Acuity Select X28 UV flatbed provides production flexibility for SAS Graphics
SAS (Special Art Services) Graphics of Hove, East Sussex, is already seeing significant improvements in productivity and business opportunity following the installation of its latest investment, an Acuity Select X28 flatbed printer from Fujifilm that was installed in October 2016.
Steve White (above), managing director, SAS Graphics explains: "We originally invested in a Fujifilm Acuity LED 1600 roll to roll wide format printer in 2014 as the company transitioned to a high end graphics and signage business, following an MBO of the fine art and photographic printing side of the business. This machine has served, and continues to serve us very well. However, we made the decision in 2016 to increase our production capabilities to help meet the demands of a growing customer base.
"As we come from a fine art and photographic background, we had been a customer of Fujifilm for many years, but that certainly didn't guarantee we would also purchase Fujifilm's inkjet technologies. Most of our work is producing a range of window, wall and banner graphics for high-end office fit-outs and refurbishments, or corporate branding projects, so we have always been really focused on ensuring we invest in machines with the very highest level of printing quality."
Mr White says the company went out to the market and investigated a number of direct-to-substrate flatbed machines, but only the Acuity Select X28 could offer the right combination of speed, flexibility, quality and cost per print that their customers had come to expect.
"The eight-channel Acuity Select X28 has given us the ability to add light cyan and light magenta as well as white and a varnish if required. The result is not only amazingly high quality print, but produced at a speed and consistency that is unparalleled in our experience.
"The ColorGate RIP and Fujifilm's UV inks are also a very powerful combination, which together have resulted in a very high performance machine. What is also impressive, is that the colour consistency between the X28 and the Acuity LED 1600 is right on the mark, which gives us a huge amount of production flexibility. For example, depending on production schedules and jobs, we can now proof a job on one machine and print it on the other one if we have to."
Mr White says Fujifilm's technical team also spent a lot of time with SAS, before and during installation, to ensure the colour profiles for both Acuity printers met the company's highest standards of colour consistency and control. "They took the time to understand exactly what we needed and then worked on the profiles until they achieved exactly what we wanted. That commitment to customer service really impressed me."
The Acuity Select X28, part of the Acuity Select 20 family of wide format printers from Fujifilm, is a UV digital press with a print area over 2.5 x 3.05m. Designed for print applications requiring fine detail and high resolution imaging, Fujifilm says the larger print area allows printing on oversized substrates or two 1.25 x 2.50m boards, enabling the operator to set up on half the bed, while printing on the other half for maximum throughput.
The Acuity Select 20 series features up to eight colour channels, including options to run white, light cyan and light magenta inks and a varnish, making it an affordable solution for a number of creative print applications. The versatility of printing high quality, 1200 dpi or greater graphics on rigid, flexible and even roll media gives printers new, additional opportunities to expand their print capabilities and their businesses.
"In addition to growing our client base in our core markets, we are now also providing wide format trade printing services to a number of other printers, who are outsourcing their wide format printing jobs to us. As a result, I see big possibilities for this machine and our business over the coming months and I'm very pleased with our partnership in Fujifilm,” concluded Mr. White.
Jetrix UV flatbed “rattling through the work” at Spectrum
UK signage and large format digital print and wall coverings specialist Spectrum Sign and Display invested in a Jetrix KX7D UV printer last year, and according to director Julian Robinson, since it was up and running the printer has rattled through the work.
The company was looking for a versatile wide format printer that could meet a range of production demands across all sectors of the company’s service offering. Robinson says a great deal of time was spent researching various large format machines both from leading manufacturers and less well known brands with the functionality of each carefully reviewed to see how it would perform.
“For us, there were lots of contributing factors as to why we went for the Jetrix,” he says. “One key feature of significant appeal was the ability to pause the printer mid job. We have to say we have been really impressed with the machine since we got it at the end of the summer and it really does seem to rattle through the work.”
Second Onset flatbed for Cape Town-based USS Graphics Group
Two years ago Cape Town-based USS Graphics Group became the first company in Africa to invest in a high-performance Inca Digital flatbed press from Fujifilm. Now, determined to bolster its national presence, it has installed a second Onset flatbed, capable of printing at speeds up to 640m2/h, at Print Shop Denver, one of its associated companies based in Johannesburg.
As a commercial printer, USS Graphics has a strong focus on what it terms "campaignability" - its ability to produce all elements of an integrated marketing campaign in one location. USS Graphics offers customers a complete, 24/7 service from pre-press through to distribution, across a huge range of substrates, including corrugated board, vinyl, flexible materials and textiles. Its portfolio of printing technologies includes litho, screen and digital presses in Cape Town and in Johannesburg.
"We wanted to make sure we had the same extensive capabilities across all our sites in both cities - giving us more flexibility in where we send customers' jobs," says Louis Burger, managing director, USS Graphics. "The Onset R40i we installed in Cape Town back in 2015 has proven to be a hugely valuable investment. We're using it predominantly for printing corrugated POS and POP display materials, which in the past we had to litho print to get the necessary quality, and then mount onto board. The Onset, with its ability to print ultra-high quality directly to rigid substrates, has truly revolutionised that side of our business."
As an example, Mr Burger cites the recent delivery of three major national campaigns for high-profile retailers, which had to be completed simultaneously, in the space of less than a week. "Without the Onset we could never have delivered jobs of that magnitude to such a tight deadline," says Mr Burger. "But now we can, and we do. It's hard to overstate how valuable that is to our business, both in terms of the new market opportunities it opens up and the sheer volume of work we can now get through.”
