Printflex grows Victorian signage business with new HP Latex R2000 Plus

The Victoria-based company has also managed to gain several efficiencies, including better quality of print, following the recent install by Ball & Doggett.

It has only been a few weeks since Printflex has had its new HP Latex R2000 Plus, supplied by Ball & Doggett, up and running at its Victoriabased facilities, but the signage and installation company has already seen the many benefits it provides.

Printflex invested in the HP Latex R2000 at Visual Impact Sydney 2023 as a UV flatbed printer that it owned had reached its lifespan after serving the company for many years.

As a quality-driven digital printing and finishing company, Printflex specialises in large-format signage, event installation, graphic design, as well as custom retail and exhibition displays.

Printflex founder Mark Brook said, “I started a promotional products company 22 years ago and then morphed it into a printing company about 10 years ago, working out of a spare room at Bondi Beach in Sydney.

“I bought a DTG printer and was initially focused on direct printing onto garments. It was the latest, cutting-edge technology in its day.

 “One thing led to another and I decided to move the business to Melbourne for various reasons. That’s when I bought our very first small roll-to-roll solvent ink printer and started printing banners for an established customer base that I had generated over the years.

“Business picked up, which led me to buy more roll-to-roll equipment. That’s when I phased out the solvent ink printer and purchased the HP Latex 365 from Conect Enterprises – now a part of Ball & Doggett – in 2016.”

The company also went on to purchase two HP Latex 570 units after seeing success with the HP Latex 360. To ensure that the business continues to deliver on perfect results every time for its customers, it has now chosen the HP Latex R2000 as the latest addition to its fleet.

HP’s Latex R series is a hybrid flatbed solution that produces high-quality output on rigid and flexible substrates.

Featuring HP’s high opacity White Latex ink, it delivers dense, glossy whites that will not yellow over time. HP’s Latex ink is water-based, odourless, and UL ECOLOGO Certified, and the output can be used in sensitive environments.

The HP Latex R2000 Plus has a maximum media width of 2.5m in rigid and flexible materials and supports up to 50mm thicknesses. Adding additional extension tables allows users to print on oversized sheets up to several metres in length.

Proactive alerts and preventive services ensure more productivity and the ability to meet production peaks and generate new business.

One of the key reasons for Printflex’s move away from the solvent printing space and its investment in the HP Latex R2000 was the significant environmental impact of the Latex range of machines.

(l-r) Printflex’s Stuart Lacey and Mark Brook with the new HP Latex R2000 Plus 14

“It’s just a real joy to use versus the solvent printers. The machines are much more user-friendly, and the staff enjoy using it as the smells from the solvent and UV machines are gone. Our staff are enjoying working on the HP Latex R2000 knowing that they don’t have to go through laborious maintenance jobs, which goes a long way when it comes to retaining good staff,” Brook said.

“Customers are now also increasingly expecting us to use environmentally-friendly machines and that was one of the reasons for our purchase of the HP Latex R2000.

“The other reason is the better quality of print as this machine allows white ink printing that we can use for our jobs. We print a lot of high-end events signage and our UV technology just didn’t have the quality that the R2000 gives us now. The colours and tones that we can produce are incredible.

“That’s a real value add for our company as we’re now able to do jobs that we haven’t been able to do before. We also get a lot more done in a day than we had before. The machine is very efficient – 10 minutes into a shift and we’re already printing.

“For example, we now buy gold aluminium composite panels and print directly on them with absolute clarity. So, instead of spending time weeding out and applying vinyl, we print straight onto the sheet, cut and it’s out the door. We save hours of production time and increase quality at the same time.

“We’re really excited about the opportunities that will come from it and we’re already seeing its benefits as our business is expanding – we’ve picked up two large customers already from the R2000 technology – and we’re getting new work that can only be done using this machine.”

The HP Latex R2000 Plus on the day it arrived at Printflex
The HP Latex R2000 Plus on the day it was delivered to Printflex

Expanding business opportunities

Brook said the guidance that he received from the Conect team in the past and more recently from the Ball & Doggett team, following its recent acquisition of Conect, has been second to none.

“As a business owner in the print industry, as everyone knows, we can’t afford to have any downtime. Conect and Ball & Doggett have been terrific in working with the Printflex team to solve any problems or issues as they come. I could not have asked for better service from them as they bend over backwards to get things resolved in a timely manner,” Brook said.

“Both the business’ commitment to being available when any maintenance was required, or any questions needed answering, has been unwavering.

“The expectations that I had to keep the business going previously was well and truly met by Conect Enterprises. It has been a terrific partnership with Conect in the past – and following Conect’s acquisition by Ball & Doggett – I’ve been extremely happy with my decision to choose Ball & Doggett as a partner moving forward.

