Seven smart investments that won’t break the bank

Jo Francis
Monday, May 18, 2015

We’ve put aside the big ticket items and six- or seven-figure budgets in order to take a look at some wide-format ‘bargain buys’ – useful pieces of equipment or software that cost less than £10,000.

1SummaCut D160 vinyl cutter

“This is our most popular cutter,” says Perfect Colours sales director Jon Telling. “Summa is best known for longevity and quality, and this cutter works forever with no problems.”

The SummaCut D160 handles media from 180mm to 1.6m in width with a maximum cutting area of 1.6x50m. Cutting speed is up to 1.1m/sec. Clever features include the Opos X contour alignment system for high-precision cutting registration, and Summa’s OptiCut function that simulates tangential cutting and compensates for blade changes caused over time by wear and tear. As well as die-cutting vinyl it also handles tricky materials such as mirror and holographic substrates. Designs can also be cut through completely, or partially with a tear-off line, using Summa’s FlexCut feature which retains the integrity of the material as it passes through the cutter. 

Price £4,500, including three-year warranty

Contact Perfect Colours 0845 004 6905

2Mimaki CJV150-75

Hurry, this promotional deal on Mimaki’s new CJV150-75 eco-solvent printer-cutter runs until the end of July. The all-in-one device can handle media up to 800mm in width, and is billed as being ideal for a wide variety of tasks – everything from signage to vehicle graphics and POS displays.

mimaki-cjv150-75In addition, its die-cutting feature means users can also turn their hand to work such as stickers and labels, an area where the printer’s metallic and white ink capability is also likely to find favour. “The CJV150-75 not only represents great value for money, but delivers a really powerful tool for firms looking to get the most out of a value-rich bit of kit, thanks to the broad range of applications it can produce,” says John de la Roche, national sales manager at Mimaki’s UK distributor Hybrid Services. 

Four-colour output speed ranges from 5.6-56.2m2/hr, depending on resolution and number of passes, and the top resolution is 1,440dpi. 

Price (until the end of July) £6,995 including two-year ‘gold’ warranty and starter ink pack

Contact Hybrid Services 01270 501900

3CMA Imaging ColorCloud

CMA has brought its know-how gained from years serving the high-end proofing market into the wide-format arena, with this cloud-based colour management tool. All users need to use it, says CMA is “a web browser and a spectrophotometer”.

colorcloud-cma-imagingColorCloud works on a pay-per-profile model, with individual device profiles costing €250 (£187). There’s also an annual licence option for large multi-site organisations that need access to an unlimited number of profiles. Through the use of under colour removal techniques, the system also promises ink and toner savings. But the main benefit is the ability to guarantee worldwide colour consistency, and for the sort of reprint where, say, a single panel in a wide-format job can be reprinted without having to re-do the entire job. “It’s a really powerful tool,” says Mark Sanderson, CMA Imaging managing director of global sales. “The feedback from high-end brands is ‘we need this’.”

Price €250 (£187) per device profile

Contact CMA Imaging 01256 351985

4Keencut Evolution E2

Keencut’s cutting machines are designed and manufactured in the UK. The Evolution E2 is the Corby firm’s top-of-the-range, all-singing, all-dancing cutter bar. Designed for large-format printers who want to cut high-precision panels for applications such as pop-up displays, the bar handles flexible materials as well as large-rigid boards such as foamboard.

keencut-evolutionIt’s also designed with practicality in mind – once installed, the cutting part of the bench-mounted device hinges down under the bench, freeing up valuable bench space when it’s not in use. Available in widths from 1.6m to 3.6m, it can also cut textiles. “With the advent of textiles, our Evolution model comes as standard with a blade to cold-cut textiles, and a plastic insert cuts on a second integrated track,” explains Keencut director Emma Lockwood. “It has a double-tool cutting head so users can switch blade height and cutting direction, allowing them to whip through their cutting applications that much quicker.” An optional hot-cut accessory also allows users to mount their own hot knife for textile cutting, if required. Lockwood says the range has been designed to be as user-friendly as possible. 

Price 2.6m wide model £907; £1,144 for 3.6m grand-format model

Contact Keencut 01536 263158

5Epson SureColor SC-S30600

Just squeaking into our price bracket at £9,995, Epson’s SC-S30600 can print onto a wide variety of substrates up to 1.62m in width. 

The printer uses Epson’s Micro Piezo TFP (thin-film piezo) printheads and odourless UltraChrome GS2 inks – so it can be used in an office environment if necessary.

epson-surecolor-sc-s30600Print speed varies from 7.3-29m2/hr depending on print mode, and it’s billed as being suitable for everything from photographic paper and vinyl to canvas and banner substrates, making it a popular all-rounder, says Epson Europe head of Pro Graphics Duncan Ferguson. “It’s eco-solvent but shares some of the ink pigment technology with our aqueous ink, so even with just four-colours it produces very good photo-visual colour.” Ferguson describes it as “multi-application, and affordable – you’re not breaking the bank to buy it”. With more than 1,000 installed across Europe the SC-S30600 has found favour with users from sign and copy shops to commercial printers. 

Price £9,995 including a full set of inks and two-year warranty

Contact Epson 0871 423 7766 

6GMG ColorServer bundle

This colour management solution targeted at the wide-format market includes GMG’s ColorServer and SmartProfiler software. Used in conjunction with a suitable spectrophotometer, users are able to calibrate output devices and create their own profiles for different substrates.

colorserver-smartprofilerGMG cites benefits including consistent colour regardless of the printer being used, or the substrate being printed on. It’s also possible to create wide-format prints that are a visual match for offset printing. Bryan Shirley, managing director at Rotherham-based sign and display specialist Bluetree Design & Print, says the package has had “a big impact” on the business, by reliably automating pre-press tasks prior to ripping. 

Price £5,995 for up to 10 workflows, £7,490 for more than 10 workflows

Contact GMG 01603 789111

7On-A-Roll Lifter

This nifty device allows a single operator to safely handle rolls up to 5m wide and weighing up to 400kg – safely being the operative word, given the health and safety issues around avoiding back pain in the workplace. “Wave goodbye to dollies, pallet jacks and sore backs,” says UK distributor Ultraflex Europe.

on-a-roll-lifterThe 61572 model features a low-profile ride height of 90mm, which means it will fit under all existing large-format devices when delivering rolls to the printer. It is simple to operate and easy to manouever in tight spaces, thanks to heavy-duty casters that rotate through 360°. Nylon straps are used to pull rolls into the securing tray, and another important feature is that it reduces the likelihood of damage to expensive media while moving it around the factory. 

Price £1,595

Contact Ultraflex Europe 01767 677100 


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