A year ago the SPS Group in Ferndown, Dorset, invested in a large-format, flatbed Inca Onset S20 inkjet printer from Fujifilm as an important part of its strategy to double turnover to £20m by 2014. MD James Martin and operations director Karen Beadle-Rich had a very clear vision about the effect and benefits the Onset S20 would have on its business and world-class retail clients. Today, they have absolutely no doubt that the decision was the right one, as the company is on track to achieve this ambitious target.
Originally a mainly screen printing operation, SPS has invested in an XXL MAN Roland litho press, the Onset S20 digital flatbed printer with automation and the latest Esko Kongsberg cutter over the past four years. This complementary multi technology line-up has brought huge flexibility, added impressive additional capacity, and expanded the range of POS products the company can produce. “The aim was to maximise quality on a wide range of materials, cut turnaround times and improve short-run production efficiency – which we have on all counts,” said Beadle-Rich.
“Since the XXL press and the Onset S20 came on stream, our capacity and productivity have gone through the roof,” added Martin. “As you would expect, the retail industry is very demanding. Their ideal production partner is one that can handle all their creative POS requirements under one roof, with the best quality and to tight deadlines. That’s where SPS is today and we are generating new business and driving growth as a direct result of these strategic investments.”
Before Fujifilm installed the Onset S20 at SPS, only 10 percent of jobs were printed on a flatbed digital printer, with 40 percent screen printed and 50 percent printed offset. Today, 40 percent are printed on the Onset S20 and 10 percent screen printed.
To ensure production is ultra efficient, SPS has streamlined several manufacturing processes, such as the print and manufacture of 3D display units. By adding a Kongsberg automated cutter alongside the Onset S20, 3D products can be built only a matter of minutes after printing. Plus, to ensure colour is consistent across screen, digital and litho, GMG ColorServer and GMG SmartProfiler software centralises color management and profiles jobs to suit each specific press or printer.
Beadle-Rich explained: “Most projects involve elements printed on a combination of digital, offset and screen so it’s important that the colors are comparable however they are printed.”
The Inca Onset S20 prints edge to edge on substrates up to 3.14 m x 1.6 m at production speeds of up to 310 sqm/hr (62 beds/hr). It also features a selectable gloss control to produce finishes from matt, through satin to gloss, depending on the application, to bring massive versatility in the printing of POS material.
As versioning and personalisation grow in popularity throughout the retail sector, batch run lengths are becoming smaller and digital printers are perfectly positioned to handle these. “Digital print technology has matured greatly and the Onset S20 combines everything we need to produce high volumes of small run jobs at the best quality and with minimal waste,” said Beadle-Rich.
Because of the Onset S20’s ability to print onto virtually any flat standard or pre-cut material up to 50mm thickness, SPS has been able to push its design and production boundaries. Martin concludes: “The POS industry is always on the look-out for eye-catching materials to stand out from the crowd and our customers have quickly taken the opportunity to try new designs.”