Vehicle livery and signmaking specialist Allen Signs has invested £100,000 in an EFI H1625 LED flatbed printer to broaden its range of services.
The device, which was ordered on Christmas Eve, was installed in the second week of January and has enabled the business to expand the sorts of materials it can work with.
The EFI H1625 can print onto substrates up to 5cm thick and 1.65m wide including wood, glass, plastics, textiles, hardboard and MDF.
According to Allen Sign's managing director David Allen, the company and subsidiary Double Red Print, which Allen acquired in July 2015, saw the EFI as a more flexible, cost-effective and efficient alternative to its previous “labour-intensive” manual processes.
Allen said the device had opened up opportunities in new markets such as estate agents' signs, POS and window graphics.
“We’ve been able to bring some of the work that we previously traded out, in, which has given us a bit of a competitive advantage. We can also get more through it because it is a lot quicker than the other process so our turnaround times have improved on these products,” he said.
“We’ve landed work with one customer who we never managed to do anything with. They used to use another large company out of town but within 24 hours of going public with our new machine we started to see some enquiries coming through,” added Allen.
“We liked having roll-fed as well as rigid capability on one machine along with the white ink all being in-built. We also liked the way the machine is engineered. It’s a solid piece of equipment,” he added.
CMYUK, who supplied the device, was also a factor in the decision, according to Allen.
“I got on really well with CMYUK. We found that they were a good fit for us. Everything about it felt like the right place to go," he explained.
Allen said the company, which is headquartered in Lincoln and has an office in Nottingham, has further investment plans in the “not too distant future”.
“We are going to be looking for a cutter to go with the EFI. We’ve identified a system that we’re going to have a look at and hopefully that will take us further into the point-of-sale market as well."
Allen Signs has a turnover of around £1.1m and currently employs 16 staff.