are already promising to switch their disposable signage and display projects to the printer, and with such high demands for short-run work which require fast turnarounds, the company is convinced that the FB7500 can help it to do this. Print speeds up to 500m² (5380ft²)/hour and features such as the three-quarter automated loading reduce idle time between sheets by up to 75 percent with only one operator, with loading time reduced to as little as 12 seconds.

Barbey continued, "The printer has many advantages for us, not least of all cost reductions. We have a lot of requests for glossy prints and the FB7500's gloss mode means that we no longer have to varnish our prints. Notably, the ink costs about five times less than our previous digital inks. In conjunction with the reduced downtime compared to screen-printing, our customers will soon benefit from cost savings and fast turnarounds."

PVP has a goal to develop a cleaner printing environment for its employees and is already taking advantage of an improved printing workspace compared to screen technology, thanks to its new printer. The elimination of time-consuming clean-up through fewer chemicals and petroleum-based products, means that its employees work more easily and can move on to the next job quickly.

Stevenson realises new growth opportunities with the HP Scitex TJ8550 Printer

Hp Tj8550

HP today announced that Stevenson, The Color Company, a family-owned signage and graphics service provider based in Cincinnati, has installed the HP Scitex TJ8550 Printer to produce high-quality point-of-purchase (POP) displays for its major national retail customers.

Stevenson chose the HP Scitex TJ8550 Printer over competitive offerings for its fast turnaround times, high-quality printing and reliability. Previously, Stevenson outsourced much of its wide-format work to silk screen service providers because the shop's offset and wide-format digital printers could not accommodate the size or speed required. With the addition of the HP Scitex TJ8550 Printer, Stevenson can handle the majority of its wide-format work in-house.

"When we realized that HP's wide-format digital printer could provide the high quality and speed that our customers demand, we knew it was time to acquire a new digital printer," said Andy Stevenson, executive vice-president, Stevenson, The Color Company. "We've never bought a piece of equipment that was as productive as the HP Scitex TJ8550 Printer. It takes half the number of people to run the machine than a traditional silk screen press."

To accommodate the high demand for wide-format work, Stevenson is already running one to two shifts, six to seven days per week on the HP Scitex TJ8550 Printer. The new solution produces a range of POP displays as large as 5 x 10 feet in different shapes, single- or double-sided and on a variety of substrates, including 18 pt. C2S and Styrene. Printing up to four posters on one sheet, the HP Scitex TJ8550 Printer also enables Stevenson to produce wallpaper panels that department stores use as promotional murals.

"Stevenson's experience is a great example of how our digital printers help companies expand into new applications and grow their business," said Jan Riecher, vice president and general manager, Graphics Solutions Business – Americas, HP. "With the high-quality and cost-effective output of the HP Scitex TJ8550 Printer, Stevenson was able to move the wide-format work of its large retail customers from silk screen to digital printing easily and with a very fast return on investment."

The HP Scitex TJ8550 Printer delivers a powerful combination of high throughput, cost-effective production and high output quality for a variety of wide-format applications. Supporting a resolution of up to 600 dpi and prints at speeds as high as 480 sqm/hr (5,166 sqft/hr), the HP Scitex TJ8550 Printer opens new opportunities for almost any printing shop-screen, digital and offset-by reducing operational costs and helping drive business growth.

Do the Maths using the CMYUK Online Print Profit Calculator

Cmyuk Calculator

UK Distributor for EFI-VUTEk printing solutions, CMYUK Limited, have announced the launch of a free online job costing and profit projection tool.


Using their free Virtual Printroom Calculator, you can get instant access to realistic profit forecasts based on both your current and projected print volumes. Simply enter your buy and sell prices, add your associated production cost elements, and click the ‘Calculate’ button.

It’s a completely free tool and you don’t even need to register to use it.

Robin East of CMYUK reports that end-user feedback has been positive, with a number of users finding that work that they were currently sub-contracting could be brought in-house, with the savings fully funding the purchase of a new EFI-VUTEk printing system.

You can log on now and start running your own calculations by visiting www.cmyukdigital.com/qs220-profit