Ostensible museum pieces Featured

August 29, 2023
Nolina applica operates the very first flatbed printer delivered by swissQprint in 2008. This ostensible museum piece continues in daily use Nolina applica operates the very first flatbed printer delivered by swissQprint in 2008. This ostensible museum piece continues in daily use

The first flatbed printer that swissQprint delivered in 2008 still operates today, just like hundreds of other machines from the Swiss manufacturer with over a decade of service behind them. Two users talk about their long-running printers.

swissQprint builds its machines robustly as a point of principle. Parts subject to wear are designed for at least ten years of two-shift operation. More than 300 swissQprint flatbed printers over a decade old continue in daily use even now, some of them working triple shifts. Not only does their software still get manufacturer support, spare parts and inks are also available. “Our goal is to supply customers for as long as possible and, if necessary, to seek substitute products,” says CTO Marc Baumgartner.

These printers are the backbone of business for many users, as the following two examples illustrate.

Nolina applica of Rickenbach, Switzerland, operates two swissQprint flatbed printers. Both are first-generation Oryx models built in 2010 and 2008; the latter is actually the first machine that swissQprint delivered back in the day. Gogo Gärtner, proprietor of Nolina applica, bought it second-hand from the original owner in Germany because she urgently needed more production capacity and the Oryx purchased four years previously was providing immaculate output. “We had just refurbished the studio, so there was only a limited budget for a second machine,” she explains. “The investment has paid off umpteen times over.”

The co-managing directors today, Nives Alexandra Pally and Muriel Flühmann, report: “Early this year we considered buying a new machine but decided to keep our two printers: we are very satisfied with them and know what they are capable of.”

“No such word as can’t” is the motto of the 12-strong team at Nolina; they will keep on trying things until a solution emerges. This is where the two swissQprint machines play a key role, because they print on every possible material and even some seemingly impossible ones like linoleum, sheet brass, stone veneers, wood and fabric.

“People occasionally poke fun at our printers as museum pieces,” says Nives Pally. She takes it in stride. “Our two swissQprint machines are in top condition and utterly reliable.” The company has yet to turn down an order because one of them was out of action. “Unlike with other equipment, service visits by swissQprint are plannable while the costs are clear and reasonable,” adds Muriel Flühmann. “We have the printers serviced annually at staggered intervals, so we can produce without a break.” The number of technical incidents over the years could be counted on the fingers of one hand. Hence, “What reason is there to replace something that runs so well?” Gogo Gärtner adds: “I consider the two machines linchpins of our operation.”

Logo Reklamen of Mollis, Switzerland, took delivery of an eleven-year-old first-generation swissQprint Impala in early 2023. Röbi Hefti, aged 60, is owner of the small business: “I plan to launch a novel product and really rev things up again.”

After a crisis of purpose before and during the pandemic, his visionary sense has returned and he is aiming for one more rally before retirement in a few years. Just a stone's throw away from his company there is a major national event (ESAF) set to take place in 2025. Röbi Hefti is on good terms with the organizers and expects orders. He is also at work on a new product that he plans to launch at the event. For this, he needs a UV printer. The last one, a hybrid printer from another manufacturer, he eliminated two years ago due to constant breakdowns, problems and high maintenance costs.

Following an overhaul, the 11-year-old swissQprint Impala flatbed printer is as good as new

The offer of a used Impala flatbed printer came at the right moment for him. swissQprint moved the Impala from its previous location to Mollis in spring 2023 and gave it an overhaul. “It’s in impeccable condition,” says Röbi Hefti, “and makes a good fit for us because I love versatility not just in a printer, but in general.”

The operator, Oliver Hüni, trained as a screen printer but has experience with other flatbed printers. He enthuses: “The Impala is so easy to use and very straightforward.” He is currently making first attempts at varnish finishes. “The swissQprint technicians gave me good instruction and they are always available if I have questions.”

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