Photobox boosts capacity with Epson investment

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Thursday 21 January 2016

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Photobox has invested in five Epson SureColor SC-S60600 wide-format printers to meet its ongoing increasing demand for personalised photo canvases.


PhotoBox will use the Epson SureColor SC-S60600s to print personalised photo canvases

The 1.62m (64in) machines were officially launched last week but the B2C personalised photo based printing company had been a beta test site for the new machine, five of which have been installed at its London premises since the end of November.

The machines have joined the existing fleet of 16 SureColor SC-S50600 printers in the same factory.

Photobox group technical innovation director James Lawrence-Jones said: “Since 2013 demand for photo canvases has grown by 70% year-on-year and we have expanded our production facilities to keep pace and deliver the very best quality and service to our customers.

“We wanted an ink-efficient printer that would deliver great quality at higher speeds and with maximum reliability and the SC-S60600 ticks all the boxes.”

He added: “Our manufacturing challenges are unusual because we have to be able to print, finish and despatch a large number of canvases on a day - over 12,000 individual canvases a day 24/7 at Christmas for example - and we have to rely on the very best production equipment to meet our high quality standards and tight deadlines.”

The SC-S60600, which has a list price of £15,495, uses Epson PrecisionCore permanent printheads in a dual CMYK configuration to deliver 1,440x1,440dpi resolution. The machine prints high-quality vinyl at 29.4sqm/hr, banners at 52.3sqm/hr and can print at up to 95.3sqm/hr for single-pass applications.

The machine’s media feeding system incorporates auto-tension control and wide-diameter pressure rollers to optimise grip and feed accuracy. As a result, operators can load a 45kg roll of media and leave it to print unattended.

“The SC-60600 offers improved print quality and we’ve been able to reduce the pass rate, which also helps to achieve improved print speeds. We’re running at around 18 to 20sqm per hour on the 60600, compared to 15-17sqm per hour on the 50600s,” said Lawrence-Jones.

“We’ve maintained great quality, no banding and can still provide photo quality images to our customers. The increased print speed also means that we’ve boosted our productivity by close to 20%.

He added: “The new automated maintenance feature is another benefit. It maximises printer uptime and frees up our operators to focus on other tasks to keep the print room running at peak efficiency.

“Plus, the new improved media loading means accurate media set up is easier and quicker - which allows for long run, unattended printing with the confidence that quality will be consistent across all the images.”

Photobox was launched in 2000 and the group now encompasses seven brands: Photobox, Hofmann, PaperShaker, Sticky9, posterjack, PosterXXL and Moonpig, which it acquired in 2011.

The group has a turnover of around £215m and employs around 1,000 people worldwide. Its five factories around the world turn digital photos into more than 600 different personalised products for 30 million members across 20 countries.

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