EFI Wide Format Printer Increases Production

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STIXO-Signage Supplies

EFI’s Pro 16h hybrid flatbed/roll-to-roll UV LED wide-format inkjet printer drives more volume and capabilities. Virginia-based Signarama Christiansburg has upgraded its graphics capability, significantly increasing output and eliminating the need to outsource jobs with the purchase of the new production printer.

Signarama Christiansburg manufactures a broad range of signs, including vehicle graphics and wraps, banners, interior and exterior signs, print media, lighted signs, LED boards, awnings, trade show displays, real estate and construction signs, monuments and pylon signs.

‘We design in-house and do everything from start to finish,’ said Owner Kevin Altizer. When he decided to purchase a new printer, business was booming. Intoprint Technologies helped the company identify how the EFI solution would enhance the shop’s comprehensive offering with greater throughput and versatility.

‘I needed speed and the ability to do multiple things,’ said Altizer, who first joined Signarama as a graphic designer and manager before purchasing the business he worked for in 2007.

The Pro 16h printer’s superior quality, and its ability to print on a wide variety of substrates – especially film for vehicle wraps – were major selling points. ‘That’s been a huge plus because it used to take us pretty much all day to print a vehicle wrap,’ he said. With the increased speed he has gained with the EFI printer, he added, ‘we’ are saving a lot of time and money’.

The speed and production efficiencies Altizer gained also extends to other kinds of jobs. ‘We can have customers waiting and watching their signs being printed,’ he noted. ‘For example, for a 1.2m x 2.4m (4 x 8) foot board, it will take us three minutes and the customer is walking out the door with their sign, versus waiting three days to a week.

‘We can pause scheduled jobs for a walk-in rush job,’ Altizer added. ‘Almost every day, we have four to five vehicle-wrap jobs that we can do faster on this printer. Multiple kinds of jobs are now easier to do, and we keep the machine running. Every day is an adventure.’

The productivity of the EFI Pro 16h, which can print up to 90.7sqm (976 square feet) per hour, or up to 16.5sqm (178 square feet) per hour in high-quality point-of-purchase signage mode, eliminated Signarama Christiansburg’s need to outsource political signs to wholesale vendors. According to Altizer, producing 500 to 1500 of those signs in the past was unthinkable because it would ‘take forever’. Now, the shop can print that many signs in two to three hours. In fact, when Altizer first installed the printer, his team set a new internal record for production, completing close to 3500 signs in three days.

An EFI Fiery® proServer Core digital front end included with the Pro 16h printer keeps the operating humming with fast file RIPing and streamlined, accurate colour management. Altizer’s team of seven employees have a true full-service mentality, and everyone in the shop knows how to operate every piece of equipment.

Since the purchase, Signarama Christiansburg staff members discovered they are able to get much more done in a shorter period of time. For example, on rigid substrate signage, printing flatbed direct to board on the Pro 16h eliminated the need to cut and mount roll-printed vinyl. As a result, rigid signs have now become a one-person job, and other team members are able to turn to other tasks. The reduced labour need for rigid substrate signage has proven very beneficial, particularly during busy periods.

Like any good entrepreneur, Altizer aims to produce superior products, lower costs and increase profits. He is achieving all three goals with the EFI printer Intoprint Technologies provided to his business. ‘I’m saving more each month than what my payment for the printer is, and saving more than what I had to spend on vinyl to make signs the traditional way. We have gone from five to six rolls of vinyl per month to about one, maybe two. Being able to print directly to the substrate versus printing on vinyl and then applying it to the substrate, you are saving a lot of material costs.’

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