But the Onset is about more than just speed. "The quality is incredible," Mr Burger continues. "Our sales reps are now insisting that all their samples are printed on it. And the flexibility to be able to print such varied short runs, at a consistently high level of quality is invaluable."
USS Graphics has never been afraid to pioneer new technologies. "Back when we installed the Onset in 2015, we were the first in Africa to do so," says Mr Burger. "We've always prided ourselves on being different from our competition, so though the Onset was untested in the South African market, we knew what it was capable of, and were confident that it would give us a positive point of difference and an advantage over our competitors. We held talks with multiple suppliers and ran tests on all the rival platforms. After all of that, we had no doubt at all that this unique combination of Inca Digital hardware, and Fujifilm printheads, inks and service support, offered us something above and beyond anything else on the market. We're now bringing that same revolutionary potential to our Johannesburg operation. This way we can cut our delivery times even further - by printing at whichever site is closest to the client, whatever the specifics of the job."
Looking ahead, Mr Burger sees USS Graphics' partnership with Fujifilm as a vital component of its strategy to stay ahead of market trends: "The print market in South Africa, as with the rest of the world, is trending steadily towards shorter runs with faster turnaround times, so we are going to see digital print playing an increasingly significant role. We're confident that USS Graphics is well placed to keep pace with all these market trends and to meet rapidly changing customer expectations."
New table top UV printer from Roland offers users substantial money-making possibilities
Roland DG has launched a new table top UV flatbed printer for on-demand small-lot customised printing of a broad range of items, objects and accessories. The company says its new VersaUV LEF-200 offers outstanding print quality, greater media compatibility, and ease of use for the personalisation and custom printing markets.
According to Yuko Maeda, division president of Roland DG business development unit, the LEF-200 can customise a wide range of consumer products and promotional items such as smartphone cases, pens, awards, giftware, plates and more. “With the growing desire to offer consumers a personalised experience reflecting individual preferences and lifestyles, the market for on-demand printing onto a whole array of items is an exciting and growing trend,” she says. “In recent years, we have seen an increasing number of businesses using our VersaUV LEF printers to provide custom printing of smartphone cases and accessories. With the LEF-200’s greater versatility for applications, the money-making possibilities are substantial and with its ease-of-use capabilities, even operators with minimal digital printing skills can operate the device.”
With a print bed of 508 x 330mm (20” x 13”), the LEF-200 prints high-quality full-colour, white and clear inks on a wide variety of materials including three-dimensional items up to 100mm (4”) thick. To accommodate an expanded range of profitable applications, the LEF-200 features a new on-board primer ink option for priming objects quickly and conveniently. The Roland VersaWorks Dual RIP software, included in the price of the LEF-200, simplifies the process of producing graphics with special effects.
“The new primer ink option allows users to prepare an object for customisation before printing a full-colour graphic. This makes adding graphics to glass, plastics and other challenging media so much more clean and efficient,” says Maeda.
The LEF-200 incorporates Roland DG’s proprietary CMYK, white and clear ECO-UV inks for premium quality printing. Clear ink can be printed for spot gloss or matt finishes, as well as unique embossing effects. White ink can be printed as a spot colour or behind CMYK on dark backgrounds or clear materials. To meet individual business requirements, users can choose from three ink configurations: CMYK+White+ Primer, CMYK+White+Clear, and CMYK+White+White.
The company says it has added a further range of usability enhancements to the LEF-200 for greater efficiency. For example, Roland VersaWorks Dual enables users to work not only with PostScript files, but also allows for native processing of PDF files to ensure transparency effects are processed accurately. In addition, white or clear ink data can be generated easily in the RIP, ideal for use in producing transparent personalised accessories with special effects. The position and size of special colour data can also be adjusted in the RIP for perfect registration.
Other features such as rotation and mirroring of the data can be configured in the RIP as well, without the need to return to your graphic design software. The newly available Maintained Clipped Position function is included which enables users to print designated images only. This feature is useful when extra processes such as clear effects are required for printing specific items.
Superwide EFI LED double for esp group
An investment in a 5m EFI VUTEk GS5500lxr Pro roll-to-roll LED printer and a 3.2-metre VUTEk GS3250lx Pro hybrid roll/flatbed LED printer by Kent-based esp technologies group now enables the company to offer a full range of flexible and rigid applications across all materials.
Specialising in providing a vast range of printed materials for leading brands in retail, plus the event, exhibition and museum sectors, esp technologies group also produces general display work for interior and exterior locations.
Founded in 1993 as a high-end screen printing company, esp moved into superwide format digital print seven years later with the purchase of one of the first VUTEk 5300 5m, roll-fed platforms. Subsequent investments included a VUTEk QS3200 printer which broadened the company's capabilities into digital print with its ability to generate very high-quality work on rigid and flexible substrates.
"Many of the application types we produced back in the year 2000 are still required now," says Stephen Hood, managing director of esp technologies group. "Coming from a large format screen-printing environment, the convenience of using an inkjet engine quickly manifested itself for short run and one-off orders. As a result, 5m wide output has been an important part of our portfolio throughout the years.”
Both new machines also benefit from EFI's LED "cool cure" technology, which requires up to 82% less energy - an ideal complement to esp's environmental ethic and desire to produce greener output.
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