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Features

Rocket graphics moves to wider horizons with new Vutek GS5000r investment

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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

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“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?

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Screen Truepress Jet W3200UV

Screen's new W3200UV is a mid-range flatbed targeted firmly at production environments.The prototype shown at Fespa 2013 was impressive, so Nessan Cleary went to see if it’s living up to its promise.

Last year at Fespa 2013 in London both Screen and Fujifilm showed a version of a new mid-range flatbed printer that had been developed by Cambridge-based Inca Digital. Screen, which owns Inca Digital, subsequently launched the machine at the end of last year as the Truepress Jet W3200UV. So far two of these have been installed in the UK, and the machine that we tested - at Ipex - was due to be installed at a Dutch printer shortly afterwards. Martijn van den Broek, sales manager for Screen’s wide-format products, says that the company is still in the process of setting up a distribution network for the rest of Europe.

Hands on: Seal 62 Pro S laminator

A front mounted control panel and foot pedal make this an easy to use machineThe trend in laminators is toward entry-level models but there’s still a need for top of the range laminators such as this model say users.

Since the advent of UV printers and their ability to print direct to board substrates we don’t tend to hear much about laminators. Yet, they are still essential for finishing solvent and aqueous prints. The obvious use is to mount these prints to boards, which a great many people are still doing. Laminates are also used to add protection to a print, usually from the effects of UV light, but also protection from weather for outdoor signs, and from scratching and vandalism for displays in general. But there is a wide range of laminating films for different effects. This includes changing the texture of a print or adding a glossy or matte finish. On top of this laminates can also be used to enhance the colours in an image, or to add special effects such as frosting.

Money, money, money

Phil Thompson of the BPIFIf only spending it was funny, but it’s a serious business, which is why Phil Thompson, head of BPIF Business, offers this investment business model.

With areas of the economy showing improvement, one area that still seems to be lagging behind is business investment. This has led those who study the markets to speculate that this is one of the reasons behind the lack of improved productivity and high employment levels. What is clear is that companies that get investment right will inevitably capture the most profitable opportunities, clients and markets. Companies that don’t will be left to compete on unfavourable terms and smaller returns.

Designs on new applications?

Designs on new applications? Then you’ll need to catch up with developments in software packages that can help your creatives expand your business. Nessan Cleary investigates.

We've long argued in these pages that smart investments in software can squeeze additional productivity out of your existing hardware. But what about one area that's often overlooked - design software. This year’s Widthwise Survey data again threw up the fact that a significant proportion of large-format print solutions providers have diversified into design and are, or plan to, expand services in that area because there’s so much value-add to be gained by doing so.

Colouring in the whole picture

With colour accuracy and consistency a key issue, Paul Sherfield of the Missing Horse Consultancy looks at how a colour-managed workflow can help you save money, assure quality and retain clients.

As workflow specialist and consultant Paul Sherfield points out, colour management is a ‘right first time’ system when used correctly.