17 Jun 2021

Blueprint builds framework for success with triple purchase from DPI

Blueprint Colorpainter

In order to meet vastly increased demand in the wake of a recession-defying 2010, Blueprint Nottingham has invested in the UK's first Seiko I Infotech ColorPainter H-104S, as well as a ColorPainter H-74S and a Summa S160-T cutting plotter. All three machines were supplied and installed by wide-format printing equipment specialist Digital Print Innovations (DPI), supported by master distributor Colourgen, and have dramatically increased production speed and capacity for the display producer in the week since their installation.

Blueprint Nottingham fulfils a number of hefty display contracts for construction and other large volume industries, as well as vehicle wraps and banners for various purposes. "We've increased steadily but rapidly over the past two years, and in 2010 reached turnover of one million pounds," explains Richard Monk, director. "We've invested in the Seiko ColorPainter H-104S and H-74S because excellent uptime and the reliable production of large volumes are paramount to allow us to fulfil our orders."

The 104" (2.6m) ColorPainter H-104S and the 74" (1.9m) ColorPainter H-74S are the latest generation of mild-solvent printers from Seiko and feature Multi-Drop Technology, which varies the ink droplet size to ensure optimum media coverage. In combination with Smart Pass Technology, which reduces banding, this makes the machines equally suitable for the creation of displays to be viewed both up close and at longer distances, and offers significant cost and waste reduction compared with other engines of their class. Both machines were supplied to Blueprint in eight-colour configuration (CMYK, Lc, Lm, grey and light grey), which allows the production of subtle gradations and provides fine detail in shadows.

"We've been faithful to the Seiko ColorPainter brand for the last five years due to the printers' consistently high quality at excellent production speeds. We had to support our exponential sales growth by investing in the next generation of machines, increasing our production capacity with even better speed and turnaround," Monk continues. "Two 6 x 0.5m banners now take us only 34 minutes to print, meaning we can send jobs to be finished and fitted much more quickly."

Finishing capacity has also been improved with the 1.6m Summa S160-T tangential roll-fed cutter. Motor-controlled blade rotation ensures that materials of all thicknesses cut and weed precisely and efficiently, while the models – which are also available in 0.75, 1.2 and 1.4m widths – also feature highly accurate tracking for intricate designs. Although designed to conserve space, the Summa S160-T is surprisingly sturdy and contains media support rollers to guarantee accurate cutting at top speed – both vital factors for Blueprint's high volume of work.

Blueprint Nottingham, which was established in 1987 and has a ten-strong staff, had an existing relationship with DPI's technical director Richard Butler, who has supported the company with technical problem solving and maintenance issues for several years. This fact led the company to DPI to provide, install and support the Seiko machines ongoing.

"We chose to purchase from DPI because Stewart Bell and Richard Butler seemed to appreciate the practical considerations of a company like ours," adds Monk. "The installation was painless and both ColorPainters were up and running in no time, despite having to work around our non-stop production environment. Their professionalism and technical knowledge were in evidence at every stage of the process."

Blueprint also recommends Colourgen's service and support teams. "Although it's rare that we experience any difficulty with the Seikos, Colourgen's team of engineers are second to none and are always very quick to respond," Monk says. "With Colourgen as master distributor, I know that we have a nation-wide backbone to rely on, and reliability is an absolute must for our fast-paced production business to keep the pace it requires."

"We knew that Blueprint's business model needed the velocity that the latest ColorPainters can offer, with speeds up to 50sq m/hour in eight-colour mode, as well as the high volume 1.5l ink system with on-the-fly changeover capability," says Stewart Bell, managing director of DPI. "The Summa S160-T is the perfect complement to these printers, offering the resilience and accuracy that Blueprint Nottingham needs to be fast and profitable."

"The Seiko ColorPainter H-104S is already proving its mettle as the leader in its product category at Blueprint Nottingham, and we're delighted to see it enter the UK market," adds Melanie Enser, marketing manager for Colourgen. "The newest ColorPainters are perfect for businesses that don't have time to waste, and as such they are already contributing to Blueprint's productivity and profit margins in a positive way."


