The name Simpson Screen Print & Lithography Ltd. comes close to capturing the essence of this full-service Canadian firm, but not quite. To really do justice to the company’s (Simpson Print for short) all-under-one-roof print capacity, one need look beyond the masterfully crafted screen-printed and sheetfed products — long the mainstays of its business — to wide-format and cut-sheet digital printing that stretches the limits of imagination.
Thanks to the installation in August 2013 of the Screen Truepress Jet W1632UV flatbed inkjet printer, Woolwich, Ont.-based Simpson Print is moving at a fast gallop in wide-format products with top quality and top-rated speed.
“Normally, there is a difference between the advertised speed of wide-format devices and commercially acceptable print quality they are capable of producing,” said Sam Mueller, general manager. “We did not want to have to slow the machine down to achieve the quality required for retail signs and point-of-purchase displays. When you compare the Truepress Jet W1632UV to the claims other manufacturers make, the Truepress actually delivers sellable quality at the highest rate of speed. The quality and resolution attainable at those production speeds are second to none.”
Just shy of the half-century mark, Simpson Print began redefining ink on substrate in 1964. From manufacturing decals to brochures, signs, banners and complete POP solutions, the 58-employee company continually enhances its technological capabilities. Declining run lengths in screen-printed materials and rising demand for variation made the search for extra efficiency inevitable.
“Simpson Print does a large amount of versioning for the various provinces and territories in Canada and different regions of the United States,” Mueller pointed out. “The Truepress gives us more of a competitive advantage than we were accustomed to with the digital process. It enables cost-effective digital production on larger runs with high-resolution images and fine text.”
The Truepress Jet W1632UV, the first Screen-branded wide-format UV inkjet printer jointly developed with Screen’s group company Inca Digital, accepts media up to 62.9 x 125.9 inches and 1.9 inches thick. It prints at the maximum speed of 1,011.8 square feet per hour. The 12 picoliter micro-droplet printheads and apparent resolution of 1,200 dpi ensure crisp details, smooth vignettes and photographic realism on printed images. Screen's proprietary Truepress inks come standard with six colors (CMYKLcLm).
“We researched four-color and six-color machines,” Mueller said. “The six-color configuration produces truer skin tones. Screen’s inks offer more shades within the color gamut. We attain greater accuracy on certain colors.”
The Truepress Jet W1632UV has an automatic cleaning station to keep the nozzles from clogging. It also can map between missing nozzles, providing continuous printing until there is a chance to replace the printhead.
The print carriage is part of the Truepress bed assembly rather than being fitted to the chassis, so the printheads are more closely aligned to the bed. The media remains perfectly positioned while the print carriage travels on air bearings the length of the bed.
“The vacuum bed and vacuum hold-down strength allow us to print on materials that were previously difficult to handle, such as MXM synthetic paper, used for two-sided window decals,” Mueller said. “In the past, we had problems with the edges of the substrate curling.”
The Truepress Jet W1632UV is equipped with lay pins for accurate and repeatable substrate registration. The results are very impressive, according to Mueller.
“The register is so tight that we can print text and images in six colors on the Truepress and then imprint customers’ corporate logos and special spot colors with a screen press,” he explained. “We also are able to match the overall look and feel of inkjet-printed and screen-printed materials on different versions of products for the same customers. For instance, we can print a French-language version on the Truepress and an English-language version using the screen process. That opens up the door to longer runs for larger corporations.”