Me & my: Agfa Jeti 3020 Titan
Monday, January 13, 2014
The challenge facing dads across the nation: just how – short of becoming chief executive of Buzzfeed or personal stylist to Rihanna – to impress notoriously hard to please teenage daughters. Lord knows sporting Lycra cycling gear and keeping an eagle eye on phone bills hasn’t, for some inexplicable reason, so far done the trick.
Luckily for Raffan West, joint managing director of corrugated board printers GarthWest, his line of work has in fact managed to impress his 15- and 18-year-old daughters. Though talk of ink heads, transport systems and corrugated board has no doubt failed in the past to spark much interest from the girls, a recent job printing POS stands for the latest Despicable Me 2 DVD has been a surprise hit.
“I think that’s the job I’ve done that my two girls have been most proud of!” says West, adding of the film’s irrepressible yellow tykes: “The girls are really into their ‘Minions’. My 18-year-old even has one strapped in with a seat belt in the back of her car!”
This last revelation may well have sent West’s cool rating plummeting once again in his 18-year-old’s eyes. But West’s pride in the job is nonetheless intact.
The stand was printed, he explains, on the company’s new Agfa Jeti 3020 Titan. Though kids across the nation may not know this is why the POS stand got them so excited about taking Minion antics home, the stand actually showcases top-notch wide-format print quality.
Indeed this was the reason for opting for the Jeti 3020 Titan back in May. With the Titan joining a Fujifilm Acuity machine and Inca Spyder printer, the firm was keen to boost it’s POS capacity even further.
The POS arm of what used to be a purely corrugated packaging plant when it was established in 1964, was something West decided should be expanded when he took over the business 18 years ago. Since then it has –along with a design service and the printed packaging offering – gone from strength to strength, counting a number of film companies and Disney, Sony Music, Boots and Penguin among its impressive client roster.
Growing capacity was of course key to installing the Titan. But so was maintaining, and perhaps even boosting, GarthWest’s reputation for quality.
“About four years ago we put in the Inca Spyder, a machine which gave us a big step forward in terms of quality and flexibility of substrates, but we were looking for a big improvement on quality and additional speed again,” says West.
The firm also looked at an HP machine and the Inca S40 when shopping for a new machine. But West was worried the company didn’t yet quite have the workload to merit the HP. And he decided that the six-colour, 48-head Agfa had the edge due to the ink being manufactured by Agfa rather than in partnership with another company.
“We just felt the quality build of the machine and the quality of the print of the Titan had the edge,” says West. “We have been impressed with Agfa and their knowledge of print and ink technology. Because Agfa are manufacturing the inks, controlling the development of the inks very much in-house along with the machine development, I think their knowledge and ink technology is extremely good.”
This contributes strongly to the quality of print the Titan can produce, feels West. It also, he reports, means the machine’s use of ink is highly efficient. “When you look at the dot size, the use of ink, the control of ink, the volume of ink usage for increased quality, it’s substantially less on Agfa against the other machines,” says West. “From that perspective the technology is really very good.”
He adds: “I do like their head technology, the dot control is one of their strong features – I think that’s quite important.”
Another feature which has impressed the team at GarthWest is the vacuum bed. “Another thing I like is that there is compartmentalised control of the vacuum on the bed, which makes loading the machine with blanks more straightforward than perhaps some of the other machines we’ve seen, as corrugated as a substrate has a tendency to warp,” says West.
Of the Titan’s other handy features, Agfa adds to the list the ability to print light cyan and light magenta, and to print more grey levels than before for smoother, more realistic skin tones. The machine also features an anti-static system, and Agfa points out that the dot accuracy so cherished by West is down to a redesigned frame featuring digital encoders and linear motors.
Of course none of this would be any good if the printer broke down every other job. But this has been far from the case; the Titan has proved very reliable, says West.
“From a perspective of down time and problems, there haven’t been any issues,” says West. “Installation went very smoothly and there is remote support with these machines. With such complex electronics that support is invaluable.”
Training has also been strong. Provided was three days on-site post installation for a maximum of four operators; RIP training and some even operational training for designers; and regular revisits from Agfa for training top-ups.
West’s only complaint has been regarding his next move. He was keen for this to be an Agfa flatbed inkjet M-Press Leopard or M-Press Tiger, but has been told production of these machines has been halted for the present time. As a result GarthWest may well follow Swanline’s example and go for an HP Scitex FB1000, says West.
“There is a very good HP machine that the guys at Swanline have put in recently. I haven’t seen that yet but Nick Kirby tells me he loves it,” he says. “That’s probably the next step up for us.”
For now, though, GarthWest is more than happy with its brand new, shiny Agfa Jeti 3020 Titan. “I wouldn’t say it’s kicked open lots of doors for us, but in terms of where GarthWest is in the POS market, it’s certainly helped us hold our position,” says West. “It’s given us extra capacity, improved our productivity and given us greater control of ink costs.”
He adds: “Customers have commented on the quality – they’ve seen a marked improvement, there’s no doubt about that.”
So while West’s teenage daughters may only be impressed with a certain select few of GarthWest’s POS projects, the high quality of the Titan’s prints is attracting many more fans.
With impressive dot control, ink efficiency, productivity and reliability, the Jeti 3020 Titan is, it turns out, anything but despicable or despised.
Max speed 226sqm/hr
Print resolution 1,200dpi
Max stock thickness 50mm
Printheads 16, 20, 32, 36, 40 or 48 Ricoh piezoelectric Generation 4 heads
Printing area Flatbed: 3.09x2m; rolls: 3.09m
Price £320,000 subject to specification
Contact Agfa Graphics 020 8231 4983 www.agfagraphics.com
Kingston upon Hull-based GarthWest was established in 1964 as a corrugated box plant and has now evolved to offer a wide range of packaging (converting more than 78m boxes per year), POS items, design services and also now holds the exclusive UK license for distribution, installation and maintenance of TECO automated tray erector machines. Established by current joint managing directors Raffan and Lindsay West’s father, the business now counts Disney, Sony Music, Boots and Penguin among its past customers.
Why it was purchased...
GarthWest installed an Agfa Jeti 3020 Titan in May this year to complement its Fuji Acuity and Inca Spyder. The aim was to boost POS production capacity and offer a higher quality print.
How it has performed...
The Titan has performed just as well as hoped, reports Raffan West. It has proved very reliable so far, he reports, and has impressed in terms of quality and efficiency of ink usage. “I wouldn’t say it’s kicked open lots of doors for us but in terms of where GarthWest is in the POS market, it’s certainly helped us hold our position. It’s given us extra capacity, improved our productivity and given us greater control of ink costs.”