Wakefield-based printer Hippoprint has invested around £25,000 in the UK's first Mimaki JV400-160SUV as part of a rolling kit investment programme.
The web-to-print business is looking to expand its existing plant list, which includes HP machines and a raft of Konica Minolta printers as well as Morgana finishing equipment, with new kit from Mimaki.
As a result, Hippoprint owner Anthony Wood got an early look at Mimaki's new JV400-160SUV on a visit to Mimaki distributor Hybrid Services' showroom with reseller Granthams.
The 1.6m-wide printer, which was unveiled at Fespa in May, had just arrived at the showroom and Wood ordered one on the spot. It was installed at the Wakefield, which produces which everything from leaflets and forms to stickers, pull-up banners and t-shirts, site two weeks ago.
"Hybrid did a fantastic job at the install and so far the results are excellent – better than I expected even. I thought we would have some bedding-in issues, but it has been absolutely fine," said Wood.
"We considered a latex printer but this is more in keeping with the results of our other machines. It gives great scratch resistance but it also has a very nice sheen to it, it’s so vibrant. Also the instant drying and UV curing is vital for what we do," he added.
"Being the first company in the UK to install a JV400-160SUV means we stay at the forefront of the rapid-turnaround sector. We need the capability to instantly finish prints and get them to our customers the next day. It's our USP and we can't afford to let that slip."
The new machine replaces an exiting HP5000, which Wood said would remain on site as back-up.
The JV400-SUV is a water-based solvent printer that is said to combine the flexibility of a solvent printer with the durability of UV-cured inks.
"We frequently supply high-colour posters and pull-up banners with large ink loads but it can be a real challenge to finish them the same day as they're printed," said Wood. "The SUV means we can print and send within a matter of minutes and with 95% of our orders coming late in the day, it takes a little bit of the pressure off."
He added that the business planned to invest around £175,000 over the next year in more Mimaki equipment and a raft of new finishing machines to cope with the additional output.
Hippoprint was formed by Wood in 2009 and now employs more than 20 staff, with additional recruitment planned for the new year.