Based in Lancashire, Babywise has been manufacturing high quality mattresses for babies and children for the past 25 years and is reputedly the UK’s largest manufacturer of baby changing mats, play mats and high chair liners. The company has recently completed an order for 40,000 printed PVC changing mats for the supermarket giant, Aldi, using Roland wide format printers, equipped with Lightbar solvent-UV ink technology.
Babywise prides itself on manufacturing all of its products in the UK. The company produces over 300,000 products every year, all of which adhere to the very highest safety standards associated with the bedding industry. In order to offer both custom print designs in low volumes and larger production runs, The business boasts an in-house design and print production facility and has recently replaced two older wide format inkjet printers with high performance Lightbar printers in order to meet an increasing demand for its eye-catching PVC changing mats and nursery products.
Printing custom designs on soft PVC material, which is then filled with foam inserts and heat welded together, has become big business for Babywise. Many well-known High Street names and designer brands rank among its long and impressive list of customers. The introduction of digital inkjet printing revolutionised the production of PVC changing mats at Babywise. It has enabled the company to accept low volume orders, even personalised one-off prints, and do so profitably. The customisation of changing mats has proved particularly appealing to the designer outlets and small nursery shops that Babywise supplies.
Understandably, the popularity of the colourful custom designs has resulted in requests for larger quantities that would require longer print runs. Managing Director, Kathy Cunliffe, recognised that Babywise would need to replace its existing printers with faster and more efficient print technology if it were to meet this new demand. Having received print samples from a range of technologies, including solvent, latex and UV inkjet printers, Kathy was impressed by the exceptional print quality and low investment cost of the Lightbar solvent-UV technology,
“… the Lightbar samples really stood out. The colours were incredibly vibrant and the print itself was practically impossible to remove from the PVC. In the past, we had experienced problems with ink being removed from changing mats with cleaning wipes.” Kathy explains.
Lightbar printers exploit the latest solvent-UV ink chemistry, cured by a stationary, low energy UV light, to produce bright, durable print that’s ready to use the moment it leaves the machine. Babywise purchased its first 1625mm wide, Lightbar printer shortly before receiving the order for 40,000 changing mats from Aldi. This prompted an immediate requirement for a second Lightbar printer to service the additional workload. Both printers were configured with dual CMYK inksets to deliver intense, colour saturated print at high speeds and automatic material take up systems to facilitate long print runs. Over a four month period, the two Lightbar printers worked side by side, printing around the clock, to supply the day and night shifts at Babywise with thousands of metres of printed PVC to convert into changing mats.
Although working to a very tight deadline, thanks to its two Lightbar printers and team of hardworking employees, Babywise was able to complete the Aldi order on time. Kathy and her team were rewarded with another order for a further 40,000 mats and the company has purchased its third Lightbar printer.