Marco Pol with the Agfa Jeti Tauro H2500: “The density is perfect with Agfa’s Anuvia 1250 UV inks
Muller XXL nears offset quality with Tauro H2500
“We are a real poster printer,” says Marco Pol of Muller XXL from Amsterdam. But they are one in the high-end segment, because the quality requirements for an illuminated bus shelter poster from a luxury brand are high. Due to shorter campaigns and lower print runs, this demand is increasingly being met with digital print, in addition to offset. A recently purchased Jeti Tauro H2500 from Agfa should further increase the company’s possibilities.
Muller XXL, specialist in the field of producing large format posters, is a company of Sander Muller and Marco Pol. The special thing about this provider with its focus on the large format out-of-home segment – think of A0 posters and posters for bus shelters and billboards – is that it can realize these formats in both digital print and offset printing. Unique in the Dutch market. Together with Muller, Pol participates in the only sheet-fed printing company in the Netherlands that has a Roland 900 XXL 4-color state-of-the-art offset press, VOB in Hardenberg.
Anapurna H3200i LED
Because campaigns are becoming shorter and print runs are smaller, Muller XXL already invested in an Anapurna H3200i LED from Agfa at its Amsterdam location at the end of 2019. A hybrid machine, but the ability to print plates is not used. Pol: “We only print paper posters for the out-of-home market on this machine. Editions of a maximum of 25 to 30 copies, then we switch to offset. This has to do with the speed of the machine, but also with the cost per print. We are now much more flexible and can also print variables digitally, if necessary, per copy.”
The Fotoba cutting machine with the Anapurna H3200i LED in the background
They soon looked for a second digital printer from home supplier Agfa. “We already had a relationship with the former offset printing solutions division of Agfa. The service is always perfect, and they also deliver on that with digital printing.” A Tauro H2500 from Agfa had been on the wish list for some time, but initially this machine was a size too big. “However, the development of the digital out-of-home market is happening so quickly that local campaigns are increasingly being set up, as well as campaigns with different images. Just last week we had a campaign with 194 images in 19 different versions. You won’t do that with offset. And when things are quieter in the field of outdoor advertising, you see a lot of last-minute sales from bus shelter operators, which we can cater to perfectly with our digital machines, especially since the tipping point for offset has been pushed further up towards 75 copies due to the arrival of the Tauro last September.”
Operator Marco van der Ziel hardly has to attend to the Jeti Tauro H2500
Like the Anapurna, the Tauro H2500 is equipped with the CMYKLcLm ink configuration. “The density of the inks is extremely important to us,” says Pol. “Everyone can print digitally, but not everyone can produce a good bus shelter poster. That is a profession in itself. Many digital printing companies can create such a beautiful image at the front, but when the lamp turns on behind that print in the evening, the print might not look that good anymore. In offset, there is a mirrored counterprint. If you want to approximate this as closely as possible in digital print, the density of your ink is decisive.
And the density of Agfa’s Anuvia 1250 UV inks is perfect.” The Tauro H2500 mainly works in a four-pass production mode, producing approximately 50 bus shelter posters per hour. “But this quality is actually too high for many applications compared to what we are used to,” says Pol. “We are now also testing with two passes in the so-called Express Plus Mode, where some extra ink is applied to the profile and that looks promising.”
The Anapurna H3200i LED has a print width of 3.2 meters and is mainly used to produce A0 posters on Blueback, says Pol. “We have standardized everything here and only print on three types of paper: 115-gram Blueback and matte poster paper in two weights, namely 150 and 170 grams. That’s it. We serve the bus shelter market with the 2.5-meter-wide Tauro. This way we can deliver consistent quality and are most efficient. After all, you lose the most time by making a paper change.”
The spider in the production web at Muller XXL is Asanti’s workflow software
Pol briefly considered using the Tauro with tables in combination with robots, to be able to print loose sheets. However, that would require additional investments because the height of the production space does not allow this. “We are now investigating the possibilities of feeding the machine via jumbo rolls in the future. This saves on paper costs and makes it even easier to print overnight. We have already invested in a second Fotoba cutting machine and two automatic stackers that will collect the cut paper will soon be installed.”
Inkjet System Specialist Olaf Zuijdendorp from Agfa (left) discusses the color proofs
In total, Muller XXL prints an average of around 1,250 square meters per day on the two machines in Amsterdam. “With as few people as possible.” Automation is essential, says Pol. The spider in the web is Asanti’s workflow software. “More and more customers are submitting their own orders via an online platform. Asanti communicates with our CRM management system and exchanges all kinds of data in XML and automatically generates a print job. We can select jobs based on delivery date or roll width, or create collective orders, for example. And soon the labels with delivery note will be released simultaneously from the Fotoba cutting machine.”