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."