OPG Becomes All Latex PSP with Installation of HP Designjet L26500 Printer

HP has announced that OPG, of Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, Scotland, has replaced the last of its solvent ink-based printers with a 61-inch, six-color HP Designjet L26500 Printer.

Since its establishment in 1995, OPG has built a business and a reputation on the production of fleet liveries and vehicle graphics. The new HP Designjet L26500 Printer is ideal for these applications, but can also produce a wide range of outdoor and indoor applications at speeds up to 22.89 sqm/hr (246 sqft/hr).

"The year 2008 marked a turning point for us," said Alan Watson, general manager, OPG. "Like many companies, with the recession, we saw orders falling, but we used the time that gave us to look closely at what we were doing and think about what we might do to bolster revenues and improve the company."

OPG's team came to several conclusions in the process of changing the business.

"We realized that we had more than a decade of experience and were working for some large well-known companies," Watson continued. "That gave us the confidence to look at our service, performance, quality, and waste levels and how we were serving our customers. By doing these things the company was able to mature. Our attitudes changed and our investments since then have reflected that shift."

In 2011, OPG installed an HP Designjet L25500 Printer and an HP Scitex LX600 Printer, both of which use HP Latex Inks, replacing two solvent ink printers.

"Often when you introduce new equipment into a company there can be some resistance," Watson explained. "With our latex printers, the operators readily embraced the technology to the extent that we'd find a queue to use the latest printers while the remaining solvent printer stood idle."

New market opportunities

While the production of odorless prints improved the environment and throughput in the print room, the level of vehicle graphics orders was still lower than it had been.

"With the latex printers, and our new thinking, we decided that it was time not just to stir the pot, but to add something to it," said Watson. "We approached our vehicle graphic customers and offered them indoor graphics for their offices. They responded very positively."

OPG's success in this new market was such that apart from printing wall graphics, it also produced self-adhesive graphics for application to glass partitions and windows, and wall coverings, using HP Wall Paper, designed for use with HP Latex Inks.

"One customer was so pleased that we produced graphics for the company's financial headquarters in London," Watson said.

"In 2012, we installed our third latex device, an HP Designjet L26500 Printer," said Watson. "We're now a completely latex operation."

Leveraging latex

Having "responsibly disposed of" the last solvent printer, OPG expanded its latex knowledge by undertaking HP's EcoSolutions Training Program. This downloadable training helps print service providers and their customers lay the foundations for a long-term commitment to sustainability, hone their competitive edge and create new opportunities for growth.

"I thought the HP EcoSolutions Training was so good that we've sent eight of our 27 people to it," Watson said. "Not only can operators benefit from the course, but also sales teams and administrative staff. Having a full understanding of the technology and markets will enable us to realise our potential and better serve our customers."

Watson is an advocate of HP Latex Inks technology and notes that the advantages go beyond print quality and odourless prints.

"We can now finish and wrap graphics as soon as they are printed, rather than have to wait 24 hours for them to dry and off-gas," said Watson. "That means we have more space, and capacity for more jobs. The customer benefits from the high quality, but also from the faster turnaround times we can now deliver and a wider choice of applications.

"The environmental benefits are good, too. Apart from greatly reduced odour in the print room, fire risk is reduced, and HP provides free collection of empty ink cartridges and old printheads. We used to have to pay for removal and certification of solvent ink-based waste. You don't have to be a Scotsman to appreciate that," Watson concludes.