On a manufacturer’s sales leaflet, phrases such as “increase your production” or “print on new types of media” are used so often, the actual benefits can be dismissed as just sales-blurb. Obviously when you make a significant investment, for example on a brand new flatbed printer, demonstrations are the natural progression once past this sales talk. Croydon-based print business Discount Displays were the first company in the UK to purchase the recently launched HP FB500 entry-level flatbed printer as a direct result of a demonstration.
So far the printer has only been installed for a couple of weeks, but it is obvious that once the real nitty-gritty of hard work was in full swing, the speed and versatility they initially read about truly emerged. With bells on.
Discount Displays were already keen to explore the opportunities UV technology offered their business. Their criteria for sourcing a production machine was simple; one that delivered high production volume at high quality as well as being built to withstand all the rigours of a busy print facility. Their supplier, leading large format reseller CWE Solutions, recommended the HP FB500 and assisted them in every way to ensure this was the right machine for them.
Giles Fletcher, General Manager says, “We’ve always said that this product was built as a result of HP actually listening and delivering on feedback from printers at grass roots level. It’s impressive, affordable and fits! Installation and training went very smoothly and we were in production virtually straight away.”
On a day-to-day production level Discount Displays have been particularly impressed with the high quality output of the exhibition panels, but it is the introduction of printing on the new semi-rigid board that has had the most impact. The process works out considerably cheaper than traditional methods, in fact due to the speed and quality of the machine Discount Displays are able to make a saving of over 75%.
Fletcher adds, “The print quality is superb on this material and so allows us to cut production costs without compromising on quality to our client. Another huge saving we’re making is time. Jobs run on 1m x 500cm board that once may have taken 1½ days are now only taking 4 hours at a steady pace. The process is so simple. We also recently supplied a client with 22 outdoor canvas banners for their café in 2-3 hours rather than the full day it normally would have taken.”
Another huge time and cost saving they have experienced is within the production process itself and although not mentioned in the sales blurb, probably should be. Static. Any operator knows that when feeding the sheet through a flatbed machine the material becomes hugely charged with electricity. Issues resulting from this static include overspray where the images or text are slightly blurred. Extra operator processes such as wiping the material down and costs incurred buying anti-static wipes, soon build up the bottom line costs. Thanks to a simple bar within the feed mechanism on the FB500, static is all but wiped out and print quality is crisp, clear and hassle free.
As with all print businesses waste plays a big part and Giles Fletcher is delighted with the reduction they have experienced so far. Buying in larger sheets (up to 1.5m) keeps supply costs down but by filling up whole sheets with jobs making it is also more cost effective.
New features include an automatic counter for counting down the print jobs that takes away the human error element that can cause waste by overprinting. There is no daily maintenance on the machine, monitoring is all done on the HP Embedded Web Server and the large 3-liter ink cartridges all offer minimal interruption time.
Good ink adhesion to a large range of materials means that the future sees Discount Displays printing on metal signs for pavements and heading into the housing market, printing on clear or white Perspex and doors! Their trusted supplier, CWE Solutions, whose years of experience and knowledge in large format HP products are unrivalled, provides ongoing service and support for the HP FB500.
“The marketplace for any print business is extremely competitive and supplier costs are still rising so it is key to be able to maintain your margins in order to stay one step ahead.” Fletcher says of the future. “The speed, quality and savings on different materials the HP FB500 offers means we are able to compete with the best there is out there.”
As well as reading the small print, be sure to read the sales blurb, as in this case your business really can say yes to just about any request.
For more information on Discount Displays please call 0844 800 1020 or visit www.discountdisplays.co.uk
About – HP Scitex FB500
This new entry-level flatbed brings white-ink to a low-volume machine and described as a smaller version of the FB950. The aim of the smaller footprint was to enables new applications for the smaller printers and sign shops that may not have thought flat-bed technology was a viable investment. The 1.6m-wide machine can handle 6.4cm-thick media and has an optional roll-to-roll kit and speed ranges from 5sqm/hr in photo mode to 37sqm/hr for express mode.