Quarmby Colour has installed an EFI VUTEk h3 LED hybrid flatbed/roll-to-roll inkjet printer from Electronics For Imaging, Inc. The Leeds, England-based printing company is using the 3.2-metre wide production device to drive higher throughput and superior print quality in its display graphics operations.
"We needed more productivity in a similar footprint area to cater for new customers and workload," said Quarmby Colour Director Damian Quarmby. "We also wanted to upgrade our print quality. There's been quite a leap in technology with the new VUTEk h3. The print quality is amazing, especially for fine detail, and it's seriously fast!"
Outstanding print quality
Producing high-end graphics is paramount at Quarmby Colour, which chose an eight-colour plus white configuration of the printer to ensure superior colour quality reproduction.
"It's our first printer to produce text that's too small to read by eye, that you literally need to use a glass to view," Quarmby explained. "It's great for small decals, barcode and machine labels but the true appreciation is in printed gradients.
"We are printing ever-increasing amounts of architectural optical clear film for glass manifestations," he added. "The exceptional quality of the new VUTEk h3 model is allowing us to print seamless gradient fades, especially using white ink."
The printer's opaque white ink also creates more opportunities for Quarmby Colour, which uses the printer's multi-layer printing capacity to output jobs intended for viewing from both sides.
"The multi-layer is superb as we can now print true block-out double-sided window graphics," Quarmby said. "We are doing some pretty cool stuff with rear projection fabrics incorporating illuminated customer logos along with true block-out screen ratio framing."
The printer is also more efficient thanks to an innovative skip-white feature that advances media and controls the printing carriage to bypass unused areas of substrate. "It is a new benefit for us, and the time savings it brings has been noticeable on our existing contract work," said Quarmby.
The EFI VUTEk h3 is fitted with high-end greyscale printheads that have a minimum drop size of 7 picolitres and a maximum resolution of 1,200 dpi. The printer prints up to 74 boards an hour and its belt drive handles sheet and rigid media up to 50.8 mm thick and 90.7 kg in weight, while the roll feeder takes rolls up to 40 kg.
The printer is one-day field upgradable to an EFI VUTEk h5 printer configuration, which gives users up to 47% higher throughput. Quarmby has already opted for the field upgrade to the h5 specification.
A lasting relationship
Quarmby Colour is a family-run company first set up in 1994 as a colour photolab and is today a well-established large format digital printing business catering to the display, exhibition and imaging industry. Quarmby Colour employs 13 people including three directors and anticipates revenues of £2 million this year with the aid of its new investment. The company has a respectable reputation for producing high-quality display graphics. As a result, the company has been using VUTEk UV-cured printers since the start.
"When we transitioned to direct-to-substrate printing in 2005, the VUTEk PV200/600 was the first printer giving the nearest to the photographic quality and richness in colour which we wanted to offer our customers," said Quarmby. "Over the years each new VUTEk that EFI has have 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!"