Scunthorpe sign maker A Signs has invested in Agfa’s new Anapurna H1650i LED print engine and, just 10 months on, is enjoying increased profitability due to improved efficiencies. A Signs, established in 1998, produce a wide variety of signage, from external building signs, internal health & safety signs, vehicle wraps, exhibition display boards to more latterly huge pieces of wall art for its broad client base. The owner, Shaun Fisher, was looking to invest in a new print engine to speed up production time and reduce costs enabling him take on more work and increase efficiencies.
The purchase of the Agfa printer came via its relationship with Litho Supplies, who supply A Signs with printing inks and consumables. Shaun was keen to buy a UV printer and Damian Newsham from Litho supplies invited him to a demonstration of the Anapurna at the Agfa showroom in Seacroft, Leeds. Shaun subsequently reviewed a number of other options in the market and concluded that the Agfa Anapurna H1650i was the best fit to his needs. The 1650 machine was the perfect size for the space he had available and for the sheet sizes they use. As a hybrid it also offered the choice of roll to roll or flat bed with a really quick change over to each option.
“The machine was a sizeable investment for a business the size of A Signs but I have no regrets,” said Shaun. “Producing signage on my older printer required a number of processes, but the Anapurna prints in one pass, including white, it comes complete with all the latest technology and I am delighted with both the speed and quality. I’m also impressed that whilst my output is up, the amount of ink usage has actually reduced, and the room doesn’t require the same level ventilation to be a pleasant place for us all to work.
When your accountant validates that your profitability is up on a similar level of business to last year, it confirms that commercially I have made the right decision. It is a real USP for me compared to other sign companies in my locality.”
The Agfa Anapurna H1650i LED machine was installed at the end of 2018 and A Signs were one of the first UK businesses to buy this new addition launched in February last year. At 1.65m wide it is the smallest member of the Anapurna family, designed as an accessible hybrid printer with high quality output. It shares the same features and benefits of high-quality imaging, ink-saving thin ink layer technology and perfect white ink printing reliability yet is less expensive and will fit into smaller spaces. It still features automatic head height measurement, crash prevention, an anti-static bar and air-cooled UV LED lights that allow printing on thin and thermal sensitive materials. It is also driven by the intuitive Asanti workflow too. Ten months on Shaun agreed to this case study as he was keen to access its benefits before commenting. He compliments Agfa on the installation and Litho Supplies on the endless support he has received and on the new products that he has been able to produce with time freed up by the machine.
Shaun Fisher, owner of A Signs, began his career as a painter and decorator, a trade that led to him becoming a qualified sign writer. This resulted in an early training in graphics and like many in the industry, skills that he still uses each day to provide display and signage solutions for his clients. Today A Signs has four multi-skilled employees that produce and install signage. The company purchased its first printing machine, a Roland DG wide format 1.6m roll to roll, around 10 years ago which has been replaced by this new Anapurna. They have kept an eco-solvent Mimaki 1.6m JV33 running, not only for failover, but now almost exclusively for individual vehicle wraps. A Signs has become something of a specialist in vehicle wrapping, largely trade vans and farming tractors, all bespoke and personalised and it has become a great cash generator for their business as payment is usually received on delivery.
When asked if the Anapurna has allowed them to bring any new products to market, Shaun proudly presented a number of ‘wall art’ projects, huge personalised wall papers for a number of commercial clients. “The quality of print from the Anapurna allows me to produce very accurate ‘wall paper’ tiles, that can be easily lined up”, said Shaun. “The 1.65m size is perfect, any larger and it would be difficult for one person to wallpaper/install and line up. Wall art adds a new product to the business, one that is really suited to our skillset with my past in decorating. It allows clients to be creative and have a full wall decorated with a photograph of their choice. I think it’ll be something that we will offer to consumers too as a mix of business that has up-front payment all helps with the cashflow!”