“Mike Callander and Avinash Rajah from the team have worked closely with us and not missed a beat. That gives Printflex the confidence that it will have continuing support from Ball & Doggett and it keeps our customers happy too. We also buy a lot of our materials and stock from Ball & Doggett, so communication has been seamless and we only need to deal with a one-stop-shop now for all our needs.”

Ball & Doggett has integrated the Conect Enterprises business into its portfolio and with that move, further solidified its strong position as a supplier into the signage market. It has also enabled the distributors of printable materials and consumables to have a play in the hardware space.

“The Conect team has got lots of customers that are very similar to Mark’s business – they’re all long-standing relationships. That’s our business strategy. We work with our customers to have the correct and best solutions for them,” Ball & Doggett equipment and service national manager Tatjana Ferguson said.

“We partner with some excellent OEMs, such as HP, who bring to market solid products. We’ve found that it’s the environmental aspects of that which make our job easier when it comes to selling. The team at Conect have been amazing – we acquired the business into Ball & Doggett in September and are close to fully integrating.

“Conect has such an amazing team of people that are dedicated to their service capability, sales, and building on the longterm relationships that it has established. As Ball & Doggett, we want to make sure that we take those relationships to new levels and that we support the market and our customer base as much as we can.

“For our team, it’s not just about selling things – it’s about education and support. That is very much a part of the Ball & Doggett strategy.”

Printflex finds the HP Latex R2000 Plus “a real joy to use”

Future-proofing a business

Moving forward, Brook has plans in place to grow Printflex as a business and take it to new heights.

“We’ve got a few plans in place, some of which I can’t reveal yet. There is a new sector that we’re looking to establish ourselves into, which is very exciting for us. We’re also picking up a lot more high-volume jobs due to the efficiencies of the R2000,” he said.

“We’re also getting more business from the high-end events side, which enables us to produce boutique printing solutions for clients. That’s with the acrylics, for example, and reverse printing with white ink.

“We’re getting great jobs, high margins, and great output with high-quality prints. This means happier customers of ours.”

Ferguson added that the HP Latex R2000 will benefit any sign and graphics business that wants to print directly onto rigid materials.

“The HP Latex R2000 is all about future proofing a business with added capability, particularly with the white ink. And as more corporate businesses consider sustainability, they will engage businesses like Printflex,” she mentioned.

“As for Ball & Doggett, it is exciting for us to have equipment as part of our offer to market. That came with the acquisition of Conect, and we’re very focused on growing that part of our business.

“We’ve always had a great range of consumables, so this is the next logical step for us in supporting the market and being able to offer our customers like Printflex an end-to-end solution, encompassing equipment, software, service, support, and a comprehensive range of both rigid and flexible materials, inks and anything else that customers want.

“We’re also open to looking at additional product ranges if our customers require them so that we can offer them the right solutions to help them grow their businesses. We’re excited about the possibilities for Ball & Doggett and our customers – we’ve even expanded our team to further add value for them.”

Printflex has already picked up two large customers from the R2000 Plus technology and is getting new work that can only be done on this machine
Ball & Doggett staff installing the machine at Printflex

Team expansion

Ball & Doggett has made two internal appointments to newly created positions, expanding its sign, display and digital equipment team.

Tatjana Ferguson, who has over 30 years of experience in the sign and display market and has worked for key wide format suppliers such as Fujifilm, Konica Minolta, Anitech and Spandex, has been named as equipment and service national manager. She was formerly equipment brand manager.

Her new role will further establish the Ball & Doggett business as a market leading supplier to the wide format market throughout Australia.

“Although Tatjana has only been with the business for a short period of time, she has demonstrated a number of skills required to elevate our service and equipment sales throughout the sign, display and digital division,” Ball & Doggett general manager Rob Brussolo said.

“Over the years, her experience has resulted in a thorough understanding of what is needed for success and most importantly customer satisfaction. Tatjana has excellent industry connections and is considered a results-driven, creative and innovative thinker, able to scope, develop and implement best practice.”

The company has also named Jeffrey Kline as its service and sales coordinator.

He has many years of experience in the digital printing industry and is a skilled and knowledgeable professional with a proven track record of success in sales and business development. He has worked for businesses such as ErgoSoft, GBC and OnBall & Doggett said his background includes technical and management experience, making him well-suited to navigate the complex and ever-evolving world of equipment service and sales. In this role, Kline will be supporting the wide format equipment service and sales team and liaising with customers and vendors to ensure the team delivers excellence in customer experience.

“Jeff has been with Ball & Doggett since February and coupled with his vast industry experience, has demonstrated a number of skills that are required to elevate our service and equipment sales throughout the sign, display and digital division,” Brussolo added.

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