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Flash Graphics goes for best-of-breed inkjet

Tuesday, 14 October 2014
By Print 21 Online Article

Since its foundation in 1986, Flash Photobition has grown to encompass three production facilities in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra, and establish itself as a key part of a global network with associated offices in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Los Angeles, New York, London and other locations worldwide.

Twice nominated as one of Australia’s top 100 fastest growing businesses, Flash Photobition is focused on delivering innovative graphic solutions for an extensive array of purposes such as: retail fit-outs, trade shows, exhibition and museums, posters, billboards and point-of-sale. Core to its work is a growing fleet of Epson large format production printers.

 Challenge: The search for best-of-breed

From the very commencement of operations, Flash Photobition has been committed to be nothing short of a leader in its field, especially when it came to print quality. For that reason, the company’s directors are always scouring the market for best-of-breed print solutions.

One of the owner/directors is Fredrik Uden (pictured) who, over the course of more than 25 years in the industry, has been an initial adopter and firm advocate of large format inkjet printing. He admits quite bluntly: “When it comes to quality, to be quite frank, I’m a pain to the vendors.

“What’s the point of having a printer that can’t print the best possible colours!? When I purchase a new printer for this business, I need to know that it’s going to deliver the best quality; and when people sell machines to us, they know they’re going to have to work for every sale and prove that their printers can deliver on precisely what they claim.”

 Solution: Epson – “an entirely new benchmark”

Epson large format print solutions were put to the Flash Photobition test in early 2012. Now, the company has a fleet consisting of:

  • five Epson SureColor SC-S30600 64-inch printer,
  • one Epson SureColor SC-S70600 64-inch printer,
  • one Epson Stylus Pro 11880 64-inch printer, and
  • three Epson SureColor SC-T7000 44-inch printers.

 

“We were incredibly pedantic before we bought our first Epson,” Fredrik states. “We were leaning over prints and examining them with magnifying glasses, and quickly accepted that what we were seeing was an entirely new benchmark in our industry.”

 Support for multiple media campaigns

With a range of Epson large format printers in operation, the consistency of colour and quality across all printers is a deciding factor in Flash Photobition’s ability to meet the exacting demands of its clients. This is especially important given the company is regularly producing work to support multiple media campaigns.

“We cherry-pick technologies – taking only the very best at every level,” Fredrick Uden.

“Most of the campaigns we undertake for clients require posters, self-adhesive vinyls and backlit signs,” Fredrik explains. “In these situations in particular, we need to deliver prints that have near perfect colour matching across all different media types.”

To achieve this, the company has created custom profiles for each of the Epson printers and the various media types it could possibly use. As a result, a specific red colour printed on vinyl will appear the same as it does on poster board and backlit media generated on any one of the other different Epson printers.

“Among the companies we do work like this for are high profile names in the automotive and cosmetics industries,” Fredrik says. “These are companies that have invested incredible amounts of resources into their branding – including colours – and nothing short of an exact match is acceptable for them.

“This is one of the key reasons we opted to go down the Epson path in the first place, and why we continue to bring new Epson printers in to take on the increasing amount of work our clients are giving us.”

 Working smarter and more efficiently

For the past 15-20 years, Flash Photobition has maintained the same core group of personnel. While numbers of employees has not increased significantly over that time, the volume of work received by the company has. Significantly!

According to Fredrik, this is where the reliability of the Epson printers plays a crucial role. Instead of increasing staff numbers or work hours, the company has actually been able to increase output and decrease personnel workloads. This has been achieved with the unattended printing capabilities of the Epson printers.

Where it used to be the case that staff would need to be on-hand around-the-clock to manage printing, the requirement for overnight management has been eliminated. Now, staff at Flash Photobition queue jobs for overnight printing, eliminating the need for an overnight shift, and leaving it all to the Epson printers with their advanced features.

Adding further to the operational flexibility of the SureColor printers are automatic email notification and remote management. This combination of features ensures that if a problem were to occur during overnight printing, an email would be sent automatically to a nominated operator who could log in remotely and address the issue.

For the past 15-20 years, Flash Photobition has maintained the same core group of personnel.

 The critical support factor

When asked about the load Flash Photobition puts on its Epson printers, Fredrik states quite bluntly: “We flog them! We run them harder than the engineers who designed them intended them to be run. That’s why the support structure we have with Epson and our Epson dealer is so critical.

“If you put 15 kilometres through a printer and keep running them pretty well 24 hours a day, you’re going to hit a snag here and there. But with that workload, it also means we can’t be kept hanging around for technical support. With all our Epson printers, whenever we need support, it’s there that day.”

Support also incorporates the supply of new product; and for Fredrik and his team this is almost a constant. “Our model is to always have a spare Epson printer standing by. Not for failover, but to take on the extra work when it comes in. So whenever works starts spilling over to that spare Epson, we immediately purchase another.

 Cherry-picked technology

“We cherry-pick technologies – taking only the very best at every level – that fit our goals and ensure we always provide our clients with the quality of product and service that simply can’t be matched anywhere else in the industry.

According to Fredrik, the reality of the large format industry is that there is an influx of products that are commodity-based. “From our perspective,” he says, “it’s pointless to do large format printing if it doesn’t create great impact.

“We are in a business where we could easily spend a couple of million dollars on a machine that goes blindingly fast. But we won’t compromise,” Fredrik continues. “We want to produce the very best prints that are possible for our clients that can spend millions on advertising campaigns.

“In fact, with the quality we achieve with our Epson printers, I’d be more than happy to be in a quality shootout against the printers from any other vendor!”

* Refer to individual model specifications for those features included.

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