Hybrid to unveil the new Mimaki JFX-1615plus at Sign and Digital UK 2011

Mimaki Jfx Plus

This year’s Sign and Digital UK show - to be held at the NEC in Birmingham - will see the unveiling of the new Mimaki JFX-1615plus by its exclusive UK and Ireland distributer, Hybrid Services Ltd.

Already an award winner following its international launch, the Mimaki JFX-1615plus shares the same fast, high-quality LED UV curable ink technology as its big brother, the JFX-1631plus; but with a bed size of 1.6m x 1.5m it provides a true flatbed solution for companies with a smaller format print requirement.

Mimaki’s new JFXplus series features a post-curing unit as standard that enables printing of up to 23.6m2/h - a top speed that is nearly twice as fast as its predecessor. Additionally, a roll unit has been developed to boost efficiency and productivity when printing on flexible substrates, and printing capacity is maximised through the UV LED system requiring no warm up time.

Hybrid’s national sales manager, John de la Roche, highlights the benefits of the JFX-1615plus to Sign and Digital UK visitors, commenting that, “The JFXplus has the ability to print onto non-coated substrates up to a thickness of 50mm, and the added advantage of having two ink options (hard and flexible UV curable inks) to suit different applications really opens up its creative potential.”

“The new Mimaki flatbed is a versatile product with the capacity to produce high quality images and even 3pt text. Couple this with the affordability of the smaller model Mimaki JFX-1615plus and its ideal position in the market for more industrial, bespoke applications, and you can see why we were so keen for it to be showcased at this year’s Sign and Digital UK exhibition.”


International committee chooses Virtu RR50 for eminent design award

Virtu Rr50

The versatile 5m Virtu RR50 roll-to-roll printer from Swiss wide-format digital ink-jet manufacturer Polytype has been selected by the International Forum's (iF) Product Design Awards 2011 as a winner in the Industry and Skilled Trades category. Assessed rigorously against criteria incorporating design quality, workmanship, eco-friendliness, safety and brand value, this accolade provides international, interdisciplinary recognition of the Virtu brand's, and Polytype's, trailblazing contribution to innovation in printing technology development.

The Virtu RR50 from Polytype receives the iF Seal of Design Excellence, which is valid for its entire product life cycle, and will be included in the iF's Product Design Award Yearbook, available on March 1st. The iF Product Design Award was inaugurated in 1956 to honour exceptional achievement in design, and received 2,756 entries this year in fields which include architecture, household or professional equipment, lighting and AV. The jury comprised 25 experts from various technology disciplines, led by Fritz Frenkler, professor of industrial design at the Technical University of Munich.

The award adds to the accolades already granted to the Virtu RR50, which last year won the European Digital Press Association Award as the best superwide-format printer larger than three metres. The UV-curable engine outputs at an addressable resolution of 1,200dpi across a spectrum of flexible materials, including textiles, and is available in four- or six-colour configurations plus white for over- and under-printing. Innovations proprietary to the Virtu range comprise its linear drive motor, which improves stability and image quality, and operational considerations such as assisted loading and its compact, robust architecture.

"Polytype entered the iF Product Design Awards after encouragement to seek further endorsement for the Virtu wide-format printer range from the technology community at large, and we are thrilled to have received it," comments Sylvia Muhr, European sales director for Polytype. "We will always commit to extensive research and development for each machine we bring to market, making the Virtu brand an inspirational standard for all segments of wide-format print, no matter the application."

Capable of achieving speeds up to 320sq m/hour, the Polytype Virtu RR50 adds other productivity features to a machine's armoury, such as the ability to print three 1.2m rolls simultaneously, heavy-weight reel handling and longitudinal and cross-cutting facilities. Its Virtu Flexo ink set produces no volatile organic c0mpounds (VOCs) during the printing process, ensuring a high level of ecological responsibility, and can combine with a bulk ink system, making it suitable for busy production environments. The machine can be either front- or rear-loaded, and can also sit as part of a larger production line for industrial applications, such as glass.

