Impact Retail in wide-format world first

Jo Francis
Friday, April 23, 2021

Impact Retail has brought production in-house with an Onset X1 HS – becoming the world’s first user of the new model in the process.

Allen: Onset X1 HS is a "game-changer" for the business
Allen: Onset X1 HS is a "game-changer" for the business

The Leicester business had originally planned to install an Inca Onset X1 from Fujifilm in the spring of last year, but its plans were delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“We went live in July instead, and we’d been speaking to them about being a beta tester for the X1 HS,” explained Impact Retail commercial director Nic O’Donovan.

“It was then upgraded and recommissioned – it’s an impressive piece of kit.”

Print manager Westley Allen said the firm was open to exploring the potential of robotics used on the HS (High Speed) model to boost throughput speeds.

“It already ran fast, but we felt that if we could produce the same quality print even faster, we were looking at a game-changer,” he said. 

“Seeing it in action, we were immediately impressed. The automatic unloading of substrates greatly reduces set up times and the versatility in terms of media the robotics can handle is very impressive.”

He said the business was printing double the volumes it had initially expected to produce. 

The 76-employee, £11m-turnover firm took on two new staff to run the Onset, which is running on 12-hour shifts. 

The circa-£1m investment was the company’s biggest ever capex spend. 

Impact Retail can now produce around 80% of work in-house, but still outsources some specialist print work and uses external partners when additional capacity is required at peak periods. 

“The Onset gives us better control over quality, standardisation and lead times – those are the biggest wins for us,” O’Donovan added. 

He said that the pandemic had resulted in a “pretty challenging” time in retail, but the business was now back to about 80% of pre-Covid capacity levels. 

“Projects that were on hold are getting back up and running now,” he added.

Impact Retail’s services include retail strategy, design and production including temporary, semi-permanent and permanent displays. Customers include Boots, Superdrug, Harvey Nichols, Harrods and Dermalogica.

Fujifilm Graphic Systems Europe business manager Kevin Jenner commented: “Impact Retail’s customers are luxury brands who demand high quality products and prompt, reliable delivery. We’re delighted the Onset X1 HS has given them the flexibility to improve their level of service by transforming their business so fundamentally. We look forward to a long working relationship with them.”

Inca Digital launched the Onset X2 and X3 HS models in 2019, and has now added the option for the X1 model. Fujifilm is the exclusive sales channel for the devices.

Matt Brooks, head of products and solutions at Inca Digital, said Impact Retail was “the perfect match for us as a partner and an early adopter of the new technology”.

The Onset X UV multi-pass flatbed series is designed with a scalable platform that can be upgraded. It uses Fujifilm’s Uvijet low migration, low odour and high adhesion inks. The maximum media size is 3.22x1.6m, and it can handle substrates up to 18mm thick automatically, or up to 50mm manually.

The Onset X could run at up to 420sqm/hour, with the HS model increasing that to 600sqm/hour. 


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