With the help of PrintFactory, leading signage company Signtech has transformed their workflow - achieving consistent colour output across devices and boosting production by 25%. Harnessing PrintFactory’s cloud-based solution has also had the hidden impact of improving staff morale as a result of efficiency gains that have significantly reduced overtime.
As the Channel Islands’ leading visual communications company, Signtech has over 20 years’ experience providing services from design and print to manufacturing, service and installation. The company’s 20-strong team works across three wide-format printers - a HP Latex 570, a Mutoh ValueJet 1638X and a swissQprint Impala 2 - to create high-quality signage, wrapping and road marking solutions for businesses across the Channel Islands.
To remain competitive in the signage sector, a print business’ colour and image quality must meet high print buyer and brand standards. Therefore it’s essential that printed colour is identical to the proof - whether jobs are produced minutes or years apart.
Operating flatbed and roll-to-roll printers using UV, eco-solvent and latex inks, and printing onto a range of different media, achieving consistent colour reproduction was a recurring challenge for Signtech. Occasionally, when creating colour profiles for jobs, what was on screen did not accurately match the output on Signtech’s printers, requiring time-consuming changes to be made and stalling productivity on the shop floor.
While printer colour drift is an inevitable result of environmental conditions, equipment wear-and-tear, and stock and substrate changes; Signtech’s existing colour management solution did not account for these differences. Once a job’s colour profile had been finalised and printed to standard for the first run, when the time came to reproduce the job months down the line Signtech experienced difficulties matching colours to the original run.
As a result, further colour management, troubleshooting and device recalibration was required to match colours, creating an additional bottleneck in the workflow.
Due to the complexity of Signtech’s colour management software, only highly-skilled staff members could operate the system and correct colour when inconsistencies occurred.
A hidden impact of these challenges was the effect on workforce morale. Staff had become frustrated with the frequency of inconsistent colour output on jobs, which had a knock-on effect on their confidence and hampered productivity. Compounding this issue was the overtime needed to troubleshoot and tweak jobs in order to meet quality standards.
The continued testing and tweaking of jobs to match colours caused significant time, ink and media wastage - creating additional costs for the signage company.
- Inconsistent colour output and reproduction
- Media and ink wastage as result of chasing the right colour
- Significant overtime required to meet quality standards
- Only highly skilled staff could correct colour
- Confidence affected amongst production team as result of troubleshooting
Prior to onboarding PrintFactory, Signtech had tried and tested a number of different workflow solutions in a bid to overcome its colour management bottlenecks.
After researching colour management and workflow solutions for the wide-format and signage market, Signtech chose the PrintFactory solution, opting for its software as a service (SaaS) product.
The PrintFactory team worked closely with Signtech ahead of the deployment to ensure no disruptions to output and were onsite during installation to support with device set-up and calibration. This support has continued throughout the project, with the PrintFactory team providing several on-site staff training sessions.
Since committing to the PrintFactory solution, print production at Signtech has been taken to another level. Gone are the costly bottlenecks caused by colour management challenges, replaced with a more streamlined and productive workflow that has enabled Signtech to boost production by 25%.
Powered by the VISU engine, PrintFactory’s advanced colour management toolkit and device-link profiling technology has supported Signtech to match colour and produce consistent results across devices and substrates. With more accurate conversions and a colour output that matches visuals and proofs on the first print, Signtech no longer has the need for additional troubleshooting cycles, which has saved operator time and boosted productivity.
PrintFactory’s intuitive and easy-to-use colour management tools mean that Signtech no longer needs to rely on a colour expert to achieve accurate colour output. The ability to create device-link profiles in under 10 minutes with PrintFactory’s profiling wizard has enabled Signtech’s print operators to take ownership of the colour management process and output accurate colour first time, every time. This has unified and boosted the confidence of the production team, something Sean Guegan, Managing Director at Signtech, believes is reflected in the quality of the company’s work.
As device-link profiles are frozen in what is called a ‘a golden state’, PrintFactory’s intelligent device re-calibration means printers affected by colour drift can be recalibrated to match the original job colour quality in a couple of clicks. This has helped Signtech to output identical colours when a job is reproduced months after the original - saving valuable time and resources.
In addition to the ink savings made by matching colours correctly, PrintFactory’s EcoSave module has delivered further ink savings for Signtech, putting down lower levels of ink without compromising on colour fidelity.
Sean Guegan commented: “It can always be something of a leap of faith to onboard new software, but deploying PrintFactory has without question been the right move for us.
“The difference between PrintFactory and our previous workflow solutions is night and day. Before, our staff were putting in overtime nearly every day to achieve the right colour. Now - thanks to PrintFactory’s intuitive and user-friendly tools - the overtime has been reduced, our staff are much more confident and the quality of our output is unmatched. It’s sped up our whole workflow, made it more streamlined and created much more productivity from the same amount of input.
“It’s taken Signtech to another level. Customers are coming to us for quality that our competitors just can’t beat. Everything PrintFactory promised has been achieved and they have backed this up with efficient support. Simply put, we can’t do without it.”