HQ Graphics invests £680k in new equipment

Simon Nias
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

HQ Graphics, the large format printing division of Harlequin Display Group, has invested £680,000 in an array of wide-format print and finishing equipment.

The spend includes an Esko Kongsberg XP24 cutting table, an Mtex 1800 dye-sub printer and an EFI Vutek GS3250LX Pro LED UV-curing printer, which replaces an old Vutek QS2000.

All three machines were installed at HQ Graphic's Hatfield facility at the beginning of the month in order to meet rising demand for fast turnaround retail work.

Chris Reynolds, managing director of HQ Graphics, said: "A large majority of our business is in window displays and in the last year or so we've seen turnaround times coming down and down for the retail market.

"Our average lead time used to be anything from 5-10 days but we're literally turning jobs around in 24 hours now and having the GS and the XP side-by-side means we can turn jobs around much faster now."

Like the QS2000 it replaces, the GS3250LX Pro has a white ink capability; however, its maximum print speed of 120sqm/hr massively outstrips its predecessor, which Reynolds said ran at around 15-20sqm/hr.

He added: "With the LED curing, it is one of the fastest machines in the industry [and] having the three 3.2m machines puts us in an excellent position to supply top quality products with a very short lead time.

"The Kongsberg XP24 is also a vital piece of kit in terms of keeping up with the new Vutek. We've twinned the two machines, so the boards will come off one and go straight on the other – it’s a full dedicated digital production line."

Reynolds said that any fast turnaround jobs would now go straight on the GS3250LX, which will also be used for any long run jobs. Meanwhile, the Mtex 1800 will cater for the growing market for printing fabric stretch displays and backdrops for the retail market.

"This product was previously only a small part of the business but it is something we are getting more and more requests for as it's a very cost-effective media and it's easily installed by retail staff," said Reynolds.

"We've taken the decision to take this product into our range and promote it to our clients with the aim of doubling our sales in this area over the next year."

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