26 Oct 2021

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."

Gardners gets more than expected from HP Scitex XP2300

HP Scitex XP2300

At Gardners, located in Cardiff, U.K., being on the cutting edge of printing technology has become almost routine. Recently, Gardners became one of the first companies worldwide to install an HP Scitex XP2300 Printer, a 3.2 m-wide (10.5 ft) UV roll-to-roll printer designed for high-speed production environments. The new printer is dedicated to outdoor signage and it offers several major advantages, including an unmatched combination of high speed and low ink consumption, particularly in billboard mode printing.

Among the first major jobs that Gardners printed on the new machine was a huge order for a special safety mesh wrap. The company received an urgent order to print 18 rolls of material to be used to clad scaffolding on a development in Bristol, UK.

The material was supplied by the customer with each roll being 45 meters long with a printable area of 43 x 2 meters. Timely delivery was critical and Gardners only had 20 hours to produce and deliver the job. The HP Scitex XP2300 Printer produced it in less than 11 hours, using Billboard print mode.

“In the past, the same job would have taken around 23 hours to print,” says Kristel Moncarey, digital manager, Gardners. “Our customer actually preferred the extra smooth print quality of the HP Scitex XP2300 Printer, in particular the strength and brilliance of the colors. More and more customers are choosing the glossy look on this printer for their work.”

Richard Gardner, chairman, adds: “The customer was extremely happy with the fast turnaround and the higher gloss quality finish. The safety mesh is a very complicated material to run on. But the HP Scitex XP2300 printed it extremely quickly and it looked absolutely fantastic.”

In the few months that the HP Scitex XP2300 Printer has been onsite at Gardners, it has proven itself as an excellent solution not just for billboards, but also for other types of applications that require high-quality printing.

“I knew this machine was built for billboards but I didn’t realize how good the print quality would be,” says Gardner. “You wouldn’t expect to have very fine resolution and quality, especially on things where you are reversing lettering out. But you actually get quite high quality, so in practice, we are able to use it for other types of applications in a smaller format, such as banners and some fine interior signage, in addition to billboards.”

Gardner adds: “The machine is built for speed. In essence it’s more than double the speed of a common UV roll to roll printer, so having one of these new machines is the equivalent of having two of the others. The low ink consumption of the new printer is another major benefit to Gardners, saving up to approximately 30 percent. “The situation is that the cost saving is very significant.” Following the successful evaluation of its first HP Scitex XP2300 Printer, Gardners is planning to invest in at least five more machines.

Founded in 1976 primarily as a screen printer, Gardners is now one of the world’s largest digital printing companies, serving many different industries and applications. It has a large and diverse portfolio of products and processes with numerous patents and copyrights, covering the building industry, outdoor advertising media, backlit printing, dye sublimation onto fabrics, metal and aluminum and specialized adhesive technology for use in the financial sector.

The company’s growth has been shaped by a keen sense of market trends, such as the fast-growing demand for printing solutions that reduce environmental impact, in terms of the printing systems themselves and the media they print on. It has been fueled by its near-total adoption of digital printing technologies and its willingness to work with printing equipment vendors to test and refine new technologies and systems. With HP’s growing array of solutions for the large format printing market, Gardners is increasingly adopting HP technologies as a key part of its production floor.

“A lot of what we do is late sold,” says Gardner. “All the ads around the country change every two weeks, so theoretically you have two weeks to print the product. But, quite often a campaign will be instigated in reaction to a competitor, and the customer wants to react very quickly, within two or three days. So digital is perfect for that. And the HP Scitex XP2300 Printer is even more perfect because it allows you to put a lot of material through in 24 hours.”

In general, Gardner sees three key trends shaping the printing market: speed, cost and environmental responsibility. “We need faster machines and lower cost inks,” says Gardner. “The only way to expand the market is to take more work from analogue.”

“At the same time, going green is absolutely critical. We have been looking for environmental solutions for the past five or six years. We believed in it and now all the really big customers are demanding it. The world has changed. Now the majority of work we do is on environmentally responsible materials, like woven polyethylene. In fact, we are trying to phase out PVC.”

EFI to show VUTEk GS3200 super-wide printer with integrated workflow

efi vutek gs3200 

EFI today announced that demonstrations of the revolutionary 3.2-meter hybrid VUTEk GS3200 superwide printer will be given at the company’s 10th annual Connect users’ conference from August 2 to 5 at the Wynn Las Vegas. This year, EFI is demonstrating the new VUTEk GS3200 superwide format UV printer along with integrated workflow solutions from EFI, and inviting customers to join presentations given by product experts that will focus on the technology of VUTEk printers and the exciting economics of how these superwide format printers are driving record profitability for EFI’s customers.

