ImageData Group has ordered an EFI Vutek Q5r UV LED dedicated roll-to-roll printer.

The 5m wide industrial powerhouse is set to take its place on the production frontline, where it will replace a ten-year-old Durst printer.

Updating the old Durst printer was left longer than usual due to capital equipment upgrades elsewhere in the company. Due to the company’s existing flatbed firepower, it decided to invest in a dedicated 5m roll-to-roll replacement rather than opting for a hybrid. At present the company uses an existing flexible UV printer on which to output stretch fabric graphics, however the new Vutek Q5r will enable it to expand capacity on that offering and provide backup should the need arise.

The new Q5r offers up to nine colours including white and clear, and prints at a resolution of up to 1200dpi, with precise three-point text. imageData prints volumes of clear cling vinyl, so white ink was an absolute requirement. It also chose the clear ink option.

Glen Patrick, COO at imageData Group, said, ‘Buying any new piece of kit is a bold move but you have to move with the times. However, when you change supplier and shift to another equipment manufacturer, that’s an even bolder move as you’re beginning a new relationship. CMYUK has given us both confidence and reassurance that the after sales support is there, which has been a big part of the decision-making process. It’s fast, prints at very high quality, there’s much less waste when setting up, and it includes inline finishing that will reduce production bottlenecks, so it’s superior across the board.’

The business runs three roll-to-roll machines, which at times produces a bottleneck at finishing stages.

Mr Patrick added, ‘The new printer will obviously be able to finish a lot of things inline, which will really help in removing that pressure. We think that clear could be a useful USP to offer to customers as it adds the effect of a spot UV or an overall varnish without incurring a significant cost increase. Perfect for a Christmas campaign.’

In addition to white and clear applications, the Q5r offers double sided printing, multi-layer print modes, and minimal supervision continuous printing with multi-media handling solutions for large and heavy rolls. It also offers simultaneous multi roll printing, allowing ImageData to utilise the 5m width by printing either 2 x 2.5m or 3 x 1.6m rolls or a combination of both, whilst having the capacity to print vast single piece graphics.

The Q5r has been designed to reduce running costs and ramp up environmental benefits. UV LED cool curing uses significantly less energy consumption at 2.9kW when compared to the 10kW it takes to run traditional Mercury lamps.

Mr Patrick said, ‘Lower power consumption has become key, which maybe in years gone by wouldn’t have been in the forefront as it is now. Other features like the reduction in make-ready waste is impressive. Webbing the printer has reduced linear material wastage to 400mm whereas in the past we’ve dealt with four linear meters that represents a great deal of savings over the year.’