Midland-based large format sign & digital graphics company, DIS Group has installed a Canon Colorado 1650 from CMYUK. The new 1.6m printer has been purchased to handle increased high-end retail work and will run alongside an existing EFI VUTEk h3 hybrid printer.
“Our work volumes are increasing and while switching between rolls to sheets on a flatbed is what a hybrid model is for, I could see where a second printer would enable us to maintain the increasing volumes of roll-to-roll work,” says Mark Bradley, DIS Group Managing Director. He adds, “The Colorado 1650 is perfect for high-end Duratrans, posters, POS, vinyl wraps that we do for retail hoardings, and the occasional vehicle wrap. It fits comfortably alongside the quality and speed of the EFI VUTEk h3.”
DIS Group Sales Director, Dave Purcell, says, “The Colorado investment enhances what we usually do and drives our retail work forward, which is a fast-growing area for us.”
UVgel inks and sustainability
DIS Group decided to invest in the Colorado 1650 because they were impressed with the way it handles peak volume production, speed and quality. Rated by Canon customers all over the world for its stability, the Colorado can be trusted to be left printing unaccompanied overnight safely.
“It’s very easy to use and delivers on ever-increasing turnaround times, we needed this level of capability and reliability to bring it into our current plant line-up,” says Dave.
Another key factor in the purchasing decision was the UVgel inkset. This combines the strengths and benefits of all current ink technologies without many of their limitations.
The crucial innovation about this ink is that it is a gel that doesn’t contain any water thereby negating any issues regarding the dimensional stability of media. Using a low heat process, a temperature-controlled platen maintains the substrate at a constant 28 degrees temperature regardless of environmental factors. On contact with the media, the liquefied ink returns to its gel state where the individual ink drops are pinned to the media in such a way as to prevent dot gain.
LED curing takes place after the image swathe is formed and gelled onto the media, resulting in a more uniform and smoother surface. Prints are instantly dry and do not require any evaporative drying process.
“These inks really excited us. They are very durable and offer high levels of UV lightfastness, scratch resistant and can be washed. They can be used with a wide variety of substrates including thin and heat sensitive material,” says Dave.
UVgel inks are super sustainable and have low environmental impact. They adhere to stringent eco standards and certifications safe enough to use in internal education and healthcare environments.
This green profile is important to DIS as it has adopted a business wide strategy towards greater environmental practices.
“Sustainable printing, the use of eco responsible products, the ability to offer customers new materials that can be used in place of traditional polluting products has become part and parcel of our way of thinking. Customers have sustainability targets to meet, and frankly the busier we are, the more important green alternatives become. We’re already finding our PVC-free alternatives are gaining a great deal of traction. The tide has turned. You can’t be involved in graphics, wide format printing and display without factoring in the environmental impact,” says Mark.
Matt and gloss
One of the more impressive factors that Colorado customers comment on is the printer’s ability to print mat or gloss at the touch of a button. Thanks to what’s called FLX finish technology, this unique feature enables both high shine gloss or velvet matt finishes without the need to change media or inks.
“This function is a real bonus. It will allow us to do spot gloss on presentation packs, visuals and graphics for retailers and other sectors where we know customers are going to love that option. It’s a really good selling point,” says Dave.
A new provision
Both Mark and Dave are keen to stress the ethos of the DIS Group and why it has been successful keeping its growing customer base happy since its inception in 1997.
“We work with industry professionals who know what they want. However, we always look to add value by suggesting new approaches & techniques because of our production knowledge and materials expertise. Our in-house design and 3D studio means we can create, enhance, and evolve ideas in collaboration with clients that result in exceptional outcomes,” says Mark.
Over the years the business has grown its in-house installation capability. “Fitting is a fast-paced environment and we employ a number of fitters. For us every stage of a job is vital from the artwork through to fitting and de-installation. Customers know as soon as they press the order button with us, every aspect is taken care of. Our clients know our fitters, there’s a real sense of trust with the teams we have,” says Dave
As a design-centric business, DIS is interested in impactful outcomes as demonstrated recently for its transformation of the Players’ tunnel, dressing rooms and management suites at the Wolves’ FC stadium – all designed, printed, fitted, and project managed by the company.
“The Wolves job really epitomises what we do here. A client trusted us with a blank space and we delivered. It demonstrates both our in-house design capabilities and the strength of the relationships that we have with our clients,” says Dave.
DIS is now adding video treatments to its printed static displays making for a multi-dimensional experience that further complement the company’s Canon and EFI VUTEk print capabilities.
“Retail has changed so much,” says Mark. “The high street has been really impacted both by on-line shopping and then COVID. We’re seeing an emerging trend which is all about experience, so going forward shop fitouts will become more complex and ambitious.”
DIS has an even spread of industries it serves, and while it does some exhibitions, retail, interiors, events and automotive are the main areas of focus. During the Pandemic, like so many others, the company adapted to market conditions producing sneeze screens, health and safety signage, wall and floor graphics.
“We’re definitely back to where we were pre-Pandemic and probably several steps ahead. To be honest, we’ve actually never really stopped. We had to sell products to customers that we’d never sold to, we had never dealt with the NHS before and now we’re official suppliers. We gained new customers, while still supplying our traditional base,” says Dave, adding, “We’re also seeing a push too from corporates wanting to refresh their offices after two years of being fairly static. We’re all seeing how crucial the office environment is and we’re currently undertaking a great deal of this work with a lot more to come. All our printers have been configured to work in total harmony and the Colorado 1650 is a great addition to our plant list.”