PressOn has boosted its capacity after investing around £250,000 in an HP Latex R2000 hybrid production printer.
Supplied by reseller Papergraphics and installed at the Chatham, Kent-based firm’s 930sqm premises last month, the R2000 is running alongside a Latex 3600, which went in last September, a Latex 3500, two Latex 570s and an EFI Vutek QS2 Pro, which will be retained for now but may be moved on at a later date.
The 2.5m-wide R2000, which was launched at Fespa last year, is HP’s first hybrid to use Latex technology. It is designed to print at a lower temperature in order to allow for a wider choice of media, and a fluid overcoat has been added to the inks for improved scratch resistance.
The system uses HP’s Latex White ink, designed as a "true, glossy white" that maintains its colour over time without yellowing. An offline rotation chamber is included to prevent waste when inks are not being used during jobs.
It also has a 14-zone vacuum belt and prints at up to 88sqm/hr on media up to 50mm thick and runs an automated optical system to correct for movement.
“We went for the Latex primarily because we know that the Latex platform is sustainable, HP are still investing in it and it’s an ongoing technology that we can expect to work with over time,” said PressOn joint managing director Andy Wilson.
“We got to a point where we were really busy and getting to capacity. Our Vutek is five years old and hadn’t quite stepped up to the mark a couple of times recently. It’s a perfectly good machine but our dependence on it with the volume of work we had at that time of year meant that we needed to reinvest.”
He added: “We have looked at various UV alternatives over the last couple of years but, while the quality and speed is certainly there on them, we’re getting a lot of questions now about environmental credibility. Fire ratings are particularly challenging at the minute and UV ink can often cause us a problem to get around that.
“But the fire testing that we have done for some of our materials on the water-based Latex has come out quite well quite quickly. We also haven’t got the huge extraction for the fumes from UV ink, so it certainly makes for a more pleasant working environment.”
Wilson described the white ink capability as “really exceptional, even compared to machines twice its price”.
“This also swayed our decision. We do a lot of spot white and white backup, particularly on window films for refurbs and offices,” he said.
“We’ve already used the Latex to do a Dibond hoarding, vehicle graphics, clear film, acrylic and card. We’re throwing everything at it and it has certainly stepped up. The print quality and the colour gamut are remarkable, so it has slotted in nicely.”
Established in 2000, PressOn has a turnover in excess of £3m. The business relocated from Rochester to its current Chatham premises in 2015.