21 Feb 2024

Ainsley Signs invests in a Canon Colorado 1650 UVgel printer

The Colorado 1650 is a large format UVgel, dedicated roll-to-roll printer that has won plaudits across the sign and display industry.

Ainsley Signs has invested in a Canon Colorado 1650 UVgel roll printer from CMYUK. The printer was purchased expressly to boost the throughput times of its banner production. It follows close on the heels of a Kongsberg X24 Digital Cutting Table installation, also purchased from CMYUK last year.

The business specialises in signage for the house building and construction industry including building sites, high-rise branding, fence panels, and the like. Other UV printers were considered but as this business specialises in volume 1.6m wide output, the Colorado was the perfect choice.

“We do lots of banner work using 50 and 100m rolls and we chose the Canon Colorado 1650 purely for its speed. We can literally print a 50m banner in 30 minutes now, it’s absolutely phenomenal,” says Josh Ainsley, Commercial Director, Ainsley Signs.

Increased speeds mean that for Josh now, jobs can be started later in the morning and regular weekend working is a distant memory. The Canon Colorado was designed for volume unattended printing. It features continual nozzle monitoring, automatic printhead maintenance, automated media feed, and a winding roll option.

CMYUK help and support
This is the second large investment that Ainsley Signs has made with CMYUK. Once again, Josh found the CMYUK team helpful, able to provide the exact solution for his business needs. Prior knowledge and familiarity with the ONYX RIP meant that training was concentrated on the physical aspects of the printer such as paper and ink loading. “The guys in our studio were absolutely fine with the printer, getting cracking on it after a day’s training, and since we’ve installed it, we’ve just run it day in, day out with no problems whatsoever. Jason McNulty [Digital Sales Consultant, CMYUK] who looks after us, has been a big part of why we’ve decided to make the equipment investments with CMYUK over the past year. We’re really impressed with everything he’s done and how he’s gone about supporting us as a company. CMYUK offers really excellent customer service and he’s been absolutely brilliant,” says Josh.

Colorado versatility
The Colorado 1650 is a large format UVgel, dedicated roll-to-roll printer that has won plaudits across the sign and display industry for its versatility, speed, and excellent colour reproduction.

While Ainsley Signs has dedicated the Canon Colorado to its banner work, this printer offers huge flexibility and versatility. It outputs a wide variety of materials such as SAV, heat sensitive and Polyester-based textiles, making it suitable for numerous applications such as window graphics, wallcoverings, soft signage, posters, banners, floor graphics, fleet graphics, POS, canvas reproductions, backlit, and frontlit display graphics.

While the speed/quality ratio of the printer has blown Josh away, he is also mightily impressed with the UVgel inks. Stretchable and flexible, they ensure a stable image even when prints are folded, wrapped or bent. They are also incredibly robust offering serious scratch resistance. “You can literally tip white spirit over them and rub them, and it doesn’t even touch them, they are amazing,” says Josh. These inks also help to lower the cost of production, offering up to 40% savings on ink usage when compared with competitive products.

The Colorado also allows users to print matt and gloss finishes without the need to change inks or media as the switch is done automatically and Josh has been applying the matt finish to some banner jobs.

Improved workflow
Ainsley Signs has two production sites next to each other in Middleton, Manchester. The arrival of the Colorado prompted a new layout and refurbishment of the facilities. A mezzanine has been added to the unit that houses the old print room, effectively doubling space capacity to house 1 x flatbed, 3 x solvent printers, and the Colorado. The Kongsberg which was originally sited in the second unit has been moved into the print room to enable a workflow that is faster, more efficient, and convenient.

“We print, cut on the Kongsberg and then this goes next door for manufacturing. It’s a really efficient production line now,” says Josh.

The business is currently designing wallcoverings for its meeting room area and will be utilising the FLX feature on the Colorado that cleverly allows users to print matt and gloss on the same print in a single pass.

Says Josh, “The Colorado is an epic addition to our business. We put it in to speed things up and that’s what it’s done. We just throw things at it all day and every day. It’s amazing.”

Picture caption (L-R): Carl Booth, Senior Signage Consultant; Dom Dearden, Head of Design & Print; Tom Knight, Operations Director; Harry Spenser, print operator.