How the Canon Colorado 1650 changed the game for Lamcom Technologies

January 05, 2021
By actively acquiring new technologies, this Montreal-based company increased their flexibility and expanded the possibilities of what they can print By actively acquiring new technologies, this Montreal-based company increased their flexibility and expanded the possibilities of what they can print

Since 1975, Lamcom Technologies has provided visual communications for commercial, corporate and industrial clients. Today, the Montreal-based company focuses on digital printing and signage. They offer turnkey solutions, seeing projects through from conception to installation to uninstallation.

Lamcom serves clients mostly in the food and airline industries, as well designers, architects and the hotel industry. “We decided to specialize in things that might be a bit more complicated at times, but we have the skills internally to pull off the big projects,” says Laurence Lefebvre, Vice-President of Strategy and IT, Lamcom Technologies.

They acquired their first Colorado 1640 in December 2017, and their second in August 2018. The large format printer gave them an offset-print quality that they hadn’t had before. Impressed by the machine’s speed and quality, Lamcom used it to produce not only a ton of banners but also textile prints such as wall coverings. They trusted the device’s ability to match colours consistently, an especially important trait when printing corporate colours for clients.

Finding flexibility with finish

In September 2019, Canon Canada announced the Colorado 1650. The new 64-inch production graphics printer includes FLXfinish technology, which enables both matte and gloss print finishes, a new ink, increased media and application versatility, and a fully integrated double-sided printing feature.

Knowing the benefit double-sided printing and the option of both matte and gloss finishes would bring to their business, Lamcom acquired four Colorado 1650s in February 2020. Canon took back the Colorado 1640s; the 1650s now do the work of those two devices plus seven other large format printers as well – at a lower running cost to boot.

Lamcom use the Colorado 1650 mostly to produce murals on textured wallpaper or vinyl – “It prints vinyl all day,” says Lefebvre, laughing – and vehicle wraps. Before, they were restricted on some jobs. For instance, when printing murals, they could use either an older machine they were looking to replace or the newer Colorado 1640. With the Colorado 1640, their only option was gloss finish. They would then have to laminate the mural. Now that they can choose the finish, they eliminate an extra step, save the cost of laminating and complete jobs more efficiently.

Lamcom takes full advantage of the machine’s FLXfinish technology, a new approach to LED curing that allows the user to choose between matte or gloss modes for each individual print. This means they can achieve different aesthetic finishes without the need to change inks or media. The reduced reflections of a matte print finish work well for interior wall coverings and art applications.

Now we put everything on the Colorado 1650 and we barely use the [seven other large format printers] anymore,” says Lefebvre. “For us, it’s faster, it’s more efficient, and we get really good quality. We can really push the offering to our clients.”

Increasing productivity

Lamcom prints about 50,000 square feet per month on the Colorado 1650s.

"It prints much faster than [our older machines],” says Lefebvre. “We don’t have to look at it all the time. It kind of runs by itself – we can put the roll on and it prints the whole roll.” Between the machine’s fast output speed and short drying times, operators can go straight to finishing.

Ease of use has also made a difference. One operator runs all four units. Lefebvre says the technicians have been impressed with how simple it is to set up and load (and unload) the machine, as well as how easy double-sided printing is compared to their previous devices.

The technicians also cite the quality of the matte ink. The flexible and stretchable formation of Canon UVgel 460 inks provide excellent image stability, even when folded, bent or wrapped. Lamcom produces large applications, where consistent, accurate and precise colour are key. The Colorado 1650 has meet the challenge. “The colour profiles that we created and we’re using are really consistent,” says Lefebvre.

Having printers that can print fast and are reliable is key to our production efficiency and client satisfaction."

Growing through adapting

The Colorado 1650 has helped the company stay competitive in a crowded marketplace. “In our industry, you never have two weeks to get the job done,” says Lefebvre. “We have sometimes 24 hours, 48 hours, so having printers that can print fast and are reliable is key to our production efficiency and client satisfaction.” The company loves having lots of equipment in their shop; should a machine need servicing, there’s never an interruption in work, business never stops running. “Our goal has always been growth,” says Lefebvre. “For the past 10 years, we’ve seen steady growth year after year.”

A willingness to adapt and try new things contributes to their growth as well. In recent years, they brought more of their business online. They started an e-commerce division called Blank Space. The platform allows photographers and designers to upload their images directly for photo paper, canvas and acrylic prints.

They also recently implemented a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system in order to automate a big part of their business. That’s increased their efficiency and client satisfaction. “We’re not done,” says Lefebvre. “We have a lot of vision and big projects [in mind].”

Working with supportive partners

Partnerships also play a part in longevity and success. Lamcom takes the time to build relationships and fulfil their commitments. “For us, it’s service above everything,” says Lefebvre. “It’s fast service – picking up the phone fast, answering fast, having the job delivered on time. For us, that’s the good client relationship.”

Earlier this year technical issues knocked out their entire print system. The next day, Lefebvre says, both their Canon rep and their Canon reseller were on site to see how they could help. “They both worked all day for the rest of their week so we could print within a short amount of time because we were swamped,” she says. “They really showed up when we needed them.”

Lamcom loves working with suppliers who want to develop a true partnership, not just have a transactional relationship. They want each side to support the other beyond the point of sale. When they acquired their first Colorado devices, they relied on the experience of their sales rep to optimize the machines for their business. They appreciate Canon’s same-day response on their service calls. They value that knowledge doesn’t come as an added expense. It’s important to work with partners who have experience and who are willing to share that, says Lefebvre. “Experience is everything in this business.”

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