Managing Director, Seath Herbert (R) and Production Director, Pete Yeo, Artworks Solutions
New hybrid printer follows hot on the heels of an ESKO X24 digital cutter
Bristol-based Artwork Solutions has taken delivery of an EFI VUTEk 32h super-wide UV LED hybrid printer. Replacing an EFI VUTEk GS 3250LX, the 32h represents the fourth generation of EFI VUTEK printer technology purchased from CMYUK in a partnership that has spanned a dozen years.
While Artwork Solutions evaluated competitors’ machines, the decision to buy the 32h was an easy choice, according to Artworks Solutions Managing Director, Seath Herbert,
“The EFI VUTEk 32h absolutely ticks all the boxes,” he says. “In terms of space, quality, capacity, and price point, it just works. EFI equipment is what our operators know and love. Training requirements for us are minimal because we’re swopping almost like for like in operational terms. We didn’t have to factor in training needs, and the decrease in downtime when the printer was installed has been minimal. It’s been an easy transition, and we’ve been particularly impressed by the ease of maintenance.”
The formidable duo of the h32 and the ESKO Edge X has turbocharged the company’s existing printing and finishing capabilities. This underpinned by an enviable in-house design resource has placed Artwork Solutions in good stead, strong, and ready to face the challenges of today and the future.
Versatility and reliability
One of Artwork Solution’s key markets is high-end corporate interiors, which demands short to medium run throughput. The nature of this work requires frequent materials and substrates changes, which this printer handles effortlessly. The 32h allows the company “to really get into the body of the machine,” says Seath, and this accessibility allows the operators to maintain the printer to a far deeper level themselves, ensuring continued printer health and superb performance.
“We work our machines pretty hard,” says Seath. “We usually work from 6 in the morning to ten at night. We don't do large runs, and therefore we're constantly changing media so our printers get a fair bit of wear and tear, the 32h takes all this in its stride. You know you’re getting a quality workhorse that also delivers on reliability.”
The ESKO EDGE X
The installation of this super wide hybrid follows hot on the heels of an ESKO X24 digital cutter installed by CMYUK in March.
In the months prior to Lockdown, Artworks Solutions had launched several acoustic products, all of which attracted greater creative treatments and therefore, required longer finishing times.
The ESKO X Edge was purchased to support the company’s existing Zund cutter with finishing throughput. The ESKO X Edge is a new, fully upgradeable table design that offers the combination of productivity, flexibility, and best in class reliability. With a wide selection of tooling options available, it can handle vinyl through to heavy-duty milling and everything in between.
“We were finding a serious pinch point in our throughput and realised we had a weakness that was really starting to make things difficult,” says Seath. “We looked closely at both Zund and ESKO as options, but when we spec’d the machines, ran through their capabilities and had the demos, the ESKO won hands down. It’s a great machine that really delivers at a very attractive price point.”
While Artworks Solutions has a reputation for corporate interiors, the directors have always positioned the business to operate in multiple markets including construction, sports and hospitality, education, banking and the Public Sector. Clients include Liverpool Football Club, WeWork, PepsiCo, Reckitt Benkiser and the Environment Agency.
Lockdown initially presented a challenge, with some clients pausing activity. However, like many other forward-thinking companies in the industry, Artworks used the early business shortfall to develop a series of sympathetic design-led safety messaging solutions to help its clients get employees back into the workplace.
“They were informative rather than alarmist, and in keeping with the branding and interiors of corporate headquarters,” says Seath.
Artworks Solutions also worked closely with corporate fit-out and interior design partners to waysign corporate buildings. “We had to work out the high traffic areas where you have issues with staff build up and identify what desks could be used, design one-way systems, create protocols for kitchens, meeting rooms, and display everything in a considered light,” says Seath.
New ways of working
Artworks Solutions has traditionally been a word-of-mouth, face-to-face business, winning new work by reputation, and gaining additional clients as contacts have moved to new companies but continuing the existing working relationship.
“Pre-COVID, our account directors would spend a lot of time dropping into clients’ offices, and would always come away with unexpected orders because of their presence, and the fact that they were always in and amongst them,” says Seath.
Lockdown completely changed this, with many clients working from home and hesitant to engage in physical meetings. As a result the company has switched its focus to digital communications, targeting customers with appropriate information and fitting case studies for example, and energising its social media activity.
“With focused digital marketing we picked up a number of new clients utilising our in-house design service, rapid production and installation teams,” says Seath.
Artworks Solutions is also set to launch a new website in mid November where it will also unveil refreshed branding.
“Digital marketing will continue to be an important strategy for us moving forward. The guys however are just chomping at the bit to get back to face-to-face, but then new restrictions come in and scupper that. The corporate interiors industry is very sociable, there’s always a client or supplier event every week, which are valuable opportunities to network. We’ll be proceeding with both avenues but we’re definitely going to be investing heavily in the digital marketing side of things,” he says.
Onwards and upwards
At the beginning of Lockdown a number of Artwork Solutions’ clients put their projects on hold. Six months or so later, the company is busy, and has not experienced a significant drop in its order book for the last quarter of the year.
“2020 will go down as our most challenging year, we have met the issues head on whilst guiding the business through unchartered territory,” says Seath.
“Our core client base is showing signs of recovery. We are looking forward to putting our new acquisitions through their paces, seeing the equipment fully operational and producing the high quality output that our clients demand.”
EFI VUTEk 32h | JWEI Cutting tables | News