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Game, set and match!

Game, set and match!

Tennis fans travelling to south London this year were treated to striking images of tennis star Maria Sharapova, promoting Evian – an Official Supplier to the 2015 Wimbledon tennis championships.

The back-lit posters brightening up bus shelters all around London were produced by the print, logistics and project management company, Hi-rezz, on its new Lightbar RF-640 wide format printer.

A division of Kinetic Worldwide and part of the global advertising and marketing group – WPP, Hi-rezz specialises in print production and distribution for the OOH (Out Of Home) advertising sector, both in the UK and worldwide.  Offering a comprehensive range of services, from initial creative through to final installation, Hi-rezz uses its in-depth knowledge of print technologies and wealth of production experience to deliver everything from interactive poster campaigns to 3D billboards.

In order to retain control over key projects and provide fast turnaround times for its clients, Hi-rezz operates its own in-house wide format print facilities.  Studio and Print Manager, Simon Powell, recently introduced the new Lightbar RF-640 printer to the business following research at a digital print exhibition and subsequent demonstrations.  Explaining the reasons for his choice he said:

“We needed to replace one of our older printers with a more efficient and cost effect way to print our six sheet (1200mm x 1800mm) and foursheet (1016mm x 1524mm) posters, sincewe regularly print 100m rolls of white or blue back paper non-stop and our old printer took 36 hours to process a full roll.”

However, to his great delight, Simon reports that following the company’s acquisition of the new Lightbar system, the same job is now completed in less than half that time.

The Lightbar RF-640 is a Partner Solution that combines the latest UV Light ink chemistry with the performance, quality and reliability of Roland DG print technology to produce output that’s instantly dry, immediately durable and ready to use the moment it leaves the printer.  The inks are odour free and there’s no need to allow any additional time for drying or out gassing.

Simon continued: “We’re always being asked to turn around jobs the same day and now we can trim, roll and tube up posters straight from the printer without worrying about the ink smudging or scratching.  If we get an urgent request for a dozen six sheet posters at lunchtime, we can print them on the Lightbar printer and have them finished and shipped out a couple of hours later.”

Ink consumption was another important consideration for Hi-rezz.  Even though the old printer had a litre-per-colour bulk ink system, it could run out of one or more colours when printing a 100m roll, a problem that has been eliminated since the Lightbar machine was installed.   Configured with dual CMYK ink sets, eight x 440ml cartridges in total, the Lightbar printers UV Light inks are outputting many more metres of print.

Simon observed: “We’re only using around 440ml of each colour to print 100m of colour rich, back-lit posters, so   we can confidently leave the Lightbar printer to run through an entire 100m roll completely unattended.”

UV Light inks produce a smooth, bright and flexible print finish that’s incredibly hardwearing.  The ink is a solvent-UV hybrid formulation that has just enough solvent carrier to ensure a strong, initial bond between the colour pigments and the media.  The print then passes through the UV light, which fixes the ink permanently.  The fact that UV Light inks contain more colour pigment and fewer carriers in the cartridge means that they offer far greater print coverage than alternatives such as latex ink.

Summing up the performance of the new Lightbar printer Simon concludes: “As soon as I saw the output I knew it was a great solution for our business. The OHH advertising industry is very demanding and speed is critical to us, but so is the quality of the work we produce for our clients – we can’t afford to sacrifice one for the other.   Now we have the Lightbar printer, we can meet tight deadlines, produce great looking posters and provide a same day service whenever needed.”

Wimbledon may be over for another year but the work never stops for Simon and his production team.  The Lightbar printer at Hi-rezz will continue to run around the clock this summer, producing posters and billboards for landmark attractions including the London Eye and iconic events such as BBC Proms in the Park.

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