Chroma steps into flatbed printing with double install

Richard Stuart-Turner
Monday, May 24, 2021

Chroma has brought flatbed printing in-house for the first time with the installation of a Yotta Fr2513-R5 printer and a Sinajet DK2513 cutter.

Earl: "This machine will allow us to print on almost anything"
Earl: "This machine will allow us to print on almost anything"

Both machines were supplied by Service Offset Supplies (SOS) and installed at the Reading-based company’s site in February. They have joined two existing Roland DG roll-to-roll print and cut machines, which were also supplied by SOS and introduced Chroma to the wide-format market three years ago.

“These machines have been a big success for us. To date much of our work has required us to mount vinyl to materials such as graphic boards, foam PVC, or aluminium composite,” said Chroma operations director Justin Earl.

“So with an increasing workload it made sense for us to look at direct-to-media printing, which would allow us to cut out the mounting stage. We were also increasingly being asked to produce work that could only be done on a flatbed machine and we were keen to bring this in-house.”

Earl described the Yotta printer as “a competitively priced entry-level machine [that] seems to be quicker and more capable than the more expensive alternatives in its class”.

He added: “We did our research independently by visiting a Yotta user with our own test files and substrates, with the emphasis on speed and colour accuracy. Straight away we could see the quality and performance were more than up to the task.

“We chose the flexible ink option for the machine as we felt this would enable us to offer the broadest range of end products to our customers. Another feature we really like is the option to increase capacity in future by adding more printheads.

“Although we will mainly be producing rigid signs and point-of-sale, we are seeing more demand for packaging including high-end, short-run projects, which is why we also included spot varnish in the spec.

“One of the really exciting things is that this machine will allow us to print on almost anything – wood, leather, plastic, glass, PVC, MDF, metal, and more. We are even planning to print on table tops.”

Earl said the Sinajet cutter has enabled the business to save time, with jobs that Chroma previously cut by hand now completed “in minutes”.

“And with 180 tooling options it is extremely versatile. It will cut just about any shape. As well as the rigid signs it provides a viable alternative to traditional die-cutting for jobs such as packaging or folders,” he added.

“We have already seen new business coming in as a result of the installation. For instance, we just picked up a big order for cardboard pallet wraps which are printed on fluted board.

“Also we just produced all the signage for the cafes at Kew Gardens, direct to board, which we were able to turn around really quickly. We could not have done either of these jobs without the new machines.”

The circa-£125,000 kit investment coincided with a major expansion at Chroma, which doubled its floorspace to over 1,500sqm in February with the addition of a second adjacent leased unit. This now houses the company’s growing wide-format department and caters for its growing fulfilment offering.

Chroma also operates an RMGT (Ryobi) litho press and an HP Indigo 7900 digital press as well as a wide range of finishing kit including a Foliant Vega 400A laminator and Multi-functional Inprinting Unit, installed last year. It serves customers including B2B and corporate clients.

The 22-staff company has a current turnover of £2.4m, which has slightly reduced during the coronavirus pandemic. It is aiming to exceed its pre-pandemic turnover over the next year, with a target of £3m.

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