Chroma, a full-service printer located in Theale, near Reading, has taken a significant step into the flatbed printing market with the installation of a Yotta Fr2513-R5 printer and Sinajet DK2513 cutter. Both machines were supplied by SOS (Service Offset Supplies).
This investment follows on from the success of two Roland roll-fed print and cut machines from SOS which introduced Chroma to the wide format market, the first 3 years ago and the second in 2020. Operations Director Justin Earl: “These machines have been a big success for us. To date much of our work has required us to mount vinyl to materials such as graphic boards, foam PVC or aluminium composite – so with an increasing workload it made sense for us to look at direct-to-media printing which would allow us to cut out the mounting stage. We were also increasingly being asked to produce work that could only be done on a flatbed machine and we were keen to bring this in-house.”
The Yotta machine may not be one of the UK’s best-known flatbed printer brands, but Justin Earl believes this is set to change. “It’s a competitively priced entry-level machine, but it seems to be quicker and more capable than the more expensive alternatives in its class. We did our research independently by visiting a Yotta user with our own test files and substrates, with the emphasis on speed and colour accuracy. Straight away we could see the quality and performance were more than up to the task.”
“We chose the flexible ink option for the machine as we felt this would enable us to offer the broadest range of end products to our customers. Another feature we really like is the option to increase capacity in future by adding more print heads. Although we will mainly be producing rigid signs and point of sale, we are seeing more demand for packaging including high-end, short-run projects, which is why we also included spot varnish in the spec,” he continues. “One of the really exciting things is that this machine will allow us to print on almost anything – wood, leather, plastic, glass, PVC, MDF, metal and more. We are even planning to print on table tops.”
The Sinajet cutter installed alongside the Yotta has also impressed the Chroma team. “The cutter is an amazing piece of kit,” says Justin. “Jobs which used to take half an hour to cut by hand can now be completed in minutes and with 180 tooling options it is extremely versatile. It will cut just about any shape. As well as the rigid signs it provides a viable alternative to traditional die cutting for jobs such as packaging or folders.”
With production options including Ryobi litho and Indigo digital in addition to its expanding wide format department, Chroma takes pride in its versatility in meeting the requirements of its many B2B and corporate clients. “We love a challenge,” says Justin, “our favourite jobs are where customers say ‘this is what we want, now go and figure it out!”
“We have already seen new business coming in as a result of the installation. For instance, we just picked up a big order for cardboard pallet wraps which are printed on fluted board. Also we just produced all the signage for the cafes at Kew Gardens, direct to board, which we were able to turn around really quickly. We could not have done either of these jobs without the new machines.”
Justin says his choice of supplier was an important factor. “We’ve been dealing with SOS for a few years now and consider them a valued partner. Buying a machine isn’t just about the machine; it’s about servicing, it’s about support, it’s about reliability, the full package. With SOS we know we are in safe hands.”
The installation coincided with a major expansion at Chroma – its floorspace doubling to around 18,000sq ft with the addition of a second adjacent unit, which now houses the company’s expanding large format department and caters for its growing fulfilment offering. Although turnover has slightly reduced during the Covid pandemic, Chroma is expecting to exceed its pre-pandemic turnover with a target of £3m.
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