Describe your business
We’ve been in digital for 15 years. We were originally in digital pre-press and moved into wide-format and small-format digital sheet and then into flatbed seven years ago. This is our third flatbed printer and is a huge step up from the Océ Arizona T220 we previously had. We cater mainly to south-east Queensland. We do a lot of signage and general printing – all digital based.
What have you bought?
An Agfa Anapurna M2540.
What does the Anapurna do?
It does everything. Flatbed printers are a wonderful thing. It’s the backbone of our business. It prints corflute, glass, acrylics, foam boards, cardboards, paper, banner stands – it’s limitless what it can print.
Why did you choose this product?
It was the latest release machine. It came out at Drupa. It has the latest generation heads. It’s a lot faster and cheaper than the Arizona.
Did you consider any other products?
I also looked at the SwissQprint Impala. Beautiful machine, very fast, but it’s just too expensive. It was about three times the price and I was shopping on a budget. When I first bought a flatbed, it cost $400,000. This time I was looking to spend about $150,000. I also looked at the EFI Rastek T1000, but it was more expensive. Bang for buck, the Anapurna beat everything hands down.
What features do you like most?
It’s photo quality. There’s no banding whatsoever. You do a quick nozzle check before you start and once it starts printing, it doesn’t stop. It has great colour and ink adhesion. After we cut, the ink doesn’t crack or flake off, which used to happen on the old printer. The speed is probably the biggest thing. To get that speed and quality, you’ve got to spend $250,000-plus on any other machine.
Is there anything you wish it had that it doesn’t?
A roll-to-roll would’ve been nice. The Arizona was appealing because it did have a 2.2-metre roll-to-roll built in. But because of the quality and the build and the vacuum system and ease of use, I decided to choose the Anapurna.
How fast is it?
Very quick. Our old machine took 25 minutes to print 1,200×2,400; the new machine can do it in six minutes. The old machine was 300dpi; the new machine is 1,440dpi. We used to shudder when we got large orders on the old machine, due to the amount of time it used to take to print, but now we can hammer through.
How reliable is it?
It’s very reliable. We had one little breakdown, but that was some static that jumped up from a panel and zapped a headboard, and Agfa was there the next day and replaced it.
How easy is it to use?
It’s extremely easy to use. The RIP software they supply is very easy to use. It’s probably better than the software we were using before. This one seems to be really good with nesting and cropping bits out of files, although with selective colour correction it’s not very good.
Has it saved time and money?
The speed – instead of waiting 25 minutes for one panel to print, it’s doing it in six minutes, so we’re doing four times as much printing in the same time. I can hit the market now at a lower price and still make higher profit margins.
Has it won you any new business?
Yes, it has, because it’s faster and has white ink. It’s also high quality – I can show people samples with confidence and they say they’re unbelievable.
Were there any difficulties surrounding the install?
None. They just wheeled it in and it was going within the first day and we were up and running by the end of the second day.
How has the pre- and after-sales service been?
Agfa have called up every second week. We’ve been given the direct number to the main service technician. He’s happy for me to ring him, even on the weekend, to run something by him if I have an issue.
Who is this product right for?
Every sign writer should have one. Any sign writer that doesn’t have a flatbed today is going to be out of business in five years, I reckon.
Would you buy another one?
No. Agfa has graciously given me a guaranteed buy-back for the next three years if I wish to upgrade to a bigger one and faster one. I would probably go to a bigger one rather than another one, because I’ve only got four staff.
The Anapurna M2540 is the platform many clients have been waiting for, because it is an exciting true flatbed solution, coupled with the Agfa brand and competitive pricing. The vast experience of Central Imaging’s director, Peter Arman, taught him to look at all printing platforms available and over a period of three months, his decision was made easy when the new M2540 was introduced to the industry. After two-and-a-half days for training and instal-lation, it was quickly set to work producing the stick-on furnishings for Big Brother.
Michael Culver, inkjet development manager, Agfa
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