Trade & Discount Signs expands its horizons with Agfa
Owner partners, Sylvia and Bill Islip of Trade & Discount Signs in Sandy, Bedfordshire, are no strangers to Agfa products, having run a wide format Agfa machine for over six years. But having just replaced it with a new and faster model, the Anapurna H1650i LED, they’ve seen immediate benefits for their business.
Commenting on the machine, which was installed in September this year, Sylvia said: “It may be the smallest Anapurna engine and great value for an industrial printer, but it was still a considerable investment for a business of our size. However, the benefits we’ve seen have already been huge. The new print engine is, on average, five times faster than the old machine, which has given us much more time to trial new products, approach new markets and broaden our customer base.”
Other benefits quoted by the partners included the energy savings offered by the LED bulbs on the Anapurna and the vast improvement in quality, particularly when printing white on to a material. In addition, they can now also print directly onto rigid media and the ink is fixed without having to laminate, which massively reduces both production time material costs.
They were also impressed by the fact that the machine now has small stirrers on each ink tank (with back up batteries should the electricity cut out), which constantly stir the inks to stop the pigments congealing. Further, they discovered that the Asanti workflow that drives the machine is very simple to use.
Trade & Discount Signs began trading with Bill at the helm over 30 years ago. Bill wasn’t a printer by trade, but a Civil Engineer and came into the sign industry almost by accident when he started producing golf signs. After four years the company was at the forefront of the production of health & safety signage and the business grew in line with this new and buoyant market. In those early days, the production process was very time consuming with the hand cutting of vinyl and overlaying. Today it’s a much more automated process, but Trade & Discount Signs’ experience over the years has meant that it’s become an expert in its field, to the extent that it often advises Facility Managers of local businesses on their health & safety requirements.
Ten years ago Sylvia joined the business to bring marketing skills to the company and further broaden its client base. Since then it’s added the production of temporary road signs and corporate signage to its product offering. Bill and Sylvia now anticipate that the new Agfa press will help them fulfill other targeted areas that they didn’t have time to work on before.
Trade & Discount Signs now resides in its third business premises, with each move offering more space to fulfill the growing demands on the business. Nowadays, some of its customers come from further afield, as facility managers move to new companies but continue to rely on the expertise that Trade & Discount Signs can provide. It now has a total of six employees and as well as the new Agfa system, also uses a wide format latex printer and a cutter/router.
Sylvia and Bill did view alternatives when they decided to replace their wide format printer, but concluded that Agfa’s Anapurna H1650i LED was a perfect entry-level industrial machine at an affordable price point. At 1.65m wide, the Anapurna H1650i LED is the smallest member of the Anapurna family, and is designed as an accessible hybrid printer. It shares the same features and benefits of high-quality imaging, ink-saving thin ink layer technology and perfect white ink printing reliability with its bigger stablemates, but is keenly priced and compact enough to fit into smaller spaces. Other useful Agfa features include 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. It is also driven by the intuitive Asanti workflow too.
The machine was installed in just two days last September and Sylvia confide that she was extremely impressed with the Agfa service.
She concluded: “I was actually staggered at how smoothly the installation went. We were up and running in just two days. We are very fond of our local and favourite Agfa engineer Marcus, who we have worked with for the past seven years and has almost become a member of the family!”
For further information on Trade & Discount Signs, telephone: 01767 680889
For further information on Agfa printers, visit: www.agfa.com