Fine Cut has become the first UK business to install SwissQprint’s Impala LED printer.
The Fespa-launched machine, which was supplied by SwissQprint’s exclusive UK distributor Spandex, was installed in October.
The 2.5x2m device is configured for six colours – CMYK, light cyan and light magenta (plus white, primer and varnish) – and cost the company around £260,000.
The Lancing, West Sussex-based speciality printer said it would use the machine, which can print at up to 180sqm/hr, to produce a broad range of precision industrial applications for clients in the medical, automotive, marine and agricultural sectors, as well as more conventional signage and graphics work.
The device has replaced an existing SwissQprint Impala UV printer, which had been in service since early 2012 when the company first moved into large-format printing. The firm said the opportunity to transition to LED curing was the primary driver for its decision to upgrade.
Fine Cut digital print manager Simon Tourle said: “While the original Impala exceeded all our expectations of digital output quality, UV curing still presented limitations for high precision work on more challenging substrates, due to the media distortion caused by the high temperature curing process.”
The new machine is running non-stop for eight to nine hours a day, with split shifts when necessary to cope with volume peaks.
“The Impala LED has delivered a noticeable step up in speed, thanks to acceleration of the printing process itself and the LED curing, which removes the need for warm-up and cool-down cycles between jobs. Our flatbed productivity has more than doubled,” said Tourle.
The firm said the output quality from the Impala LED has enabled it to achieve photographic quality prints on virtually any substrate, including many that were historically screen printed.
Spandex UK SwissQprint and Zünd sales manager Stephen Pridham said: “The LED gives Fine Cut a lot of performance improvements in terms of operational speed and minimal heat.
“The curing power also gives some more registration control and a sharper print – although technically it is the same resolution as the Impala UV, it looks about a third sharper than it did before because we’re pinning the drops a lot quicker.
“And there’s a 50% drop in power usage overall, for the whole system, which is quite a saving in terms of the operational costs.”