Quarmby Colour in Leeds has been revealed as the first UK installation for the EFI™ VUTEk® h3 superwide format hybrid LED inkjet printer. However, it won’t remain an h3 model for long, as Quarmby has already opted for the field upgrade to the higher-throughput VUTEK h5 model.
Director Damian Quarmby says the VUTEk h3 replaces an earlier VUTEk printer – one, in fact, of a long line that has served the company well. “The time had come to replace one of our longest serving VUTEk GS printers, which had given eight years of service. We needed more productivity in a similar footprint area to cater to our new customers and workload. We also wanted to upgrade our print quality to match, and even exceed, image quality coming off the latest VUTEk GS LED hybrid printers.”
The EFI VUTEk h series, announced at the FESPA Global Print Expo in Berlin back in 2018, is a 3.2-metre hybrid printing platform built from the ground up. The end result is a high-end production device for premium-quality graphics that is the culmination of EFI’s decades of experience as a leading manufacturer and developer of UV and LED superwide-format inkjet printers and inks.
The new hybrid printer is doing the same type of work at Quarmby Colour as the outgoing hybrid. Damian says, “The h3, soon-to-be an h5, is catering for both roll and rigid work; pretty much the same as on the VUTEk GS3250LX. We can chop and change in seconds from one media type to another. This has always worked well for our production and we’ve seen the benefits running hybrid printers time after time.”
The VUTEk h3 is fitted with high-velocity 7-picolitre UltraDrop™ Technology greyscale printhead technology for precise drop placement and delivers a maximum resolution of 1,200 dpi. EFI’s LED curing technology helps Quarmby keep power consumption to a minimum, and allows them to increase uptime, reduce waste, print on thinner or heat-sensitive materials, and offer a greener printing solution to their customers. The VUTEk h3 models prints up to 74 - 1.2x2.4m boards per hour. It is field upgradable to the h5 model for higher throughput up to 109 boards per hour – a 45% boost in productivity.
Damian is seeing a significant difference between the old and new printers, though. “There’s been quite a leap in technology with the new h3. The print quality is amazing, especially for fine detail, and it’s seriously fast! It’s our first printer to produce text that’s too small to read by eye and you literally need to use a glass to view. It’s great for small decals, barcode and machine labels, but the true appreciation is in printing gradients. We are printing ever-increasing amounts of architectural optical clear film for glass manifestations. The exceptional quality of the new h3 is allowing us to print seamless gradient fades, especially using white ink.”
As print quality is paramount at Quarmby, they use the VUTEk h3 printer’s eight-colours plus opaque white ink and up to nine-layer printing capabilities to produce high-value applications, such as window graphics intended for viewing from both sides. “The multi-layer is superb as we can now print true double-sided block-out window graphics, and we are doing some pretty cool stuff with rear projection fabrics, incorporating illuminated customer logos along with true block-out screen ratio framing. The skip-white functionality is also new with this platform and we’ve noted time savings on some of our existing rolling contract work.”
Quarmby Colour employs 13 people, including three directors, and anticipates revenues of £2 million this year with the aid of its new investment. It has been using VUTEk printers since Quarmby Colour’s start in 1994 as a family-run colour photolab. Quarmby says, “When we transitioned to direct-to-substrate printing in 2005, the VUTEk PV200/600 was the first printer getting nearest to photographic quality and richness in colour, which we wanted to offer our customers.”
It was the start of a long relationship with the brand, he continues. Over the years, each new VUTEk printer that EFI brought to the market has improved and proved to be a successful choice for our business. The reliability of all the printer models over the years has been superb and the few times we’ve required service support we’ve never been let down. That’s why after 14 years as happy customers, we continue to go back!”
At a glance
- Next-generation, 3.2-meter hybrid roll/flatbed LED inkjet printer platform
- Print resolution up to 1200 dpi
- Four-(optional) or eight-colour modes plus white, and up to nine-layer print capability in a single pass
- Productivity up to 74 boards per hour on the h3 and 109 boards per hour on the h5
- UltraDrop™ Technology 7pL grayscale printheads
- Native 7 pL printheads with true multi-drop addressability
- High apparent resolution and high-definition print quality
- Outstanding smoothness in shadows, gradients, and transitions
- Superb text quality with three-point text in both standard and high quality with fewer satellites and more clarity in all print modes
- Powerful EFI LED technology
- Extends range of supported substrates, including lower cost and added-value specialty media
- Increases uptime and productivity with instant on/off and less maintenance
- Drives down operating costs with up to 82% less energy consumption according to a Fogra study* and fewer consumable parts
- Reduces waste with consistent color output and simple operation
- Satisfies customer requests for a greener print solution with low VOCs, lower power consumption, and less waste and consumables
- Automated media handling options to meet any production need, including new 3/4 automated media loading and stacker systems and super duty winders
- EFI Fiery® proServer Premium digital front end with Fiery Command WorkStation®, FAST RIP and enhanced color management and screening features
- Cloud and diagnostics services, including EFI GO mobile management application
*EFI’s VUTEk LED printers show energy reductions of up to 82% when compared with devices with conventional mercury arc lamps. Calculations from Fogra’s Energy Efficiency Project, or “Energy Efficiency of Large and Small Format Printing Systems.”
About EFI VUTEk h3
The EFI VUTEk h3 is the future of digital printing. EFI has reimagined, reinvented, reengineered, and refined the high-volume, superwide-format hybrid inkjet platform from the ground up. The result is huge revolutionary leaps that take businesses higher in terms of productivity, print quality, reliability, capability, and profits. All with the ease of use and LED environmentally-friendly benefits customers expect from an industrial-built VUTEk printer from EFI.
Quarmby Colour is a family run business spanning two generations the display, exbition and imaging industry. The dedicated team offers a wealth of skills, well-equipped to provide a professional yet personal service in the UK, or on an international scale.
EFI has the vision to inspire the world with spectacular imagery on any material. Based in Silicon Valley, EFI is a global printing technology company, leading the worldwide transformation from analogue to digital imaging. We are passionate about fuelling customer success with products that increase competitiveness and boost productivity. To do that, we develop breakthrough technologies for the manufacturing of signage, packaging, textiles, ceramic tiles, and personalised documents, with a wide range of printers, inks, digital front ends, and a comprehensive business and production workflow suite that transforms and streamlines the entire production process.