IDL ColourLink has installed the UK's first EFI Vutek h5 superwide-format hybrid printer as it looks to ramp up growth.
The 3.2m-wide LED inkjet machine arrived at the Witham, Essex, plant at the start of this week and was fully installed and commissioned as of yesterday (23 May). Launched by EFI at Fespa 2018 in Berlin, the Vutek h5 represented a six-figure investment for IDL.
IDL is using the machine’s LED capabilities to print on to a wide range of vinyl, board and fabric substrates faster than it could before. The company serves a base of mid- to high-end retail and events clients, including pop-ups.
Production director Ben Power said: “We wanted to be the first with this one and I knew of a few other people eyeing it up. We have often been playing catch-up, but since we were acquired by the Matthews International Corporation in 2017, we have had more freedom to invest if we can make a case that something will be a positive step forward for the business.
“Now, the h5 allows us to run quicker turnaround times where we can react faster and reduce our overtime, it brings ink costs down massively and it also means that we can eliminate the non-conformance and wastage we were seeing on our older machines.
“It’s a big change for us, presenting a lot of new toys to play with, and will see us introduce shifts because we will be printing more, but we will still have to finish it. Our business is growing – this is an exciting time.”
The 10-channel EFI Vutek h5 prints at speeds up to 390sqm/hr at 1,200dpi using Ricoh Gen 5 heads.
At IDL ColourLink, it replaces one of two Vutek QS systems which will be sold on. The second will remain as support for the h5, but Power said the plan was to move all work onto the new arrival.
Further investment is likely across 2019, according to Power, with the addition of new staff and an a new cutter to join its two Zünd flatbed cutters and two Summa plotter cutters. IDL also runs three HP Latex printers and a Mimaki JV5 system for dye-sub work.
With a turnover of £3.5m, the firm employs 28 members of staff and also runs a creative design service that it will work to push further with clients in the near future.