Out-of-home (OOH) media specialist BBF Grafismos y Publicidad in Madrid, Spain, has transformed its business model, using Canon UVgel wide format printing technology to bring production of graphics in-house, after two decades reliant on outsourcing print services.
The business, which focuses on self-adhesive applications, operates with a core in-house team of just five people, supplying outdoor advertising companies, media agencies, corporate clients and transport providers such as airport, train, metro and bus companies.
Until 2017, BBF handled concept development, design and project realisation, but the printed graphics themselves were supplied by third parties. “We considered ourselves to be a creative services and project management business, not a manufacturer”, explains Director Carlos de la Cruz Pontvianne.
"Our philosophy towards print changed when we saw the Océ Colorado 1640. Having read about the new printer in a trade publication, we arranged a couple of demos with Canon, and that was a turning point. We saw beautiful rich colours, zero dot gain, high resolution, uniformity across the print and from print to print, no banding, no media distortion and precise rendition of Pantone colours - all critical factors for our client base."
The first Océ Colorado 1640 printer arrived at BBF in December 2017, followed quickly in January 2018 by a second device. BBF completed the hardware investment with a cold/hot and X + Y cutting laminator and Graphtec cutter, giving the business significant production capacity and enabling delivery of fully finished prints suitable for even longer term outdoor applications.
Bringing all production in-house has immediately enabled BBF to reduce costs, complete projects more quickly, and gain complete control over quality and delivery.
Superb image quality, down to the brush-stroke
BBF’s new printing capabilities were soon put to the test, when the company was commissioned by Metro de Madrid to transform the Atocha Metro station using fine art reproductions on self-adhesive vinyl as part of its rebranding as the ‘Estación del Arte’ (The Station of Art).
The project involved working with specially captured high-resolution scans of 36 renowned artworks from three nearby museums and galleries, the Museo del Prado, the Reina Sofía and the Thyssen-Bornemisza. Using the Océ Colorado 1640 printers, BBF then produced 36 large-scale printed reproductions for installation around the Metro station.
It’s quite a responsibility to reproduce works from artists like Goya, Dalí and Picasso! Happily, the printed output from the Océ Colorado 1640 absolutely did these incredible paintings justice, down to the brush-stroke. The colour consistency was perfect from panel to panel, with no banding and no defects – the images literally looked as if they had been painted. We were delighted with the project, and we heard nothing but positive reactions from the museums and Metro de Madrid, who we expected to be our toughest critics. Carlos de la Cruz Pontvianne Director of BBF.
This project was shortly followed by the 100th Anniversary of Metro de Madrid in the Chamartin station, the walls and the floor were decorated in the style of a centenary exhibition together with old trains in the station and opened by His Majesty the King of Spain Felipe VI. Again the Océ Colorado 1640 exceeded expectations, delivering beautiful, consistent colour across multiple campaign materials.
The high productivity of the Océ Colorado 1640 is fundamental for BBF in a market characterised by ever shorter turnaround times.
BBF has to manage some critical peaks in workload, as Sr. de la Cruz Pontvianne explains. “September is always super busy, as everyone returns from the summer holiday and suddenly the pressure is on. Effectively the majority of our work is concentrated into six months of the year.”
All-round quality and durability
For BBF, the durability of the Canon UVgel prints is also an important factor. Carlos de la Cruz Pontvianne appreciates the ink’s scratch resistance and washability. The fact that UVgel inks are GREENGUARD Gold-certified and odour-free also ensures that they meet the specifications of environmentally conscious clients, and are suitable for installations in enclosed indoor spaces.
The BBF team has also observed another quality improvement as a result of using Canon UVgel. “In the past, we have experienced a problem with solvent inks that degraded the vinyl used to install the graphics, to the point where the prints began to shrink and curl at the edges,” explains Mr. de la Cruz. “Without solvent content, this does not happen with UVgel, which means that installed prints look perfect for much longer.”
With the twin Océ Colorado 1640 printers, BBF is now handling all its printing requirements in house. Currently the majority of output is on self-adhesive vinyl or canvas, but the team is seeing growth in demand for paper and backlit applications, and is also experimenting with lenticular prints, with support from Canon.
BBF’s positive experiences with Canon UVgel technology are fuelling big ambitions as the business enters its third decade.