A livery company has seen throughput shoot up 700 per cent thanks to a £750,000 investment in a new printer.
Sapphire Curtains and Graphics, based in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, purchased the UV LED printer after seeing an ever-increasing demand for improved vehicle livery aesthetics.
The firm supplies products for curtain-sided, commercial vehicles and the new printer produces a better print quality, especially when dealing with certain colours and backgrounds.
Older printers at Sapphire could only print about two sets of curtains a day with 24 hours needing to be left before clearcoating – the process of applying a clear, glossy, protective film over the printed surface. In addition, traditional, labour-intensive signwritten inks used to take between two to six pairs of curtains per day with a four-strong team.
Today, the new cool LED curing printer can print all requirements at a rate of 14 curtain sets per day with no extra drying time. Sapphire can now process printed trailer curtain orders in one day in comparison to the previous three-to-four-day turnover cycle. It also brings a 71 per cent energy reduction compared to the old machines, helping to reduce costs and environmental impact.
General Manager Mark Wayman said: “Years ago, it was just plain curtains but everyone wants livery on their curtainsiders and not just the back doors now. A good 90 per cent of my production is livery on curtainsiders. Nothing plain really goes out the door now.
“With the installation of the EFI VUTEk Q3r, we’ve improved production and aligned high quality with speed. It’s fantastic. It really is.”