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Double vision: Two machines for less than the price of one

Print Solutions Wide Format Solutions

Plymouth’s PDS Print has installed two new machines supplied by SOS – a Xenons X-180 hybrid flatbed/roll fed wide format printer and an Almeida B8-2513 digital cutter. According to director Gordon Bryan, the investment represents a deeper dive into wide format for the company, which has its roots in litho production.

‘We took our first steps into wide format with a solvent based Roland roll to roll machine which we got from SOS five years ago, mainly producing posters and banners. It became such a success it was running 24 hours a day – so it was clear we needed extra capacity,’ he said. ‘A major client was asking for more and more work produced on rigid media, which meant mounting to board, a time consuming process. So, we needed a hybrid machine which would produce direct to materials such as Corex, but also meet demand for our roll fed work.’ Gordon took some time to investigate the market for wide format hybrid equipment. ‘SOS offered us the Xenons’ machine and the Almeida cutter for less than the price of a standalone hybrid machine from its rivals – it is literally two machines for less than the price of one. At first, this put me off a little – you wonder how it is possible – but we were reassured that the Xenons uses the latest Ricoh printheads, which is the key component. Other users gave us good reports, and the test prints we did looked great,’ he said.

Gordon continued, ‘The cost may have been low, but the quality has been high. I can honestly say it has performed perfectly from day one, no matter what we have thrown at it. We are very concerned with colour accuracy and it has been calibrated to match the output of our other devices. The other big plus is productivity; because it is an LED-UV machine, drying is instant, and because we opted for a rolling bed on the Almeida cutter, we have automated poster cutting which saves us upwards of four hours a day and frees up our operator.

‘The cutter is very versatile, it comes with a big set of tools as standard – not as optional extras. The speed is great and the accuracy is amazing.’

The Xenons X180 has a maximum width of 1.88 metres and will print on ACP, foam, board, flute board, glass, ceramic tiles, wood, and on a wide range of vinyl and flexible media. The Almeida cutter is available in a wide range of sizes, in this case 2.5 x 1.3 metres.

PDS Print was founded by Gordon’s father Ron Bryan in the mid 1970s, making it arguably the longest surviving print company in Plymouth. Gordon Bryan says that adaptability has been the key to the company’s longevity: ‘You have to update and go with the times. We have installed these machines because we know digital and wide format print are the future.’


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