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Look north

Why Your Print Specialists has joined print companies as a learning partner at project-based Studio West Newcastle. Should you do likewise?

“It is important that we share the experience of our sector and make the younger generation more aware of the exciting opportunities available within it." So says Garry Brown, managing director of Your Print Specialists (YPS) which has become a ‘learning partner’ at a pioneering project-based educational establishment called Studio West Newcastle, and is eager for others to follow suit.C - robbieimage2

Walk the Talk

You know the saying “If you’ve got it, flaunt it”. Well Displayways is doing just that with its new printed graphics flooring application.A - Displayways new offices and ideas room

South London-based Displayways has not only developed an ‘Ideas Room’ full of unusual digital inkjet large-format printed applications for customer perusal and persuasion, but to get to it they must walk through a space decked out with a new, printed speciality permanent flooring product introduced to the market just a few months ago. Talk about impact! What’s more, flooring specialist Senso - Displayways’ partner in the offering - is making the same stunning statement to potential customers by laying the bespoke flooring in its own showroom/office.

Thinking Bigger: Agfa

Steve Collins, wide-format inkjet product and channel manager for Agfa Graphics UK, explains its ‘technology meets creativity meets technology’ strategy.C - Steve-Collins-1007a

The advancements in inkjet technology have certainly been a driving force behind an explosion of ideas. Major improvements in speed and quality have allowed people to push the boundaries of wide-format inkjet technology and with the evolution of UV printing and the ability to print directly onto the surface of different types of substrates, virtually anything is possible. We are now witnessing an increase in diverse applications used by graphic designers and architects as printing directly on materials such as glass, wood and ceramics becomes more commonplace.

Should you be certified?

BS 11000 is a standard for collaborative business relationships. Andrew Bury from validation company SGS UK argues why you should look towards becoming accredited.A paperpeople

“No man is an island” according to poet John Donne. And neither is any business if the trend towards collaboration is anything to go by.

Shop floor trends

The retail sector is under pressure from online shopping and the recession but is this good or bad news for wide format providers? Nessan Cleary investigates.F - Soyang lightbox

The retail sector is an important source of work to the wide-format print community so it’s a no brainer that we keep up to speed with trends and developments impacting upon the type and levels of work we can produce for such customers.

Analyse this

It’s easier to sell wide-format graphics if you can demonstrate how effective they are, but how easy is that? Nessan Clearly finds out.G - EFI SSA DSC2443

It’s relatively easy to track online viewing habits so that marketers can get a good idea of who’s viewing individual Web pages and whether or not they linger over particular adverts etc – useful data when it comes to planning campaigns. But a poster or a banner is an inherently static graphic so how do marketers know how effective it is? Herein has lain the rub for some time now. But things are changing.


ON TEST: HP Latex 3000

The HP Latex 3000 was designed as a production machine but can it handle both image quality and high speeds? Nessan Cleary puts it to the test.B - DC15758 Latex3000 front PQ

Last year we tested HP’s 26500 entry-level latex printers but there are also several larger models so we’ve been back to put the top of the range Latex 3000 through its paces. This is a fairly large roll-to-roll printer, capable of taking media up to 3.2m or two rolls up to 1.6m each side by side.

Hands On: The Longier FR3750

The Chinese brand Longier is offering a reasonably priced flatbed printer, but how well does it perform in practice? Nessan Cleary asks user Paul Serellis of Eazy Print in Eastleigh.A - p06lr

From time to time you come across a new player in the wide-format inkjet printer market, such as Longier. Its range is built in China but now available in the UK and Europe courtesy of Gary Hall of Hallmark Equipment Services. The first of these was installed over the Christmas period at Eazy Print, based in Eastleigh in Hampshire.

Fighting talk

Two Sides is doing a great job at distributing the environmental facts about print. But Digital media is still getting away with too much when it comes to the sustainability argument. Could that be A 67035880 Mchanging?

Does an iPhone use more energy than your fridge? Mark Mills, CEO of Digital Power, made that claim in a study about Cloud computing two years ago, sparking a furious online debate. American think tank, the Breakthrough Institute, crunched the numbers and concluded that a typical iPhone consumed 388kWh of energy a year whereas some household refrigerators used as little as 322kWh.

A view from the bridge

This spring Image Reports conducted its eighth annual Widthwise Survey of wide-format PSPs. Here’s an overview of the key findings ahead of the full Widthwise Report 2015 which will be published alongside the next issue of the magazine.


78% said they expect their wide-format turnover in particular to grow in 2015

48% said their wide-format margins are better than those in other parts of their business

47% said they expect to buy a new digital wide-format printer in the next two years

30% said planned investment would enable them to move into new markets

57% plan to add/expand their design service in the next year to meet customer demand

55% said they have no major technical issues

57% plan to recruit in the next two years

IR talks to ….. Paul Banks, Managing Director, Image Alchemy

Image Alchemy, a technology company that develops and supplies digital printing solutions, is A - Paul Banksseeking crowdfunding for a refillable large-format ink cartridge that its MD, Paul Banks, believes will revolutionise the inkjet market.

I asked him to explain the project, outline its possible economic and environmental impact, and where he goes from here.
By Lesley Simpson

Stuart Maclaren, Founder and MD, Your Print Partner

When first interviewed for Image Reports, the then 23 year-old Stuart Maclaren had set-up Your Print B1 -Stuart MaclarenPartner in Lincoln just eleven months beforehand, and having spent £70,000 on his first output device - a Mimaki direct-to-textile printer - he was predicting a first year turnover of £600,000. That was 2012. Now, one of ‘the most successful things to come out of Lincolnshire 2014’ according to a listing in the Lincolnshire Echo, and winner of the ‘Young Business Person of the Year Award 2014’ in the Lincolnshire Media Business Awards,

Maclaren has a staff of 17 and is, by his own estimation, “the third biggest fabric printer in the UK by volume”. The company, which plans to transfer from the current site into a 2230m2 new build space at the other end of Lincoln - close to where it all started in a 65m2 space in 2011 - is expected to bring in £1.5m this year.

Changing your score line

Jo Bostock from the Forum of Private Business explains how you can improve your business's credit rating.

It’s great news that so many wide-format based PSPs are set for growth, but accessing finance can become the stuff of nightmares if your credit score is poor. Keeping on top of your credit rating can be challenging, but here Jo Bostock, business adviser at the Forum of Private Business, provides key tips on how to improve that all important scoreline.

Over to you...Rod Fisher, MD, Print-Leeds

Rod Fisher, A - Rod Image Reports
MD, Print-Leeds

What’s having the greatest impact on your business at the moment?
New technology. Our investment in the latest technology has increased productivity and impacted on the bottom line increasing profitability significantly.

Creating business connections at Sign & Digital UK 2015

Cover photo

Sign & Digital UK, the leading trade exhibition for the sign making and wide format printing industry, returns in 2015 with more than 180 of the sector’s biggest name suppliers, including Hewlett-Packard, Roland DG, Canon UK, Hybrid Services/Mimaki, Colourgen/Mutoh, Fujifilm, Agfa Graphics, Esko and many more.

Put something in, get something back

The wide-format digital print sector is not particularly well represented by print industry trade bodies. Is that because more from the sector need to join up and make their voices A - Bettine Pellant CEO Piconheard? Bettine Pellant, new CEO of Picon, argues the case for membership to trade associations.

Say what you like about trade associations, but the UK has a lot of them. A quick Google search led me to one list containing well over 300 organisations, from the Adhesive Tape Manufacturers Association to the Zinc Development Association. Such volume and variety point to the perennial need businesses of all sizes have to seek strength in numbers, to build a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.