Fujifilm Helps Digiforma Break into New Markets with the Inca Onset S20

Digiforma NV, based in Turnhout, Belgium, close to the border with The Netherlands, is not your everyday printer. With 12 permanent staff, this company, which is clearly going places, has a history firmly steeped in packaging, or to be more precise 're-board'.

Olivier Ceulemans, managing director at Digiforma, explains just how the company came to look for a large format digital printer, and in doing so, opted for Fujifilm's expertise with the Inca Onset.

"Cardboard has been in my family's blood since just after WWII – my father had created a highly viable company that made cardboard boxes, which he sold in 1989 to Smurfit Kappa. I suppose it was from him that my brother and I learned that you need to invest in the best to stay ahead of the game.

"In 2002, Philippe and I decided to give up our old jobs and branch out together, still in cardboard as both of us had experience of this material. But, we weren't content to stick with the traditional methods and wanted to develop a product which would let us glue the cardboard more easily. At this time the main ingredient for cardboard gluing was being given a lot of press as it was discovered to be very harmful if inhaled. We managed to develop and patent a product which is being widely used today."

During the course of this work, Olivier and his brother hit upon a new material which they recognised as a huge opportunity in the making. That material was re-board. At this time, no mainland European country other than Scandinavia was using it. Digiforma, with its background in cardboard and knowledge of printing and finishing, was able to steal a march on its competitors by demonstrating just what could be achieved with this printable, strong, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective product.

"We took a risk, and decided to employ a sales person to go and knock on the brand owner's doors, the exhibition organisers, designers, whoever you can think of," explains Olivier. "Eventually two big high street brand names decided to take a chance, and we haven't looked back since."

"Today we have designed sets from concept through to final installation for our major TV channel, we make furniture, we kit out exhibition stands, we design for retail houses, you name it, we do it – we've never turned a job down. But, as we've grown (from two buildings to six) our old printer was letting us down from a quality and speed perspective. There was only so long I could expect my staff, however loyal they may be, to work through the night because the printer couldn't keep up with the work."

To this end Olivier decided to undertake a thorough research into all of the major large format printers available. He soon became convinced that the Inca Onset made sense for him, with its fixed print-heads and moving table. The quality and speed he saw in demonstrations has been repeated in situ.

"We've had our Onset S20 or just over three months now," he says, "and while we never expected it to be close to full capacity at the start (we are only running it for an hour a day), it completes all of the work that our old printer would take a whole day to do. It's also eliminated the banding problems we'd been experiencing beforehand." He continues, "My aim is to fill the rest of the day with new re-board jobs and with some large format signage work too - it really has opened up new opportunities for us."

The Inca Onset was launched into the marketplace four years ago as a high end inkjet printer that would change the way print was produced. This proven technology has fast become the most successful platform in digital wide format printing, and Fujifilm is able to prove that making an investment in the most powerful flatbed family in the world can pay back in record time.

"Some of the big brands we work with had no idea what was available to them in terms of the speed and quality that digital print can provide, and so we are now in the excellent position of being able to lead the way. For us, despite the difficult economic climate of the last few years, re-board has really held its own. Where many companies have struggled, Digiforma has gone from strength to strength. Re-board is the perfect alternative to heavier and more expensive wood, and our customers not only save money in materials but also in set up time."

He continues, "Our relationship with Fujifilm is excellent. We have always received exceptionally good service, and people have always been on hand to provide advice."

In the future, Digiforma is planning on taking its ideas to a new level, as a brand new e-commerce web site will allow customers to order items such as large format puzzles, photographs and even personalised coffins, all to be printed on the Onset.