A New Zealand wide-format trade printer has seen a big boost to its quality and productivity after installing a new EFI Vutek FabriVu 340 UV-LED printer, supplied by Starleaton – a difference like “night and day”, says the team.
Super Colour, a family business owned by brothers Aaron and Simon Waddington, operates in two locations; one in Wellington, the other in Christchurch. It prints exclusively for trade clients, Aaron says, “We’re a trade-only printer, pretty strict on that. We supply to signwriters, printers, brokers, and other companies like that. We span everything wide format – UV, flatbed, dye sublimation.”
Seeking to upgrade their equipment, the Waddingtons turned to Starleaton, distributors for the EFI Vutek FabriVu 340 UV-LED textile printer, which went into the Wellington plant – their first Starleaton equipment purchase. According to Aaron, the increase in quality and productivity has been like “night and day”.
“Our existing machine was getting on a bit, and we wanted to increase our capacity. Some days we were going twenty hours at a stretch. What we used to do in eight hours, we can now do in one hour on the FabriVu – it’s a massive increase in output.
“The difference it’s had on our turnaround times is amazing as well – we had five to seven-day turnaround times and we’re now getting jobs out the door on the same day,” he says.
With the fast-turnaround capabilities the FabriVu offers, Super Colour has been able to expand into new market segments.
“We’re doing instant marquees now as well, a sector we hadn’t been in before. It’s also allowed us to do a lot more transfer paper work where before we were only direct,” says Aaron. “One job in particular involved getting twenty-five hundred square metres out the door in less than forty-eight hours, which we wouldn’t have been able to comprehend before.”
Ashton Lines-Sherwood, national sales manager at Starleaton NZ, says the new printer should help Super Colour grow rapidly.
“Having the ability to produce five hundred square metres an hour means they have a huge capacity now for more customers, but they are also exceeding their current customers’ expectations now with quick turnarounds,” he says.
Aaron describes the FabriVu as better than the machine it replaced in every way – including running costs. “It is leaner to run than our previous machine. We’re running at about half the consumable cost that we used to,” he says.
The new printer also uses less energy than the old, partly because of its speed. “Our previous machine was power-hungry, and this consumes a lot less. It’s changed everything – we’ve only run three hours today, so that’s a lot less power consumed simply by virtue of being quicker and running for less time.
“The TCO of this machine is less than our previous machine at around 300 square metres per week, despite being more expensive upfront. It’s much cheaper to run – power, consumables, everything,” says Aaron.
Thanks to its lower consumables and energy requirements, the FabriVu is also more eco-friendly than its predecessor, says Aaron.
“The amount of ink it has to purge through the heads is not even noticeable – next to nothing. Soft signage seems to be where the NZ market is headed in terms of sustainability, so we want to be right ahead of it,” he says.
According to Lines-Sherwood, the dye sublimation market in the country is rapidly growing due to demand for sustainable products.
“New Zealand is going green, and the dye sublimation game is following that. This not only includes eco-friendly water-based inks for the FabriVu, but also sustainable one hundred per cent polyester fabrics. New Zealand as a whole is moving away from PVC and polypropylene,” he says.
With the new printer humming along, the Waddingtons and their team have set their sights on expanding their business in ways they could never have imagined before.
“We’re looking to increase our niche products, decrease our turnaround times, and better service the New Zealand signage market,” says Aaron.
Lines-Sherwood says he is excited to work with Super Colour. “They are fantastic customers – a young team with an ambitious director, who have set some pretty high targets for themselves. I look forward to working with them and seeing them achieve these goals.”