Based in Liverpool, Smartprint is a very successful print and sign business that offers its customers fast turnaround times and very competitive pricing. To improve its service still further, the company has recently replaced an aging Roland printer/cutter with the latest ink technology in the form of a new Lightbar VS-640i print and cut system. Smartprint is now in a position to offer customers a same day durable print service for everything from banners and vehicle graphics to posters and labels.
When Managing Director, Peter Kennedy, decided the time was right to upgrade the 10 year old Roland printer /cutter that had served Smartprint so reliably and profitably over the years, he was keen to identify a replacement that would offer fast, high quality printing without sacrificing any of the versatility of the old Roland workhorse.
“I’d heard that there were new types of inks on the market, some claiming to produce durable print that was ready to use straight off the machine. When I looked into it further, the only print and cut system featuring new ink technology was the Roland – Lightbar Partner Solution.”
Lightbar systems use the very latest solvent-UV inks, which are cured instantly by a stationary, low energy, UV lamp unit that spans the width of the Roland printer or printer/cutter. The colour rich print produced is incredibly durable and ready to contour-cut, finish, apply or ship to customers immediately. There’s no need to factor in any additional time for drying or out gassing. Lightbar inks contain just enough solvent to key the colour pigment to the media, which then passes through the UV light to fix the ink permanently. Less carrier in the ink means more colour pigment in the cartridge. As a result, Lightbar ink covers more metres per litre than alternatives like latex ink. Scratch and chemical resistance are both far superior and print elasticity is excellent too.
Owners of Lightbar systems have reported that the need to laminate print is greatly reduced and mainly reserved for heavier duty applications like vehicle graphics. According to Peter, this was his experience too.
“Printing on our usual self-adhesive vinyl, Lightbar inks produce images that are so glossy and hard wearing you’d think they’d already been laminated. In fact, we’ve cut right back on laminating since we’ve had the new technology. Lightbar’s saving us a load of time and money. We can now turn around jobs the same day when necessary. Of course, we still offer our customers the option to laminate but most times they’re really happy with the look of the print and the lower prices we can offer without lamination.”
The fact that the Lightbar solution is available with a tried and tested Roland printer/cutter made the decision to upgrade to a new ink technology much easier for Smartprint. As Peter explains,
“We’ve built a very successful business around the reliability of our old Roland machine. So, I knew it was a brand we could depend on and that had a huge influence on our decision to invest in the new ink technology. Lightbar is living up to all our expectations and the automatic take up system that came with the Roland package is brilliant too. I can start jobs running before I leave the office for the day and they’re finished and neatly wound up when I get back in the next morning. It’s a great feeling to know your printer’s busy earning you another five hundred quid when you’re sitting at home with the family.”
The introduction of new Lightbar VS-640i printer/cutter has been a resounding success for Smartprint and Peter is equally happy with the performance of his old machine on the second hand market.
“I was really surprised how much our 10 year old Roland was still worth. We advertised it online and had a buyer fo r it within a couple of days. It sold for over a third of the price of our new Lightbar system. The buyer emailed me a couple of months later to say how well he was getting on with it.”