Witham, Essex-based IDL Colourlink has become the first UK customer for EFI’s Vutek h5 3.2m hybrid wide format printer that was launched at Fespa.
A Vutek user of 13 years’ standing, production director Ben power explained that a pair of QS Pro models that had been installed five years ago were ‘due an upgrade’ but that by going to the h5 model, IDL has skipped a generation.
‘We were keen to be an early adopter of the h5. We do a lot of window graphics and the nine-layer double-sided capability is a big thing for us,’ said Mr Power. Although alternatives were considered, the desire to remain with the Vutek brand was met, thanks in no small part to the strength of the relationship with supplier CMYUK. ‘It would have to be very serious kit to change,’ he commented, adding that compared to the existing Vuteks, the h5 would represent a five-fold speed increase.
Mr Power said that the arrival of the h5 would see some work transferred from existing latex and even dye-sub printers. ‘The latex printers are more expensive to run due to ink costs, and the new UV inks are more flexible. This allows us to react quicker and avoids the calendaring process and costs,’ he explained.
‘The LED [curing] technology will change the way we work, our reaction time and the range of materials – a culture change for us,’ he added. Mr Power believes the capabilities of the new printer will help IDL in its plans to expand its portfolio from printing and finishing to full design-to-installation services, via an already established studio in central London.
The printer will be accompanied by a new Fiery DFE which will allow for remote monitoring of the printer, common job set-up and editing tools both in the prepress studio and at the printer itself and help gather data on machine performance, ink and substrate consumption and wastage.
Next on IDL’s shopping list is a cutting table to complement two existing Zünd units; a laser cutter for handing a growing volume of fabric work is a requirement.