Wide-format display printer Evolution Paint & Graphics has invested around £300,000 and installed an EFI Vutek GS3250lx Pro LED printer.
Replacing an outgoing four-year-old Canon Océ Arizona, the Northampton-based £5m-turnover firm took the 3.2m-wide hybrid roll-to-roll/flatbed machine around two months ago, in a bid to bring the majority of its grand-format work in-house.
In 2015, the 45-staff firm considered purchasing a Vutek but pulled out after striking an outsourcing deal with a neighbouring supplier, but Evolution managing director Andy Mycroft said that, having previously been outsourcing around £250,000 worth of work a year, the majority has now been brought in-house.
Mycroft said: “We had the Arizona before and it was brilliant, and we saw from the neighbours we contracted out to that the speed was just amazing really. So we would issue them with a hoarding job, 100 8x4m panels at 10am, and we’d get it back at lunchtime.
“I think we will save ourselves about £160,000 a year, so that machine will pay for itself within two years easily, but I suspect it might be a bit quicker than that, we’re able to do other things we couldn’t do in the past.”
The Vutek, which can print onto substrates up to 5cm thick and can print at speeds of up to 223sqm/hr at maximum 1,000dpi resolution, has a 7pl drop size. The LED device uses EFI’s cool cure technology and can print onto a wider range of substrates than previous models, including heat-sensitive materials.
Mycroft said: “Another great advantage of the Vutek is the inks can properly cure through any substrate we put them on. We’ve had some delaminating issues in the past but we haven’t seen any of that with the Vutek.
“It’s just the speed, quality and reliability really. We may have called EFI out once but that was probably operator error rather than machine.”
Running a number of HP Latex machines, Evolution also has wide-format finishing kit - with the Vutek connecting with a Dyss cutter - and it mainly produces work for housing developers, along with having a number of clients in the retail sector.