The new printer was installed in December, bringing the total number of HP Latex devices run by Surface Print to five: two existing 3000 models, the new 3600 and two 570s.
Founded almost 30 years ago, the luxury wallpaper manufacturer is based in Accrington and traditionally manufactured wallpaper using conventional methods with flexo, surface printing, grit, emboss, flock and bead finishing techniques.
Since expanding into digital printing in 2013 with its first HP Latex 3000, the business has been able to offer a greater choice with shorter runs, suiting today’s niche and designer wallpaper market.
More recently, a further development has been the rather clever idea of combining analogue processes with digital printing meaning that wallpaper can be printed using a traditional method and over-printed with digital details, or vice versa, enabling the business to hugely expand its creative capabilities and portfolio offering to both its commercial and its 1838 consumer brand.
Launched at Fespa 2017, the HP Latex 3600 is a 180sqm/hr 3.2m-wide device that can handle single rolls up to 300kg or two 200kg rolls with ink tanks up to 10 litres, enhancing its ability to run overnight.
"Our investment in HP digital technology has been consumer driven," said Surface Print business development manager, Jason Gilliat. "The demand for digitally printed products has grown at a rate nobody could have predicted."
"The machines have the ability to print on a variety of grounds - paper-backed fabric, grasscloth - all of which are very tactile, very textured, and create some truly beautiful products,” he added.
Son of company founder John Watson and now managing director, James Watson, said the ability to offer both print processes separately and combined encourages even greater creativity from clients.
"Designers love new materials,” Watson explained. “We'll make our customers aware of the new substrates available to them and they'll be sure to create some amazing designs. In turn, digital printing systems will become faster and better as designers push boundaries."
Surface Print launched its new 1838 range at Heimtextil in Frankfurt, Germany last week (7-10 January) where it showcased samples of its hybrid printing methods.
"The whole company is about wallpaper printing, wallpaper innovation, and creating beautiful products for your wall," Gilliat said. "So we always want to include the latest innovations to show off our talents."
He added: "The introduction of HP Latex into a traditional print factory was a challenging one but it was one which was embraced. It's changed things dramatically.
"To be able to combine processes - the traditional with the modern - there's no limit."