It’s been 21 years since the brothers Ash and Krit Patel set up their own printing company in Leicester.
Since then Printvision has grown so much that they’ve had to move to larger premises four times, most recently last December, to a new 1,300m² purpose-built factory as part of a £1.5m investment.
Over the years the company has offered all sorts of print work, but since 2000 it has increasingly specialised in large-format printing, for exhibition graphics, banners, flags, tents and such like. And since 2009 the company has concentrated on trade services.
Textile printing now forms a big part of the work, for applications such as light boxes and lightweight ‘hop-up’ exhibition displays as well as flags in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Last year managing director Ash Patel said that the growth in demand for flags in particular was driving the company’s expansion and move.
Printvision originally bought solvent and eco-solvent machines from HP and Epson and still uses some of these. A Canon Océ Arizona 360GT large-format UV-cured flatbed inkjet is used for rigid flat panel work. The company also offers other print services, such as commercial digital print on its own Xerox C75 toner printer as well as litho print, which is outsourced.
The current investment cycle has seen Printvision install an impressive range of large-format kit, including a 3.2m Mimaki UJV55-320 for UV-cured print on roll-to-roll media, and a 3.4m EFI Vutek FabriVu 340 dye-sublimation printer for textiles, plus a large-format Monti Antonio 901 roller calendering system to handle heat transfer of dye sublimation print onto polyester textiles.
The latest investment came last October when Printvision took delivery of its first digital flatbed cutter, a large format Dyss X9 3230C. It’s this Dyss model, made in South Korea and sold by AG/CAD, that we’re focusing on in this issue.
Patel says: “This is our first cutter, as we were outsourcing that work before, and it opens a lot of doors for us in terms of the kinds of jobs we can do, and how much time and money we can save.”
What’s a Dyss X9?
Dyss is a South Korean manufacturer whose full name translates as Dae Young System Company. It started out making screen process equipment in 1989 and then moved into the digital era with large-format inkjet printers in 2007 (the Apollo family), before introducing the first of its X-series digital cutters a year later in 2008.
The current cutters are the compact X5 (largely seen as a sample maker), the X7, with a range of sizes up to 3.2m wide, and the most advanced X9, with a similar size range but significantly faster.
The machines are distributed in the UK by AG/CAD, a UK company that also makes its own KM7 cutters (for samples and short runs) and develops the Kasemake packaging design and production software package to drive these.
AG/CAD first showed the X9 at Sign & Digital UK in 2017, which is where it caught Patel’s attention and he went for a demo. Printvision was the first in the UK to order the top model, the 3230C, with the largest 3.2m wide bed and a conveyor media transport (the ‘C’ in the 3230C model designation; fixed beds are ‘T’ for table). This lets it process rolls from its two 3m printers.
The X9 has the same size range as the X7 range, but with a new and “revolutionary” motion control system that gives more power and performance, according to Dyss, while retaining control and accuracy for fine details.
It can handle both knife cutting and routing of thicker materials, with registration aided by K-Cut vision control,
The Combo head has two tool slots, for knife, score, kiss-cut, creasing and V-cut tools. There is also a router spindle for cutting and shaping thicker solid media. The combination of tools lets Printvision handle vinyl self-adhesive, textiles including flags, display polyester and tent fabric, plus sheets of acrylic, Dibond, Correx and fluted corrugated board.
A roll feed and take-up system applies variable “dynamic” tension which is needed to avoid stretching textiles without creasing or wrinkles. The tension can also be altered quickly for other roll materials with a simple adjustment by the operator. A felt belt feed on the bed helps with pre-cut sheets and allows items that are slightly wider and considerably longer than the actual bed working area to be fed. There’s also a front pull-out collection device (that AG/CAD informally refers to internally as the ‘laundry basket’) to collect processed roll media as it is moved off the machine.
Why choose the Dyss?
“We saw the Dyss at Sign & Digital last year and had a demo there. After that we ordered it,” says Patel. “It was the quality of the cutting, as well as the costings, that were different to others such as Zünd. The Zünd cutters are quite expensive and we preferred the quality of the Dyss cutting on acrylics and Dibond.”
The installation was in October, so after a couple of months it was moved again as Printvision changed location. The installations went smoothly with no problems, says Patel. So far the only service callout has been because the cutter was accidentally set too deep and went through the felt transport bed.
Printvision’s investment plans haven’t finished yet. This year Patel intends to buy a second EFI Vutek FabriVu and is also considering another Vutek model he saw at last month’s Sign & Digital UK show.
How has it been in practise?
The Dyss X9 has performed well and is letting Printvision take on more complex cutting work, says Patel: “Now we can say ‘yes, we will do that,’ where before we may have thought because we didn’t have the facility or the machine to do it, we’d stay away.
“Now, if anyone sends us anything that can be cut on the Dyss, we won’t say no to them. We have the confidence that we can do that job in-house, at a reasonable price and make margin. Before if we were outsourcing, we were losing at least 30% to 35% of the margin.”
AG/CAD’s Kasemake software package can generate artwork files for printers as well as cutting profiles for the Dyss. This has particular relevance in this market because it includes a lot of pre-defined artwork and cutting templates, including many for the type of corrugated displays that Printvision can print and then cut and crease on the Dyss. The K-Cut Vision Pro package supplied by AG/CAD integrates the colour CCD vision system with Kasemake.
“We have Kasemake, but we’ve not been trained for it yet because we’ve been so busy,” says Patel. “They will train up to three people and that’s included in the cost, and it will also bring in heaps of ideas. It has a lot of pre-loaded templates for cutting and artwork, that we can promote and market to our clients.”
Looking to the future, Patel says: “We are looking to get a second [Vutek FabriVu]machine and to replace one of the smaller solvent machines with a much faster hybrid. We are also thinking of taking out the Mimaki, because we need speed. There are other things that can do it faster. We’ll make room. We’ll put some gazebos outside!”
As for the Dyss, he says that he would certainly buy it again, given the first six months’ experience. It’s doing what it was intended to, and he isn’t looking for additional features: “We’re happy with what we’re doing with it now and we don’t have time for anything else!”
Working areas 11 sizes from 1,350x2,550mm up to 3,250x3.050mm
Max sheet sizes From 1,350x3,090mm to 3,350x3,400mm
Machine dimensions 4.1x3.9m
Price For Dyss X9 3230C as configured for Printvision about £180,000
Contact AG/CAD 01606 863344 www.dyss-uk.com
Printvision was founded in 1997 by the brothers Ash and Krit Patel. Since then it has moved several times to larger premises, most recently in December 2017. Today the company concentrates on trade printing with a lot of emphasis on large-format printing, with a range of eco-solvent and UV roll-fed inkjets, a UV flatbed and a 3.2m dye-sublimation printer with matching heat calendaring roll system. Smaller-format printing is also handled with an in-house digital press, while litho work is outsourced. This year the company has taken on four new employees to bring the total to 24. Its most recent turnover was £2.5m, but Patel is confident that the expansion phase will allow it to reach £4m by the end of 2019.
What it was bought...
The company wanted to mechanise some work that was previously done by hand and bring some work in-house that had previously been outsourced. Managing director Ash Patel saw the Dyss at Sign & Digital UK in 2017 and was impressed by the quality of the cutting and lower cost of operation against some of the competitors.
How it has performed...
“What it has brought to the business is to open more doors, to a wider range of print solutions that we can manufacture,” says Patel. “We now do a lot more than we used to when we were cutting by hand or outsourcing. Speed and turnaround is one issue, and cost factors as well. It’s brought a lot to the company.”