Deciding to install a UV printer is always going to be a big decision for your business. Flatbed or roll-to-roll, the investment will be significant, and it will impact your revenue and profitability for years to come. As with all big purchases, you need to focus on what is most important to your company and what is most likely to make your investment successful.
Of one thing, there is no doubt. There are plenty of choices. And you need to make sure it’s a good one.
I had the pleasure of being invited to the UK office and showroom of swissQprint in Bracknell. From the moment I stepped into the building, there was a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere, and as I got to know the team through the conversations and demonstrations, I could see why.
Pride of place in the showroom are two printers: the new Karibu roll-to-roll and a Nyala flatbed. I got a powerful sense, particularly from Simon, service manager, and Marcin, print solutions engineer, that these printers were like part of the team. They were valued and treated with respect, and this respect was reciprocated with reliable, high-quality printing.
It led me to think that this is how swissQprint’s many customers must feel about their printers. Indeed, when I posted about my visit on social media, one customer was keen to say how much they love their Nyala.
And I can see why. The design of the printers is very, very clever. It’s as if they have thought of everything an operator could possibly want and built it into the machine. Easy-to-read light bars tell you that media is lined up properly, cleaning processes are simple and easy to perform with minimal ink wastage, a unique vacuum system is controlled by innovative ‘Tip Switches’, and safety measures are in place to make sure you cannot trap fingers in any part of the machine. And there are many more such features. These printers are built to be used comfortably and safely, efficiently and productively.
This isn’t marketing hype, either. swissQprint’s focus is very much on innovation and R&D. Even the marketing materials they showed me are of the highest quality. Beautifully presented books and folders celebrating the achievements of their printers in the hands of imaginative and creative customers around the world.
Generations of Quality
swissQprint’s product history is as solid as its printers. The company has stayed true to its roots of delivering high precision, reliability, performance and service. These are what the company calls its four pillars, and it has served them well. The swissQprint name is synonymous with high-quality and very reliable machines. With each new generation of printers they launch, they raise the bar a little higher, helping their customers stay ahead of the competition.
They have recently launched the 4th Generation of their flatbed printers, which delivers an increase in production speed and quality, as well as a host of operational innovations. I watched the new printhead working at more than 200sqm/h with perfectly acceptable quality. And with a click of a mouse, it shifted to 1350dpi image quality, ideal for high-end photographic reproduction and other applications requiring the best possible detail. They even showed me 2pt text printed with white ink (I checked with a magnifying glass, and it was spot on!)
It is also worth noting that while all this innovation is available, not all of it is necessary for every business. But that’s OK because all swissQprint machines are individually built and configured for each customer. These are modular systems in every sense of the word, with a commonality of parts across the product ranges. You choose what you need, and as your needs change, your printer can be upgraded and adapted quickly and easily to change with them.
Another advantage to having your new machine built-to-order is that the swissQprint engineers will also put it through its paces and ensure it is fully calibrated for your requirements before leaving the factory floor. It arrives loaded with Caldera RIP on a Monday morning for installation and training, and you are ready to go full steam ahead before the week is out.
Sustainability is often a difficult subject for printing companies, but swissQprint has a practical and realistic message that is borne out by measurable facts. UK Managing Director, Erskine Stewart, explained to me, “Giving value to our customers is important to us, and so is giving equal priority to the health of users and the protection of our environment. We aim to keep our ecological footprint small by using as many local suppliers as possible. 90% of machine parts are sourced in Switzerland, where every printer is made.”
He continues, “All of our printers are rated ISO2690:2018 for energy efficiency. The UV printing process requires neither heating nor ventilation, which keeps the energy requirement low. LED lamps consume little electricity and have low emissions. And perhaps most importantly of all, our printers have a service life of over 12 years, with low maintenance, few spare parts and minimal service visits. This all adds up to as green a printing solution as you will find anywhere.”
The importance of swissQprint’s ISO2690:2018 energy rating becomes apparent when you compare it with other items consuming similar energy. To produce 200m2 (the area of a tennis court) of printed output on a Nyala requires 3kWh. The same amount is required to drive a Tesla for 16 miles or run two electric kettles.
swissQprint customers range from one-man bands to huge multinational corporations. It is not the size of the company that drives the need for these printers; it is how much that company is dependent on them. If the printer stops running, what does that cost the company? In some cases, that could be everything. swissQprint installs printers that it knows won’t let its customers down. That is its true value proposition.
Erskine adds, “Unscheduled call-outs are incredibly rare for our printers. The machines have an easy daily maintenance routine that keeps them working in top condition, and we regularly visit to service them and carry out routine checks and balances. Most support issues are easily resolvable over the phone, and in the rare situation that a part needs replacing, because of the commonality, we hold them here in stock and can get them onsite and installed very quickly.”
He continues, “We know our customers are heavily reliant on our printers to keep their businesses operating and profitable, and over the last 15 years, we have shown that this is a responsibility we deliver on. Our engineering and support team are excellent, and we have great relationships with all our customers. Also, as a company, we welcome and value our customers’ input. Understanding how they use our machines and what they would like to do to develop further helps us continually innovate and improve our solutions.”
If you are considering a UV printer, you are probably already at a stage where you are expecting to make a significant investment. It’s important and is likely to be the most crucial decision you will make for your business for some time. I can heartily recommend taking a close look at swissQprint to see what these printers can do, particularly if quality, reliability and versatility are what you are looking for.