Luke Roberts (Left), and Michael Brighty, directors at Onward Display.
Onward Display has upgraded its in-house soft signage and textile printing capabilities with the investment of an EFI Pro 30h UV LED 3.2m wide hybrid printer from CMYUK.
The new printer has been installed at Onward Display’s premises at The Business Design Centre (BDC) in Islington, where it has been the long-time preferred signage and print partner. A general creative wide-format print business since 2003, Onward Display also has print facilities in Berwick Street Soho, and the Docklands, close to ExCeL, the Capital’s international exhibition and convention centre.
It was one of the first companies in the UK to invest in a Canon Colorado 1650 and now has three installed at each of its London locations alongside flatbed printers and digital cutting tables.
The business has its own in-house design studio that can develop tailored event branding from scratch or delivery from pre-existing ideas and guidelines. What’s unusual though, is that Onward Display does not have a sales team and neither does it advertise, relying exclusively on word-of-mouth recommendation.
Initially with its activity in Soho, the business serviced the retail sector, and while it still does, exhibition and events work now account for 70% of its output.
Increasingly soft signage has become the premium solution for exhibition graphics and events. This is because single piece printed textiles tensioned onto modular displays or lightboxes not only elevate the general aesthetic but also offer a greener solution with PVC-free and end-of-life recycled options. The use of textiles has also heavily impacted installation logistics for the better. Polyester-based display signage is light and easy to transport, significantly less prone to damage than traditional counterparts, as well as being much easier to store.
With a desire to offer its customer base the numerous advantages afforded by the new generation of soft signage and textile printers the Onward Display senior management team visited FESPA earlier this year to see what was on offer.
“When we saw the EFI Pro 30h we were blown away by it. We put a number of important samples through it and the results were excellent. The fact that this is a hybrid model means it covers two printing jobs, which is very appealing. We already have two flatbeds at our BDC premises, but if one goes down, we’ve now got the new printer. However, with the EFI Pro 30h being way faster than our existing flatbeds, we’re currently migrating as much work as we can through it,” says Luke Roberts, Director, Onward Display.
The EFI Pro 30h, fast and efficient
The EFI Pro 30h is a highly versatile printer, offering both rigid and roll-roll printing in one unit. With output of up to 230 sq. m per hr and with Continuous Board Printing as standard, it allows users to fully utilise maximum production speeds with large boards or multiple smaller ones. Intense productivity defines this printer with change-over from rigid to flexible being quick and easy, while dual roll printing further accentuates its efficiencies.
“Yesterday, we were printing out some canvasses for clients and usually with our old printer, it would have taken most of the day. On the Pro 30h, it took about an hour, which makes you realise how much more work we can take on,” says Luke.
The Pro 30h also comes with two channels of white ink as standard for high-value prints. EFI’s white is recognised for its brightness and opacity and can be imaged like any other colour in greyscale up to 1200dpi and using multi-layered printing with up to 5 layers in a single pass.
Low running costs
Room temperature UV LED curing offers a number of benefits such as expanding the range of supported substrates including lower-cost and value-added specialty media. It also helps to reduce running costs. Cool LED lamps significantly drive down operating costs thanks to significantly less energy consumption (1.8kW as compared to 10kkW attributed to Mercury lamp usage). Instant on/off, less maintenance and fewer consumable parts also support the lower cost of usage.
“The savings we’re making on our electricity bill are mad. With the 30h being a cool LED printer, we’re using much less power to run the same job. It’s perhaps not a sexy headline but over the course of the year, the energy savings are significant. With the speed, automation, colour consistency, there is also so much less waste, which again saves money,” says Luke.
With the business’ previous printer, head strikes were a fairly frequent occurrence. However, the Pro 30h features a six-zone user-selectable vacuum bed that creates a stable and flat surface for printing materials, preventing them from shifting or moving during the printing process. With stable hold-down, misalignment and image distortion is reduced leading to improved print quality and colour vibrancy. In addition, a redirect roll bar keeps 3.2m wide textile materials flat and wrinkle free when advancing through the printer, both of which, keep printhead damage to the absolute minimum.
For Onward Display, working with CMYUK has been a very positive experience.
Says Luke, “We’re very familiar with CMYUK as a company. The post sales and training we received were excellent, and we know if we have any issues they’re right there at the end of the phone.
“Having the Pro 30h has transformed our capacity and turnaround times, our workflow has improved, and overtime has all but been eliminated. Going forward, the impact on the business will be immense.”
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