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Aztec Signs selects a printer for the next generation

Aztec Signs selects a printer for the next generation

When it comes to signs, there’s nothing that Leeds-based sign and display company Aztec Signs can’t do and following the installation of its new hybrid LED printer, it will be able to further expand its impressive list of capabilities.

The company recently purchased an EFI VUTEk h3 from CMYUK, and now, this next generation, 3.2m wide, hybrid, LED printer is central to the company’s continued profitability, providing an immutable platform for increased capacity and step-change quality.

In addition, the machine’s environmental credentials will help Aztec Signs to reduce its energy consumption by 82 percent.

The EFI VUTEk h3 will replace the company’s previous EFI VUTEk GS 3250 printer, and will operate alongside its existing Esko X-44 digital cutting table, which was installed 18 months ago and was also purchased from CMYUK.

Chris Jameson and Tom Wilton originally founded Aztec Signs in the former’s sitting room in 1988, when it specialised in the creation of slide presentations, before becoming an early adopter of wide-format digital printing.

Tom Wilton explained: “During the last 30 years, we’ve been through a wide range of large format printers in various guises, ranging from water-based machines through to those using solvent, UV and Latex inks, so we’ve got a pretty wide view of all the various technologies.”

The company, which now has a staff of eight, operates from an 18,000 sq. feet premises on the outskirts of Leeds City Centre which it owns. It services both trade and end-user customers and particularly prides itself on being able to create any type of sign, for any sector across the board, with all work being carried out in-house.

The VUTEk h3 is its third generation EFI VUTEk printer. Wilton continued: “We’ve been using EFI VUTEk printers for 12 years now, all purchased through CMYUK, our regular hardware supplier. We did look at other machines, but we couldn’t find anything that was comparable at the same price point and, since the h3 has been on my radar since I first saw it at FESPA in 2018, we decided that it was the right machine for us!”

The h3 is a belt-driven 3.2m super-wide, industrial volume printer that features a totally reengineered hybrid platform. A ten-channel system, it can output up to nine layers in a single pass at very high resolution and features three rows of Ricoh’s Gen 5 print heads. It also offers a one-day field upgrade path to the h5 configuration that sports five rows of print heads.

The environmental attributes of the h3 are an important benefit for Aztec Signs. According to a Fogra study it uses up to 82 percent less energy consumption, has fewer moving parts and also reduces waste thanks to its reliable colour consistency and simple operation. In addition, it further extends the range of supported substrates, including lower cost and added value specialty media. Wilton observed: “The h3 is set to deliver massive energy savings and it is also helping us to improve our environmental credentials, but a key driver is the step-up in quality.”

 Aztec Signs purchased the printer after visiting EFI’s demonstration facility in Zaventem, Belgium with CMYUK. Wilton recalled: “The trip to EFI provided us with a thorough understanding of how the printer works and demonstrated the improvements it could offer when compared with other machines. Unlike a trade show setting, we were able to really put it through its paces in a real hands-on, one–to-one manner. At trade shows, stand demonstrations usually output highly coloured, attractive prints, but here we could really test our true requirements, such as the delivery of a solid red.”

Wilton believes that the higher quality and greater capacity of the h3 will equip Aztec Signs with the confidence to pitch for higher volume jobs, without any concerns. He said: “We’ll continue to keep everybody happy and to deliver on our service turnaround times, but we will also be able to find additional new clients too.”

Working with a new LED printer that can support a greater range of substrates, means that the company will be reviewing the breadth and scope of materials it will be using. In line with its environmental aspirations, Aztec is keen to explore the advantages of PONGS materials, which are sold exclusively by CMYUK in the UK and Ireland.

 The purchase of the EFI VUTEk h3 is testament to the continued growth and success of Aztec Signs and, as far as co-founders Chris and Tom are concerned it is also a marker for the company’s future.

“Chris and I are very much seen as the business,” said Wilton, “but at some point, fairly soon, we’ll want to step back. We have a young workforce and they will be the ones who will be taking the business forward, so we’re putting them in a position where they are properly equipped to do that. The h3 is a choice for the next generation, it’s about moving the business forward without us, and I know that it’s a machine that we can all rely on to help us achieve precisely that.”

For further information on Aztec Signs, visit:

 For further information on CMYUK, visit:

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