Large-format printer Universal Graphix has become the first UK company to install a Yotta YD-F3216R5 LED flatbed, its first foray into flatbed printing.
The Ely, Cambridgeshire-based company bought the machine from Mayday Graphic Products, in Bury St Edmunds, last week. It is one of only six Yottas installed in the UK and is the first with a bed of 3.2x1.6m.
Investment cost was undisclosed but Universal production director Mark Harrington highlighted its lower price point compared with similar machines on the market.
Harrington, who initially found out about the machine during a conversation with a friend at the gym, said the time had come to invest in flatbed technology due to a recent upsurge in construction site signage work.
“We were looking at all sorts of compromises and costs as well as the sheer size of machines and really the Yotta ticked all of the boxes,” he said.
“From the floor space it takes up, its cost - and I don’t think there’s a sacrifice in quality there - I think it’s as good as any of the others that we saw.
“We do a lot of construction site signage and there are certain elements of the business that we can’t compete with against people that already do direct-to-media. We maintain our existing customers but now move into a different marketplace where boards are cheaper and hopefully that will turn into getting that work as well as more.”
Harrington also praised Mayday Graphics along with Rayleigh, Essex-based Repro Sales & Repairs (RSR), who provided installation and service support to the four-staff firm that also runs an Epson eco-solvent machine, an HP Latex and a range of plotters and laminators.
He said: “The guys from RSR have been amazing. We’ve only had it a few days but now she’s in production doing everything that she should do and we’re tweaking it to get it to go quicker through software and setup, with help from RSR, ensuring we can maintain quality at high speeds.”
Using Ricoh Gen5 industrial printheads, the eight-colour (CMYK plus light cyan, light magenta and two whites) Yotta runs at speeds of up to 38sqm/hr in four-pass mode and takes rigid and flexible materials at up to 100mm in thickness. It's manufactured by Shenzhen Yueda Printing Technology Co in China.
Mayday managing director Jim Fox said he was pleased with the first install of the machine that his firm took on for distrubtion earlier this year and that Universal had not sacrificed quality or speed.
“They are over the moon,” he added.