“EFI Connect attracts existing customers and potential buyers from around the globe and this exclusive EFI summer event is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the newly introduced VUTEK GS3200,” said Chuck Dourlet, vice president of marketing, EFI VUTEk. “This is an incredible, uncompromising product that has speeds up to 2400 square feet per hour, resolution up to true 1000 dpi and the versatility to address just about any wide-format application you can dream of. The GS series printers have been received with incredible enthusiasm from the industry, and our prospective buyers have been clamoring to see one in action. We’re really looking forward to showing off the GS3200 alongside of EFI’s industry leading print management and workflow solutions in Las Vegas.”

“High performance equipment and solid processes… both are essential to grow and sustain profitability. EFI’s VUTEk superwide and Rastek wide format color imaging equipment, driven by EFI’s Fiery XF software for advanced color management, can provide our customers a strong competitive edge,” said Frank Mallozzi. “Additionally, tying in EFI’s Digital StoreFront provides our customers an Internet-based virtual front door for their business, giving them extra ways to acquire more customers and provide superior customer service to their clients. And, when integrated with EFI’s Advanced Professional Print Software, their business has the foundation it needs to optimize the VUTEk & Rastek printers and maximize the profit potential of virtually every job.”

The VUTEk GS3200’s versatility expands the reach of superwide printing into new industries and applications with breakthrough speed and incredible quality in the same printer. VUTEk’s Dual-Resolution Capability enables true 600 dpi and true 1000 dpi output with selectable 24pl or 12pl drop sizes, and produces eye-catching, photorealistic graphics in 8-color (plus white) mode at speeds up to 1200 feet per hour and in its Fast-5™ mode with speeds up to 2400 square feet per hour.

The GS3200 easily competes with high-volume commercial production printers and is the perfect replacement for a wide range of wide-format and superwide printers in one shop, as it exemplifies flexible, versatile production with its ability to transition from rigid to roll-to-roll in less than one minute, and its capacity to print on a broad range of substrates. It delivers unique, in-line, three-layer white-printing capability, allowing access to a whole new range of creative, high-value applications and is perfect for long runs or short runs in high quality and at high speeds, offering the highest return on investment (ROI) in the industry.

In addition to live, hands-on product demonstrations, EFI’s VUTEk product experts will also be conducting a special track for prospective buyers. These presentations will address the ROI and economics of superwide printing, profit opportunities in traditional and new superwide format applications, market conditions and outlook for superwide format printing, as well as a technology deep-dive with the VUTEk product managers. These presentations will complement the live product demonstrations, and will be of great value to EFI customers and prospective buyers who want to learn more about the advantages of VUTEk printers and superwide printing.

Agfa appoints CMYUK Digital to distribute Anapurna M family

Anapurna M2

No-one can have missed the impact that CMYUK Digital has made on the wide-format market in the UK with its in-depth knowledge of the industry complemented by a broad experience of handling colour and understanding every aspect of ink-jet production. As UK distributor for EFI VUTEk’s family of digital printers, complemented by Zünd’s precision computerised cutting systems, the company has now filled the third corner of the triangle through its recent appointment by Agfa to handle its Anapurna M series.

These latest additions to CMYUK’s portfolio of quality products is a logical one and helps to consolidate the company’s position as a leading, successful distributor in the UK. Since its arrival on the market, the Anapurna M Series of combination flat-bed and roll-fed printers has proved to be extremely popular amongst display producers and sign-makers, offering as it does an economic selection of UV-curable solutions which produces photographic quality onto a wide range of rigid and flexible materials.

CMYUK Digital’s Robin East had been looking for a modestly priced printer family for some time but hadn’t rushed into providing historic technologies within this cost sector because none fitted his criteria in terms of quality and duty cycle. “I’d been watching the growth of the Anapurna M range for a while and it struck me that, with its capabilities and pricing, it would be the perfect complement to our high-end EFI VUTEk solutions,” he states. “The opening for us came with the cessation of one of Agfa’s initial distribution agreements in the UK. The timing proved to be perfect for CMYUK Digital, fitting in with our growth plans and intent to cover all equipment investment levels across the UV-curable market.

“Of vital importance, too, is the fact that we refuse to compromise our existing portfolio with a series which hasn’t been proven in the market and didn’t have a good track record,” East continues. “All Agfa equipment sold by us will come complete with all the peace of mind a user deserves and needs, including a manufacturer’s full warranty and, of course, our own technical support. And, in common with our other technologies, all inks and consumables will be supplied from our central ware-house, including an on-line ordering option.”

