Star Product: Dufaylite Ultra Board

Jon Severs
Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Brighter and less prone to fading than its predecessors, this honeycomb substrate is being tipped as a real alternative to foam board

What is it?
Ultra Board is a lightweight 100% recyclable honeycomb board sourced from FSC-certified forests in the UK. It conforms to ISO9706 requirements for permanence and is increasingly used as an alternative to Foamboard and rigid PVC.

When was it launched?
The original Dufaylite Ultra Board was launched in 2005 and at the end of last year this version was released in the UK. It was intended to be sold alongside the existing product, but that has now been phased out and the new version is now the only Dufaylite Ultra Board product available.

Who is it aimed at?
Target sectors for the product are retail, particularly for display and POS, the exhibition industry and the signage market. All are currently using the material as an indoor solution.  

Why the new version?
Tony Moscrop, chief executive of Dufaylite, explains that the market demanded a new version that was white all the way through, rather than white with a brown backing. "Printers were demanding a brighter and more permanent white, so as to give a more striking print image," he explains. "The previous Ultra Board was duller and it had a tendency to fade in whiteness, so it yellowed slightly." The latest product has rectified this problem, measuring 65% whiter and 25% brighter than its predecessor.

What’s its USP?
The real point of sale here is the product’s sustainability credentials. The previous version was sourced in Sweden but supply has now been shifted to a UK company, with paper sourced from FSC-certified forests. This has obviously cut a lot of carbon miles out of the process. The real benefit of the board, however, is its recyclability. Moscrop explains that Ultra Board is a single material product and can be recycled easily within the normal cardboard recycling channels retailers already have set up. With alternative substrates foam board and rigid PVC, he says, things are not as simple. Foam board, for example, is a composite material and separating the different substrates is difficult. Hence, foam board, along with rigid PVC, tends to go to landfill. "Having this recyclable alternative is proving popular with retailers demanding better sustainability credentials from their print suppliers," adds Moscrop. "In the signage sector, this is also starting to catch on because their customers are also now demanding more sustainable materials."

What sort of kit is it being used on?
The substrate can work across a range of equipment. "We know it is currently being used on the massive HP FB7500 and the Inca Onset range, and that it works well on the Vutek machines," says Moscrop.

How does supply work?
"We have a policy in the UK of supplying direct, as it is an innovative and sustainable product so we need to carefully manage the supply chain," explains Moscrop. The company cuts, prints and engineers the board itself at its Cambridgeshire site, and advises clients of the best methods of using the board on their equipment.

What’s the printability like?
Moscrop says the product works in exactly the same way as foam board, so for printers transition to this new material is seamless from this point of view.   

What sizes are available?
The product is available in 6mm, 10mm and 18mm thicknesses, with card edging available for all sizes. Widths can be any size up to 1,500mm and lengths can be bespoke, though standard measurements are 2,400mm and 3,000mm. "We provide a full cutting service for a lot of the products we do," says Moscrop. "One of the beauties of having the process here in the UK is that we can run special lengths for high-volume projects quickly and easily."

What sort of feedback have you received?
"Printers and retailers like the brilliant white, which gives a much more vibrant image, something especially key for retailers of cosmetic products," explains Moscrop. He adds that the previous Ultra Board didn’t necessarily fall short in this respect, but that the new version has more of a "wow factor". The board currently has a client base of around 230 printers in the UK, while it also being exported. Moscrop takes the point that exporting means lessened sustainable impact for foreign printers, but as the material used to come from Sweden to be rolled out abroad, there have been improvements from an eco perspective here too. Overall, the feedback from printers has been incredibly positive and Moscrop believes it has become a real alternative to foam board in the UK market.

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