Open Print invests in EFI VUTEk h5 hybrid printer

Sustainable print solution with better productivity and quality

Germán Sferco, Open Print manager with the first EFI VUTEk h5 installed in Spain.
Germán Sferco, Open Print manager with the first EFI VUTEk h5 installed in Spain.

Electronics For Imaging (EFI) announced that one of its customers, Barcelona-based business Open Print, has improved its production operations using the quality, productivity and sustainability advantages offered by the EFI VUTEk h5 hybrid flatbed/roll-to-roll superwide-format LED inkjet printer. Previously, the company carried out much of its work – including comprehensive graphics services for the retail visual merchandising, event and tradeshow markets – using a 2-meter wide EFI VUTEk UV-curable hybrid printer. The company’s new upgrade to a faster, wider, LED inkjet solution has changed things for the Spanish display graphics company.

“We chose the EFI VUTEk h5 because it provided greater production capacity, time savings and versatility compared to the competitors. Thanks to this platform, we have successfully improved production with unrivaled quality, productivity and image resolution, together with improved delivery times. This has had a positive impact on customer satisfaction with our quality and turnaround,” said Germán Sferco, director of Open Print.

“The EFI VUTEk h5 also has a wide range of supported substrates. It features excellent reproduction of shadows, gradients and transitions, alongside printing of small body text with less-blurry edges and greater clarity across all printing modes. Additionally, as it is a hybrid printer, we can offer great versatility thanks to its ability to quickly change from flatbed to roll-to-roll printing,” Sferco added.

The wide-format hybrid inkjet printer can reach a print resolution of up to 1,200 dots per inch. It offers a choice of four or eight colors plus white, and an up to nine-layer print capability. The X4 Technology on the printer – an option to quickly and automatically use the eight ink channels in a faster CMYK x 2 configuration – gives Open Print the ability to print up to 109 boards per hour.

UltraDrop and LED ‘cool cure’ imaging open the door to profits

The printer delivers the advantage of ‘cool cure’ LED curing that requires less energy usage, as well as 7-picoliter UltraDrop Technology that uses smaller droplet sizes with true multi-drop addressability for exceptional smoothness in shadows, gradients and transitions.

The small drop sizes also give Open Print a significant improvement in terms of ink volume usage compared with its former UV-cure device. “We use the original EFI inks, and we are seeing significant savings. Because of that, almost 50% of our production is already being carried out on this platform. The LED curing technology offers a significantly longer life compared with mercury arc lamps. Along with reduced operating costs, we are seeing fewer consumable parts and a reduction in waste. It is a much more ecological print solution,” said Sferco.

Of the 40 people who work in Open Print across two work shifts, three are assigned to operate the EFI VUTEk h5, which runs with the EFI Fiery proServer digital front end (DFE). With the Fiery DFE, the three staff responsible for the new printer can handle all of their advanced production functions, such as nesting, step, and repeat, scaling, cropping, barcode creation and tiling, right at the server or remotely using Fiery Command WorkStation – EFI’s universal Fiery digital print job management interface. The Fiery proServer also offers advanced ICC color management for reliable color and superior-quality output.

Open Print offers customer-focused production. “The new EFI VUTEk h5 has become our main printer with one back up, and we aim to acquire a second h5 to cover the third shift. This equipment has opened new doors to large-scale projects by providing us with the necessary infrastructure to cover production peaks, so we are very satisfied with our investment,” Sferco concluded.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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