With many happy customers giving testimony to the levels of service they receive from CMYUK, the company has built up a strong reputation for providing a very efficient follow-through in terms of support and this starts before a machine is purchased. Pre-sales and consultancy are backed-up with full product analysis to make sure that the buyer is getting the right machine for his work-flow and output requirements, and an important emphasis is based on business development and a sensible return on investment.

“CMYUK Digital’s initial consultancy analyses the specific requirement from the customer’s applications, and helps specify accurately the solution required. The implementation of equipment includes bespoke client site surveys, and co-ordination of associated electrical, air and data services. Full training is provided covering machine operation, application techniques and colour profiling,” East explains.

The company stresses it is fully conversant with the training and software side of running a wide-format machine, including RIPs, colour management and profiling to make sure that users of printers supplied produce the correct results, thus reducing wasted output and associated costs. “We strive for trouble-free implementation, working with customers to make sure that they can be productive from the completion of installation — and this is a principle we apply across the board, no matter how large or small the investment,” says East. “We are always available as the client’s first point of contact when it comes to support, liaising with the manufacturer if necessary to minimise down-time and ensuring that upgrades are available as soon as they are released.”

Having made a name for itself as a highly regarded distributor of EFI VUTEk printers and Zünd finishing tables, the addition of Agfa’s Anapurna M series will enable display producers to rely on a dependable source from which to purchase all products. Many potential clients are first-time users of UV-curable ink-jet printers and some are moving into digital production from other print and display related sectors so have minimal knowledge of how combination flat-bed and roll-fed systems work. A further section of users comes from those who are familiar with the technology but who need extra capabilities for high quality colour work. CMYUK Digital’s experience covers all bases and, as East emphasises, no two users are the same and should never be treated as such.

Following the signing of the agreement at FESPA Digital in May, CMYUK Digital is now distributor for the four current Agfa Anapurna M models, as well as any future additions to the range. All of these are sturdily and ergonomically constructed as a stable platform from which to output direct to rigid substrates as well as to flexible materials, featuring dual-board and borderless printing. The machines are designed to output all types of application including front-lit and back-lit posters, banners, signs and displays, exhibition graphics, point-of-purchase and indoor and outdoor advertising applications. Their resolution of 720 x 1440 dpi makes the printers ideal for any photorealistic job up to 1.6 m wide and users can even produce wide-format photographic and fine-art jobs on their Anapurnas.

Since the original six-colour Anapurna M was first introduced by Agfa, the series has been enhanced with the addition of options which have brought the display industry an efficient family of products that won’t break the bank. For users wanting to incorporate varnish into their jobs, the Anapurna Mv represents probably the lowest cost option on today’s market with its ability to handle spot and overall coverage. Those who want a four-colour flat-bed and roll-to-roll unit can choose the entry-level Anapurna M4F whilst companies who want a white ink capability can now opt for the recently launched Anapurna Mw. These machines all feature Konica-Minolta’s tried and trusted KM512 piezo electric print-heads.

Also new this year, and launched at Sign & Digital UK, is the Anapurna M2 — pronounced “squared” — which CMYUK Digital sees as being a best-seller. This model features enhanced automation, a special vacuum strength control system for smoother material transport at higher speeds and shuttle safety sensors which protect the print-heads, in this case the Konica-Minolta KM1024 which features 1024 nozzles and is designed to be energy efficient through its low power requirements. Agfa’s also simplifed the media loading with the M2, making it easy to handle different materials, thanks to the automated registration bars and head height adjustment. Unlike many printers in this category, there’s also an ionising bar which eliminates static, thus enhancing adhesion and crispness of fine details and text.

East believes it has been well worth the wait to find the right machine to fit into CMYUK Digital’s product portfolio. “The Anapurna M family completes the triangle for us, bringing a high quality modestly priced printer series to our growing list of customers who want to move to UV-curable production but who don’t want to deal with a different distributor,” he concludes. “The Agfa brand needs no introduction, and we’re proud to be adding the company’s name to our equipment range.”


Grapo launches Xaar-enabled Shark large format printer to worldwide market at Viscom Italia

altGrapo s.r.o, the Czech Republic-based manufacturer of UV printers, launches a large format UV printer to the worldwide market at Viscom Italia (13-15th November 2008). The Grapo Shark, which has been designed and built entirely in Europe, is a universal flatbed and roll-to-roll printer and incorporates Xaar 760 inkjet printheads to produce high quality greyscale images for a wide variety of display applications.

Inca Digital announces Inca Onset S20, another new printer innovation

altInca Digital Printers today announce the Inca Onset S20, designed to deliver the high-volume production needs of specialist display print companies. The new printer, which will be available from global distributor Fujifilm Sericol, builds on the technology of the Inca Onset, the world’s fastest digital UV flatbed printer, and offers unique new features providing unrivalled print speed at a competitive price.