Mutoh launches Kona Apparel

Mutoh Logo Noeye

Cutting plotter and large format piezo inkjet printer manufacturer Mutoh Belgium nv announces availability of a new series of garment pattern marking / cutting plotters, called Kona Apparel.  Specifically developed for the garment industry, Mutoh’s Kona Apparel series are high speed professional output devices for use with apparel CAD systems.    Available in two models - Kona Apparel 1400 (cutting width 1365 mm / 53.7”) and Kona Apparel 1650 (cutting width of 1615 mm / 63.6”) - this new plotter series will ensure accurate long-length plotting of marker lines on design templates and cutting of garment patterns.

The new Kona Apparel series integrates an innovative set of application and comfort features specifically meeting the needs of today’s garment professionals in starting or established businesses.

The Kona Apparel tool head offers a dual functionality.  Two different tools (knife holder & pressurised ball point pen) can be loaded simultaneously. Switching between plotting (marking) and cutting is possible without any operator intervention.  A sheet-off system with four-sided cutting blade is also integrated in the machine.
A full-colour multi-language 3.5” LCD touch screen enables the user to change settings in a trice.  Up to 8 sets of user-specified tool setup parameters (speed, force, ...) can be retained in memory of the plotter, for quick recall, in function of different media types that are used.

A high-precision grit axis ensures reliable long-length output as typically required by garment professionals.   Repositionable pressure rollers with adjustable pressure ensure accurate feeding of a wide range of apparel papers, from 80 g/m² to 225 g/m².

Made in Belgium, the Kona Apparel machines are built cost-effectively thanks to advanced manufacturing techniques.  As an example, the entire frame of the Kona Apparel is robot-welded, a technique which is also used in the car manufacturing industry.

The loadable media width on a Kona Apparel 1400 amounts to 1640 mm / 64.5”.  Kona Apparel 1650 accepts media widths up to 1890 mm / 74.4”.   Off-cuts down to 104 mm (4”) can be accommodated.   The cutting force is stepwise adjustable from 20 – 450 g to guarantee optimum marking / cutting results on the widest range of materials.   Cutting/marking speed goes up to 1000 mm/s, at a maximum acceleration of 2.5 G (24.5 m/s²).  Media thicknesses up to 0.5 mm can be loaded.

Competitively priced and offered with a two years’ warranty, Mutoh’s Kona Apparel series plotters include a stand on wheels, a media basket and media support rollers for media rolls up to 30 kg.  The plotters are compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux computer platforms.

More information on the Kona Apparel can be found on: http://www.mutoh.be/page.aspx/5920

Roland’s VersaCAMM VS-640 is the instant choice for QuickPrint SW


Quickprint Sw Vs 640

Danny Frayne (centre), managing director of QuickPrint SW and his son, Richard (right), are pictured with Duncan Macdonald of Avon Graphic Technologies and the newly installed Roland VersaCAMM VS-640


When Danny and Richard Frayne of Exeter-based QuickPrint SW accepted an invitation from Avon Graphic Technologies to an open day at Roland DG’s new Creative Centre in Clevedon, they were so impressed they made the instant decision to invest in a new wide-format printer. Eager to explore the opportunities that Roland could offer, and following a comprehensive demonstration of the VersaCAMM VS-640 print-and-cut solution with metallic and white inks, they placed an order on the spot for this machine.

A long established print company, QuickPrint SW has nearly reached its half century, having been founded back in 1961 and remaining a family business since it started. Originally concentrating on offset litho production, as trends and technologies changed so the company has extended its services, broadening its portfolio of capabilities with continual, shrewd investment into the latest equipment.

