A Signs reaps rich rewards
Scunthorpe signmaker A Signs has invested in the new H1650i LED Agfa Anapurna print engine and, just 10 months after its installation, the company is enjoying increased profitability due to improved efficiencies.
A Signs, which was established in 1998, now produces a wide variety of signage, ranging from external building signs, internal health & safety signs, vehicle wraps and exhibition display boards to, more recently, huge pieces of wall art for its broad client base.
When owner Shaun Fisher was seeking to invest in a new print engine to speed up production time and reduce costs, he sought the advice of Litho Supplies, which provides A Signs with its printing inks and consumables. Shaun was keen to buy a UV printer and accordingly, Damian Newsham from Litho supplies invited him to a demonstration of the Anapurna at the Agfa showroom in Seacroft, Leeds. Shaun subsequently also reviewed a number of other options, but eventually concluded that the Agfa Anapurna H1650i was the best machine for his needs. The 1650 printer’s compact footprint was the perfect size for the space he had available and for the sheet sizes that the company commonly uses, but even more importantly, as a hybrid, it also offers the choice of roll-to-roll or flatbed printing with a really quick change over to each option.
“It was a sizeable investment for a business the size of A Signs but I have no regrets,” revealed Shaun. “Producing signage on my older printer required a number of processes, but the Anapurna prints in one pass, including white and comes complete with all the latest technology. I am delighted with both the speed and quality and I’m really impressed that whilst my output is up, the amount of ink usage has actually reduced. Furthermore, it doesn’t require as much ventilation to retain a pleasant working environment for staff.
“When your accountant validates that this year’s profitability is up, when compared to a similar level of business undertaken last year, it confirms that commercially speaking, I have made the right decision. It is a real USP for me when competing with other sign companies in my locality.”
The Agfa Anapurna H1650i LED machine was installed at the end of 2018, with A Signs being one of the first UK businesses to buy this new addition to the Agfa range. At 1.65m wide it is the smallest member of the Anapurna family, and is designed as an accessible hybrid printer with high quality output. It shares the same features and benefits, including high-quality imaging, ink-saving thin ink layer technology and perfect white ink printing as its bigger brothers, but 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 facilitate printing onto thin and thermal sensitive materials and is also driven by the intuitive Asanti workflow.
Shaun, who complimented Agfa on the installation and Litho Supplies for the ongoing support he has received, began his career as a painter and decorator, a trade that led to him becoming a qualified signwriter. This resulted in an early training in graphics and like many in the industry, taught him skills that he still uses each day to provide sign and display solutions for his clients. Today, A Signs has four multi-skilled employees that produce and install signage.
The company purchased its first wide format printer 10 years ago and, as well as the Anapurna, also runs an eco-solvent printer which is primarily used for one-off vehicle wraps. A Signs has become something of a specialist in vehicle wrapping and produces liveries for trade vans and farm vehicles as well as personalisation for private cars – work that Shaun describes as a great cash generator as payment is usually received on delivery.
When asked if the Anapurna has allowed A Signs to bring any new products to market, Shaun proudly presented a number of ‘wall art’ projects, huge personalised wallpapers that have been produced for a number of commercial clients. He observed: “The quality of print from the Anapurna enables me to produce very accurate ‘wall paper’ tiles, that can be easily lined up.
“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 dimension to our product portfolio and it is one that is really suited to our skillset, bearing in mind my experience as a painter/decorator. It allows clients to be creative and to decorate a full wall with a photograph of their choice. I think it’s something that we will offer to domestic consumers too, as any work that commands an up-front payment really helps with the cashflow!”
For further information on A Signs (Scunthorpe), telephone Shaun Fisher on 01724 876671 or visit: www.asigns.co.uk
For further information on the full Agfa printer portfolio, visit: www.agfa.com