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Agfa helps Henderson Print drive growth

Agfa helps Henderson Print drive growth

Henderson Print, based in Belfast, has invested in a wide format Agfa Anapurna H2500i LED press, which, according to the company’s Head of Print, Alan Ritchie, is taking it into a new and more profitable market.

The business, which started as the print department for the £800 million turnover Henderson Group, appointed Alan Ritchie 34 years ago to expand the print business by attracting work from outside the group. Today, with an annual turnover of more than £3 million, over half of which is work obtained outside the Henderson Group of companies, Henderson Print has invested in the new Agfa hybrid machine to grow the wide format division of its business.

Henderson Print is an established litho print provider that has been located in its current premises in Michelin Road since the acquisition of Dargan Press two and a half years ago. It now has 29 employees and runs two B2 five-colour presses and a B2 two-colour press. It already has four Roland roll-to-roll wide format printers and its latest investment adds a Kongsberg plotter/cutter machine working alongside the Agfa Anapurna H2500i LED digital wide-format press powered by the Agfa Asanti workflow solution.

The company did have the advantage of knowing that the wide format business they could pitch for from the Henderson Group justified the purchase of a new Agfa Anapurna, even though it has to compete for that business on price, just like any other provider. It purchased the new Agfa kit through its print supplier GPMI, with which it has enjoyed a long working relationship.

Alan Richie explained: “We were looking for a flatbed printing solution that we could use to print on to rigid substrates when we visited the last year’s Sign & Digital UK exhibition and upon our return we were given a demonstration of the Anapurna by Alan O’Brien, Director of Technology at GPMI in the company’s Dublin showroom and we were absolutely blown away by the quality of the print. Agfa has a great reputation for product innovation and that, coupled with an attractive price and service contract, plus the fact that Agfa’s Peter Doyle is very responsive to our needs, meant that David Brennan at GPMI quickly closed the deal.”

The installation of the Agfa Anapurna H2500i LED went smoothly and to date, Henderson Print has experienced very little downtime. It insisted on having Alan O’Brien from GPMI carry out the training as it rates his technical ability and the production employees within Henderson Print know him well.

The Anapurna H2500i LED printer is a high-speed hybrid UV LED-curable inkjet press with a printing width of 2.5m which can be used to produce both indoor and outdoor applications. It has been designed to use minimal ink, using Agfa’s ‘Thin Ink Layer Technology’, thus keeping reducing the cost of consumables while also offering an environmental advantage too.

The Agfa Asanti workflow is a complete, automated sign and display production hub featuring a colour management solution, integration with the latest version of Adobe PDF Print Engine (APPE), highly specific functionalities (e.g. nesting, see-through concept, proofing support) and fast, automatic pre-flighting. It will streamline Henderson’s workflow by simplifying its processes.

Alan Richie concluded: “We see a lot of our future expansion coming from the digital wide format side of our business. There will always be a market for litho, but I don’t see it growing at the rate we require, especially as a new litho press now costs upwards of £1.5 million. By comparison, wide format equipment printers are much more reasonably priced and inkjet printing technology offers myriad application opportunities.

“The Anapurna’s quality is superb, and our customers are really impressed with the sharpness, definition and colour strength of the images it generates. Furthermore, it enables us to be more creative in what we offer. It’s a great investment when outputting short print runs that can be personalised to suit specific customer requirements and will give us a real competitive edge in the future.”

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