Already highly regarded by its customers as a supplier of small- and wide-format digital services as well as litho jobs covering all types of application, QuickPrint has moved forward from traditional commercial print, offering sublimation for promotional and garment production, plus displays, canvases and CAD/GIS applications. Recognising the added value of being able to offer contour cut signs, displays and labels which include metallic and white elements, the VersaCAMM VS-640 with its generous 1.62m width, renowned Eco-Sol Max inks and compact foot-print was an instant choice.

For Roland partner, Avon Graphic Technologies, the invitation to the manufacturer’s newly opened Creative Centre attracted a surprisingly high number of interested customers. Originally estimating there might be a dozen companies wanting to attend, the 30 acceptances included Danny and Richard Frayne from QuickPrint SW who admitted that it was a last minute decision, but one they certainly haven’t regretted.

“The moment we saw the Roland VersaCAMM VS-640 put through its paces, we knew this was the machine we needed to move QuickPrint SW forward in the market-place,” states Danny Frayne. “We put our order in with Duncan Macdonald of Avon Graphics on the spot — and, since the delivery of the system, we haven’t looked back.”

QuickPrint SW’s increasing demand from its growing customer base for wide-format production necessitated more durable output for greater diversity of end applications. Additionally, the exacting tolerances of the integrated cutting system in the VS-640 means that the company can now produce labels, stickers and decals. Using the variable data element in Roland VersaWorks production software, which is included with all its printers, jobs can even contain customised text and graphics as part of a production run.

Duncan Macdonald, sales manager of Avon Graphics, comments: “QuickPrint SW is a great example of a former litho specialist which has made the transition successfully into wide-format print. Using the combination of careful investment, experience and forethought, and establishing where new market opportunities lie, shows how well the addition of the VersaCAMM VS-640 will benefit its existing customers and attract new clients.

“Increasingly, commercial printers investing in wide-format want versatility as well as size and this is proving to be the case with customers moving into digital proofing, prototyping and label production,” continues Macdonald. “Producing larger applications is only one part of the picture. A growing number of businesses now seek a single machine to produce a diverse range of end jobs, and Roland’s ink-jet solutions are classic examples of how this can be achieved in return for a low investment cost.”

“The VS-640 has opened brand new avenues for us, and currently we’re using it to print banners, industrial and commercial labels and other applications, such as window graphics,” confirms Danny Frayne. “It’s allowed a large number of jobs to be brought in-house which, formerly, we had to out-source. This not only speeds up turn-round times but also gives us absolute control over all aspects of an order.”

The Roland VersaCAMM VS-640 is the widest model in its series of four machines, all of which are available with a choice of ink configuration, including dual CMYK and a six-colour palette as well as the option with metallic and white. Its print-and-cut capabilities enable the system to be utilised for step-and-repeat and nested labels which can be output precisely in a single workflow operation.

Designed to be a cost-effective but tough, compact integrated print-and-cut solution, the VersaCAMM VS series also features Roland OnSupport online diagnostics. This enables users to run jobs unattended knowing that they will be notified automatically via e-mail when an application is finished or if the machine needs attention, such as when it is running low on ink.

Danny and Richard Frayne confirm that they’re looking forward to returning to Roland’s Creative Centre for a special presentation on the new options available to them with their VersaCAMM VS-640. For Avon Graphics, QuickPrint SW has proved to be an excellent example of a business which recognised immediately the potential inherent in the machine even though, as Macdonald admits, it is still rare for a company to sign an order within minutes of viewing a unit for the very first time.


Mills Styrox creates outback graphic using Inca Columbia printer

Inca Outback Steakhouse

Mills Styrox, Australia, is a sign manufacturer and point of sale distributor specialising in product presentation and visual communication for the retail environment. They were commissioned by the Outback Steak House restaurant to produce a rustic graphic to cover a large open wall in their restaurant. It had to be relatively low cost to produce and install but still had to look effective. To achieve this they used 10mm distressed plywood sheets painted white and printed directly to these full sheets using the Inca Columbia printer, which were then cut to size and mounted on the walls. The end result was a stunning feature wall which won them a Highly Commended placing in the Inca IDEAS Awards 2010.