FastAnt Selects HP Scitex FB7600 at drupa after Large-Format Solution Passes 'Pepsi Challenge'

HP has announced that full-service marketing fulfilment provider, FastAnt, has finalized its purchase of an HP Scitex FB7600 Industrial Press to sharpen its service offering and deliver an in-house POP/POS capability to its retail customer base.

Leicester, UK-based, FastAnt, an existing HP Indigo digital press customer and a subsidiary of offset-litho print company, Taylor Bloxham Ltd, made the investment after reaching a 'critical mass' in the volume of POS work it had hitherto outsourced to other suppliers. This dependency invariably impacted on workflow and meant that the company relied on other parties before it could distribute materials to its clients.

Having submitted artwork to three manufacturers of large format printers, and viewed up-close demonstrations of their respective devices, FastAnt selected the HP Scitex FB7600 Industrial Press based on its combination of speed, quality and upgradeability.

"We only started looking in earnest for an in-house large format printer in March, but made sure that we had thoroughly done our homework before approaching the three short-listed suppliers," said Matthew Wennington, FastAnt's managing director. "As a result, we had an extremely clear idea of exactly what we needed.

"I consider it my obligation to focus on making sure we are as efficient as possible and that we don't have money tied up in equipment unless it's working very effectively for us. As a result, we only invest in something once we are absolutely certain that it will pay dividends for us," added Wennington.

As part of FastAnt's evaluation process, different artwork for different substrates, based on real life customer requirements, was created and sent to each supplier to print. When the samples were returned, Wennington assembled FastAnt's design and POS sales teams to view the results, having first obscured the manufacturer's names.

"This internal 'Pepsi challenge' resulted in the HP Scitex FB7600 consistently scoring the highest on every printed sample we displayed to our sales team, and as these are the guys that would eventually have to sell, that was effectively decision made," he explained.

In addition to the HP Scitex FB7600 Industrial Press' high visual quality of printed output, FastAnt was impressed at its ability to handle a wide range of different substrates - including those generally considered to be difficult. During these demos Wennington witnessed the press' performance first-hand:

"One media type that we use in high amounts is corrugated board," he continued. "I was stunned by the FB7600 press' ability to handle horrible corrugated material, which proved troublesome for the other devices we looked at and required the operator to intervene continually to free it and re-set the printer.

"Part of the sample designs we submitted to HP included those printed onto corrugated board using the highest saturation level. The FB7600 printed around 100 straight-off in about an hour and without skipping a beat, so we knew if it could handle that, it could handle any substrate we threw at it," he added.

For FastAnt, the HP Scitex FB7600 Industrial Press' ability to firmly tick the right boxes in terms of speed and quality was paramount. This was important and, says Wennington, highlights the capabilities of large format digital printing to the company's parent offset printing business, Taylor Bloxham.

"Taylor Bloxham is widely acknowledged for its focus on quality and colour consistency, which is underscored by the fact that it prints the colour cards for three major paint manufacturers," he said. "The fact that the group selected HP digital large format technology reflects our belief that it delivers on the stringent quality levels required to go hand with work undertaken for our offset litho customers. We believe it will open up opportunities to grow business among existing clients as well as attract new ones."

Wennington admitted that other factors helped play a part in swinging the eventual decision in HP's favor.

"As an HP Indigo press 5000 customer, we've naturally become accustomed to the high level of customer service and support afforded us by HP," he said. "We had the assurance that these would be in place around the FB7600 was also a significant deal clincher."

The HP Scitex FB7600 Industrial Press prints up to 95 full-size sheets/hr in production speed and up to 55 full-size sheets/hr with POP quality on a wide variety of media up to 25mm thick, while a six-colour UV-curable HP FB225 Scitex Ink set provides excellent dot gain and an impressive colour gamut up to 600dpi resolution. In addition, a new edge-to-edge printing feature means that final-size sheets may be printed, which eliminates the need for trimming, thereby saving substrates and reducing product damage through additional handling.

Celebrating its tenth year in business in 2012, FastAnt offers true end-to-end marketing support to its wide-ranging base of retail clients. Its service offering comprises POS design and production, direct marketing, marketing fulfilment, eCommerce, digital printing and print management. Taylor Bloxham, established in 1939, is one of the largest independent lithographic printers in the UK and in 2007 received the Queen's Award for Enterprise for Innovation in Printing.