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Mutoh ValueCut

Nessan Cleary investigates how this cutting plotter handles a range of materials at high speeds.

Earlier this year Mutoh launched a new series of cutting plotters, known as ValueCut, which are essentially improved versions of the Kona series.

Will cross media save my business?

“Not a chance” according to print management specialist Graham Reed, a founding member of the Print Tribe, part ofglobal consultancy firm PrintFuture. Yet it does need careful consideration as he explains.

Hopefully the headline got your attention: it should. What really concerns me about ‘our’ industry is the emerging trend that when a new technology comes about that has even the remotest association with images on a substrate, it is going to be the saviour of the printing industry. Take Web-to-print (W2P); more than half of organisations that have bought W2P systems across the globe have not implemented them so that they bring a profitable outcome to their organisation. So why is cross media going to be any different?

Colouring in between the gaps

Phil Thompson, head of BPIF Business, talks us through independent colour quality certification based on ISO12647 and 9001.

The BPIF has developed a UK Certification scheme for ISO12647, knowing that as with quality and environmental standards, buyers expect independent auditing and certification from UKAS accredited certification bodies. In response to such customer demands, a growing number of UK printing companies are now working towards the ISO12647 standard which is specific for colour quality.

Bridge over troubled waters

altCan visual QR codes help print cross over into the digital world? Nevo Alva thinks so. He’s co-founder and CEO of Visualead, which aims to aid engagement between the offline consumer and the online brand via this latest QR development.

When the barcode, developed in 1952, was first used as a solution to standardise grocery shopping, label military supplies, and track packages and shipments, it was considered sophisticated technology. But it quite quickly came to be perceived as incredibly mundane and out-dated. Enter the QR code.

Hands On: Optimus MIS

Nessan Cleary talks to users about how this package has evolved from being financial management tool to a vital part of the production system for the modern wide-format operation.

Management information systems (MIS) have become increasingly important to print businesses, partly because there’s more emphasis on automated throughput than there was, but also because the role of the MIS has changed. Traditionally such systems have been all about gathering financial information so that managers can make the best decisions for the smooth running of a business. But increasingly the MIS now sits at the heart of the production process, running everything from estimating and quoting to generating delivery notes and invoices.

NE plastics - your secret service

altIf you’re looking for a sheet plastics distributor that can offer you a whole lot more, then you should be talking to Nick Warne and his team at NE Plastics. “Following our successful debut at FESPA in London, earlier this year, we have experienced a significant growth in sales; not only in our core business of flat sheet but also for our new roll media range and for trade fabrication work where good quality and fast turnaround is our mantra. “

The fabric of life

Textile printing is said to be one of the fastest growing areas in wide-format, but you do have to tailor the applications around the available materials? 

There’s no doubt that digitally printed textiles is a huge and growing business. But this is partly because it is made up of several very distinct markets. The biggest of these is the garment sector, which itself can cover a huge range from high street fashion to the occasional promotional    T-shirt. This includes printing to various materials from cotton to silk, which require specialist printers with inks suitable to these materials, and plenty of washing before the garment is ready  to wear.

Textile transformation

According to InfoTrends’ ‘Transforming Textile Printing’ report published at the start of this year, the global textile industry is worth approximately $1 trillion. While the digital textile printing market is tiny in comparison to the entire textile industry, it is growing rapidly from a global perspective. So are you in on the action?

The Image Reports Widthwise Survey 2013, which polled 223 UK and Ireland companies involved in large-format digital inkjet, showed that almost a quarter (24.7%) are now involved in textile printing for flags/banners – 9% are involved in garment printing, and 8.5% in textile printing for home/interiors. When asked which print sector is the fastest growing within their own operation, 4.9% said textile printing for banner/flags - under 1% listed textile printing for garment or home/interiors.But, asked which wide-format markets respondents are looking at getting involved in over the next two years 11.2% said textile printing for homes/interiors, 9.9% textile printing banners/flags, 4% printing textile re. garments.So what’s the story? We asked five companies to comment.

Epson SureColor F7000


Nessan Cleary takes a look at the machine that heralds Epson’s move into the textile printing market.

Late last year Epson announced its intentions to get into textile printing with two new dye-sublimation printers, one of which was the 64in wide Surecolor SC-F7000. This machine was subsequently officially launched at this year’s Sign and Digital show with quite a number now established in the field.



IR talks to ….. Jos Bastiaans, Director Print Unlimited


Jos Bastiaans, director of Netherlands-based textile print specialist Print Unlimited, has been involved in digital textile printing since it was merely an idea. He worked as a development and software engineer at Océ Netherlands before joining Stork, where he was part of team that developed the first inkjet plotter for textiles back in 1989. During the 1990s Stork set up a commission printing operation, which in 1999 became Print Unlimited. When this operation was hived off in a management buyout at the end of 2003, Bastiaans led the executive team responsible. And there he’s been ever since, so what he doesn’t know about textile printing isn’t worth knowing! Here are his thoughts…


What's the planet mark?

altSteve Malkin is CEO of Planet First, which specialises in bringing sustainability to SMEs. He has partnered with the Eden Project to launch The Planet Mark Sustainability Certification for Business. 

Understanding sustainability is often referred to as the brick wall stopping people, and businesses, from starting to tackle the issue. It is possible that this wall is blocking further progress in the print industry, which has long known of the importance in being able to produce with the environment in mind. 

Better safe than sorry


Phil Thompson, head of BPIF Business, looks at health and safety compliance.

Results from recent research show that health and safety is the third biggest source of small firms' compliance expenditure, after tax matters and employment law. But the real cost is not just financial; at seven hours a month it is the second largest consumer of time after employment law. And companies are now spending more on external specialists to help them cope.

Applications rich


How its latest investment in an Agfa Anapurna M2050 is expanding Key2 Group’s service offering and client list.

You know the score. There are marvellous examples of digital wide-format work out there that a service provider has produced but is unable to flag up and shout about because the client doesn¹t like it. Key2 Group, based in Portsmouth, is no exception when it comes to having this specific problem. A really lovely job undertaken for an end client of global, cosmetic, blue-chip stature will sadly have to remain off limits, but Mike Keating, the affable managing director of Key2 Group continues in an enthusiastic vein. 

Putting loyalty back on the cards

Consultant Matthew Parker provides his top tips on how to retain valuable customers and build business on the back of their loyalty. 

The humble PDF is often seen as a saviour of the print industry. It has eliminated the need for traditional artwork. New files can now be transmitted easily, cheaply and instantaneously. But the advantages of the PDF have also been a major threat to the print industry. The PDF has reduced customer loyalty. As a buyer, it is now very easy for me to send my artwork to a new supplier. All I have to do is to send one quick email. There are no barriers to changing suppliers. It’s tempting for a buyer to do this even if there is saving of as little as £10.

Seek and you just might find

Your kit and consumables suppliers have a vested interest in helping you succeed. So do you use them to best effect in helping grow your business? Tim Greene of InfoTrends thinks you should demand more. 

It may sound simplistic, but we [at InfoTrends] believe that there is a great case to be made that wide-format printing companies of all size could be taking a more aggressive approach to business growth and development by leveraging the resources of their suppliers.

For the ultimate in cutting creativity with the perfect finish


If it’s cutting creativity you’re after, look no further than an AXYZ CNC router which is capable of doing much more than just profile cutting of 2D letters and shapes. These CNC routers have been specially developed for both the signmaking and print finishing industries.