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Spaced out?


For those of you thinking of extending your workspace Phil Thompson, head of BPIF Business, gives you a down to earth take on the key considerations.  

Due to the challenging nature of the last four or five years, there will be very few companies that have got through them unaffected. Some will have adapted smoothly while others will have had to change business models and practices. As a result, the way that work flows through the production process and how this fits into the space available to the business may no longer be appropriate. So are you one of those looking to change your factory layout, extend your space, or even considering a complete move? 

Becoming a bendy business

Are you set-up to deal with more requests for flexible working now that the law has been amended? Jo Eccles from the Forum of Private Business advises on how to progress in the light of recent legal changes. 

At the end of June the Flexible Working Regulations were amended, with the right to request flexible working extended to cover all employees after 26 weeks' service rather than only those with children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and certain carers.

Architectural specialist relies on the speed and quality of Vutek GS3250


While most companies investing in wide-format UV-curable printers are involved primarily in the display sector, Artwork Solutions has always taken its fabrication and print expertise into a different dimension. As a result, the company has made its name as a design-led manufacturer of corporate branding products and services, with its client list predominantly being architects and interior designers who seek innovative and functional solutions that can perform a practical role as well as provide highly aesthetic qualities.

Hands On: Colorific Lightbar


The two most common ink technologies in use in wide-format today are solvent, which continues to offer good performance at low cost, and UV-curable, which will work with a wide range of media and can print direct to board. But now we are seeing a new type of ink emerge that combines the best of both of these ink technologies. The new inks are a hybrid technology with both solvent and UV-curable components. Essentially, the solvent is used in very small quantities to soften and key the media surface so that the pigments can penetrate into the media. The UV element then immediately cures the inks so that they are ready for immediate use, with no waiting around for the prints to out-gas. These type of inks typically have a bright colour gamut and a lower film thickness than with UV-curable inks.

Epson SureColor SC-30600


Epson's first foray into wide-format printing was with a series of aqueous ink printers that established a good reputation for photographic and proofing applications. But Epson was slow to get into display graphics, preferring instead to sell its printheads and inks to other vendors on an OEM basis. However, in recent years Epson has made a determined play for the display print market, with both solvent and dye-sub printers as well as a newly-launched brace of aqueous CAD/ graphics machines.

Rocket graphics moves to wider horizons with new Vutek GS5000r investment


For Watford-based Rocket Graphics, steady expansion and careful, accurate assessment around where its strongest growth areas lie has led to the investment in a new EFI VUTEk GS5000r, supplied and installed by UK distributor CMYUK Digital. This versatile superwide format UV-curable printer now enables the company to extend the work it produces for sites where 5m sizes are beneficial for logistics, installation and end appearance. 

Think Bigger: Inca


“Education through inspiration” best describes the strategy adopted by flatbed printer manufacturer Inca Digital to promote the potential of UV inkjet to the creative professionals who are increasingly switching on to what the technology is capable of.

Starting just over a decade ago with the pioneering Eagle and Columbia models, a succession of Inca Digital printers - most recently, the Onset Series - have continued expanding the range of applications for flatbed UV inkjet technology. And every two years the Inca Digital Excellence Awards (Ideas) benchmark that progress by rewarding the creativity and ingenuity of Inca users around the world.

Are you a player?


Understand what gamefication is all about and you just might become one, as Paul Simpson explains.

Why is gamification one of the buzzwords of 2014? There are two principal reasons. First, because more companies are realising that the factors that inspire billions of us to play games - desire, incentive, challenge, achievement, reward, feedback and our innate need to be the best at a specific activity – can be used to sell products, persuade us to like a brand or change out behaviour as employees. Secondly, this dynamic resonates most strongly with Generation Y consumers, also known as millennials, who will comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025.

Fespa Findings

Nessan Cleary takes you through the key printer developments of Fespa Digital 2014.


Fespa Digital 2014 certainly delivered in terms of product launches, especially when it came to new printers, a large number of which were shown in Europe for the first time. That said, many were really incremental upgrades to existing models, developments largely to address the demand for a better cost/productivity balance.

In terms of mid-volume production printers, several new machines shown at Fespa, including Canon’s new Arizona 6100 series, and the Fujifilm Acuity F (see panel).

Helping you to help yourself


Apprenticeships, short courses, tailor-made training - Learn2print offers the lot. Here’s how it’s attracting and training people for a career in print.

Daily phone calls, constant emails and late night text messages are a constant reminder to the staff at Learn2print that, thankfully, education in print still matters and is sought by those seeking a career path in the industry themselves, or by those wanting to improve the skill sets and credentials of those they employ and/or want to attract into their businesses.

Ed Currer,Director, Vinyl Impressions

What’s having the greatest impact on your business at the moment? 
The end of a financial year and the start of another always drums up a vast amount of office branding projects as companies look to spend their allowance on their spaces. 

Fabric of success


As the textile printing eco story strengthens, are you becoming more convinced it’s an option for your business? 

We all recognise becoming 100% green is something is a long shot – but if we focus on some of the smaller elements such as eco-inks, emission free substrates and reducing waste we can take steps towards that. And that’s where textiles and soft signage can come in. The new generation of dye-sublimation systems are more sustainable than many of their fellow UV or eco solvent printers. By using dye-sub or latex inks on polyester substrates we can produce relatively green products. 

Focus on finance

Can you improve your financial management? Colin Thompson from Cavendish provides insight into areas that can help you achieve the greatest possible return on investment in your company.

If you’re looking to grow your business, you have to pay proper attention to the financials. But what does that mean exactly? Yes, it’s more than looking at the sales figures. According to Colin Thompson from Cavendish, if your ultimate goal is to increase profits and achieve the greatest possible return on your investment, every job and every customer should be measured by `net profit return` and `positive cashflow` payments. Here’s his take on good financial management.

Managing the mess

Phil Thompson, head of BPIF Business, explains how good mediation practice can help you save a fortune should a dispute with a customer arise.
Disputes between printer and customer are growing according to the BPIF, the vast majority relating to perceived quality issues. It hardly needs saying that settling such disputes through the courts can be costly, the legal fees generated by such a route sometimes higher than the value of the job in question. And of course the cost to your business doesn’t end there – there’s the wider ranging impact such as damaged relationships and reputation etc. 

IR talks to Peter Kiddell, vice-chairman, GPMA

altThe GPMA, which stands for the Graphics, Print and Media Alliance, was officially launched a year ago at Fespa 2013.

It was established by 7 UK print trade associations (Fespa UK, BAPC, British Coatings Federation, Independent Print Industries Association, Picon, the Process and Packaging Machinery Association, and the Rubicon Network), to provide the sector with one strong voice.  


Bringing the outside in

Andy Carroll is CEO of Amari PlasticsWhy Amari Plastics is searching for talent from outside the print sector, and seeking graduates in particular.

You have to be something of a sleuth to find the Amari HQ in Weybridge, Surrey. CEO Andy Carroll is rather proud that the building - Holmes House in Baker Street - is low key. The entrance is sandwiched between shops and easy to miss, but as Carroll points out, “We don’t believe in big HQs and bureaucracy; it all ends up being just a huge cost. What attracted me into this job was Amari’s healthy business model. Although it has around 400 people in total the HQ is really a service centre supporting 28 profit centres.” And now Carroll, who joined Amari less than two years ago, is hoping the company will attract other new talent as it continues with a fairly large-scale recruitment plan.