Printdesigns has significantly increased its fabric printing capacity after investing around £250,000 in a new EFI printer that it said is “six to eight times faster” than its previous machine.
The Stone, Staffordshire-based wide-format specialist took delivery of the new EFI Vutek FabriVu 340 last week. The machine was supplied by CMYUK and training is taking place this week.
Printdesigns owner and managing director Mark Thompson said the main drivers for the investment were to boost capacity and reduce turnaround times.
“We bought our first fabric printing machine about four years ago and that was our entry into dye-sub printing. The soft signage market is something we recognised we needed to get involved with so we put in a 3.2 metre-wide Mimaki JV5 and a Monti Antonio heat press and we’ve had some good results with it.
“We’ve been producing lots of tubular fabric systems with stretch graphics, flags, and more recently we’ve gone into producing canopies for gazebos.
“We’ve also got lots of customers who are using traditional displays like roll-up banners but they like the look of the fabric graphics and the fact that they can recycle the prints when compared to traditional PVC graphics and the like.”
He added: “Demand for that kind of work has steadily increased and it’s got to the point now where the old machine is perhaps getting a bit long in the tooth.
“We wanted to invest in something with a bit more capacity so we can handle larger jobs that previously we’ve turned away in some instances. This new machine is probably six to eight times the speed of the JV5 in a normal production mode.”
The Vutek FabriVu 340 can reach speeds of up to 500sqm/hr with production image quality of 250sqm/hr and POS image quality at 165sqm/hr.
Thompson said the company looked at a range of alternatives but that the “mind-blowingly fast” EFI machine offered more “bang for buck”. The Mimaki JV5 that the firm has been using for fabric printing up to now will be sold on in a few weeks’ time after the new EFI is bedded in.
Printdesigns also operates a second solvent-based Mimaki JV5, a fleet of HP DesignJets, a Mimaki UJF small-format LED-UV inkjet flatbed printer, two Zünd cutters and a raft of other finishing kit.
The firm has 16 staff and turns over around £3m. Its customers range from end users and SMEs through to print management companies, charities and blue-chip clients.