Hélio Corbeil, a French company with more than 200 years of experience in print, has invested in a fleet of EFI technology as it looks to transition into digital printing.

The printer, currently based in Corbeil-Essonnes, just south of Paris, has installed a Vutek h5 UV LED hybrid flatbed/roll-to-roll printer, a Vutek Q3r UV LED roll-to-roll printer, a Vutek FabriVU 340i dye-sublimation printer and EFI Pace MIS workflow software. 

CEO Bruno Arasa explained the move, ‘We want to be able to provide a set of unique and complete services to our customers from digital printing of magazines and all types of communication materials, such as leaflets for advertising, municipal services and large-format printing – while also offering a professional and personal experience.’

Hélio Corbeil has long specialised in high-volume gravure printing, but in recent years demand has declined, price wars have become more common and environmental concerns have hit the headlines. 

‘It was important for us to get out of the volume/price spiral,’ explained Mr Arasa. ‘We therefore took the step last year to first launch digital printing for small and medium-sized magazines as well as for large-format communication.’

The 3.2m h5 can print 106 boards per hour, in eight-colour plus white, at 1200dpi. ‘We chose it for its ability to maintain a high level of colour quality, while keeping a high speed,’ explained Mr Arasa. ‘In a world where uncertainty has become the rule, even more so post-Covid 19, we wanted a press that could quickly switch from rigid to flexible, and vice versa.’

The Q3r roll-to-roll printer was chosen specifically to better position the company in the large-format space. ‘To become a major player in the large-format market, we needed a very productive roll-to-roll printer with many integrated finishing options so that we don’t saturate our cutting fleet unnecessarily,’ continued Mr Arasa. ‘Additionally, the quality of the inks, which are certified according to environmental criteria, will also allow us to use a wide range of media with very good durability.’

Finally the French firm opted for the FabriVU 340i dye-sublimation printer to ensure it could to deliver premium soft-signage textile graphics. The machine prints up to 250sqm/hr and offers direct-to-fabric production and in-line sublimation without the need for a separate calendar/heat press.  ‘We couldn’t go into large format without also investing in a machine that prints on textiles with sublimation,’ Mr Arasa concluded.

With all the new technology at its disposal, along with the pivot in business model, Hélio Corbeil is also taking the opportunity to re-brand itself, adopting a new name, Hélio Corbeil Numérique, to emphasise its digital capabilities.