OPG, of Lesmahagow in Scotland, has replaced the last of its solvent ink-based printers with a 61in, six-colour HP Designjet L26500 latex printer, making it an all latex-ink print operation.
“The year 2008 marked a turning point for us,” said Alan Watson, general manager, OPG. “Like many companies, with the recession, we saw orders falling, but we used the time that gave us to look closely at what we were doing and think about what we might do to bolster revenues and improve the company.
“We realised that we had more than a decade of experience and were working for some large well-known companies,” Watson continued. “That gave us the confidence to look at our service, performance, quality, and waste levels and how we were serving our customers. By doing these things the company was able to mature. Our attitudes changed and our investments since then have reflected that shift.”
Since its establishment in 1995, OPG has built a business and a reputation on the production of fleet liveries and vehicle graphics. In 2011, OPG replaced two of its solvent ink printers with an HP Designjet L25500 and an HP Scitex LX600, both of which use latex inks.
“Often when you introduce new equipment into a company there can be some resistance,” Watson explained. “With our latex printers, the operators readily embraced the technology to the extent that we’d find a queue to use the latest printers while the remaining solvent printer stood idle.”
“With the latex printers, and our new thinking, we decided that it was time not just to stir the pot, but to add something to it,” said Watson. “We approached our vehicle graphic customers and offered them indoor graphics for their offices. They responded very positively.”
OPG’s success in this new market was such that apart from printing wall graphics, it also produced self-adhesive graphics for application to glass partitions and windows, and wall coverings, using HP Wall Paper, designed for use with HP Latex Inks. “One customer was so pleased that we produced graphics for the company’s financial headquarters in London,” Watson said. “Now we have installed our third latex device we’re a completely latex operation.”
OPG expanded its latex knowledge by undertaking HP’s EcoSolutions Training Programme, downloadable training that helps PSPs and their customers lay the foundations for a long-term commitment to sustainability.
“I thought the HP EcoSolutions Training was so good that we’ve sent eight of our 27 people to it,” Watson said. “Not only can operators benefit from the course, but also sales teams and administrative staff. Having a full understanding of the technology and markets will enable us to realise our potential and better serve our customers.”
Watson is an advocate of HP Latex Inks technology and notes that the advantages go beyond print quality and odourless prints.
“We can now finish and wrap graphics as soon as they are printed, rather than have to wait 24 hours for them to dry and off-gas,” said Watson. “That means we have more space, and capacity for more jobs. The customer benefits from the high quality, but also from the faster turnaround times we can now deliver and a wider choice of applications.
“The environmental benefits are good, too. Apart from greatly reduced odour in the print room, fire risk is reduced, and HP provides free collection of empty ink cartridges and old printheads. We used to have to pay for removal and certification of solvent ink-based waste. You don’t have to be a Scotsman to appreciate that,” Watson concludes.