Super-Wide Digital invests in second Agfa printer

Luke Drogan and the print team at SWD by their new Avinci dye-sublimation printer

Lancashire-based trade printer, Super-Wide Digital (SWD) has invested in its second Agfa print engine. They will largely use their new Avinci engine to produce backlit textile graphics for POS and exhibition work.

The new printer will join several dye-sublimation printers at the firm, but it’s the first dye-sub purchased from Agfa. Luke Drogan, from SWD explains: “We took delivery of a Jeti Tauro H3300 LED hybrid wide-format press in late 2019 and during Covid it worked 24/7, producing the many miles of social distancing graphics for our customers. It quickly became the production teams favoured print machine, and it was the reliability of the Jeti Tauro that gave us the confidence in the Agfa product.  So, when we decided to add another dye-sub machine to cope with the demand of our growing soft signage business, Agfa’s Avinci was a key printer to review.”

At a time when energy costs have become the number one consideration of most businesses, the dye-sublimation process, with the requirement of a heated calender unit, could be a concern for some. But SWD had the foresight to install solar panels across a large section of their roof in 2016 and February will see three times as many installed on the remaining roof space. This investment, as well as an off-site wind turbine, has meant that they will be fully reliant on their own power generation for the year providing the business with a very stable foundation.

Our first Agfa printer quickly became the production team’s favoured print machine
There is a robustness and consistency to the Agfa machines which means we can run them confidently

SWD has a huge arsenal of printers on their Bacup site and they have a policy of consistently investing and updating their equipment so that they have efficient machines using the minimum of power. They will largely use their new Avinci engine to produce backlit textile graphics for POS and exhibition work. They also have large-scale finishing which is key when dealing with textiles and can often be the bottleneck in the process. But they have the benefit of laser cutting technology on an 8×3 m bed to heat seal material edges and prevent any woven media from fraying. The business sensibly quotes lead times based on their capability of output from their finishing department as opposed to press lead times.

The Avinci dye-sublimation printer was installed in December 2022 at SWD

The Avinci CX3200 3.2m wide dye-sublimation roll-to-roll printer can print both directly to textile and to transfer paper at a speed of up to 250 m² per hour. Requiring offline fixation, it provides flexibility and reduced waste. It’s also much more energy-efficient and features Agfa’s ‘Thin-Ink-Layer technology’ resulting in very low ink consumption.

Final word from Luke: “It’s been an interesting and challenging few years in business, first with Covid, then the fall in supplies, and now the cost of living and energy crisis. As a business we have looked at a wider investment plan to help us through the turbulence and the resulting solar power and wind turbine will help us significantly this year. We are also trying to navigate through potential ‘greenwashing’ in the industry to focus on truly sustainable products and materials. Strong relationships with suppliers who have the same values are key to our business and our relationship with Agfa is growing. We are already impressed with the results of the Avinci. There is a robustness and consistency to their machines which means we can run them confidently. We are already talking about investing in more Agfa machines and I’m sure that with the benefit of their finance package, this will be a reality very soon.”

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