Fremont, Calif. – Electronics For Imaging, Inc. has announced that PDI Large Format Solutions (www.pdi-gf.com), a subsidiary of Montreal-based PDI Group Inc., is the first business in Canada to install both the next-generation, high-end flatbed/roll-fed EFI™ VUTEk® h3 superwide-format LED printer, and the new EFI VUTEk 3r+ roll-to-roll LED printer. The company has also purchased and installed an EFI VUTEk FabriVU® 340i soft signage printer. This significant technology upgrade gives PDI Large Format Solutions the platform to drive growth over the next few years.
The company purchased all three printers at the 2018 SGIA Expo tradeshow. According to Jamie Barbieri, president of PDI Group Inc., the purchase ensures that the company can consistently deliver high-quality work even as volume needs expand. Plus, with its new LED and soft signage printing capabilities, PDI Large Format can recapture jobs it had outsourced in the past.
Higher capacity, quality and efficiency
“The new EFI devices take us to a new level of capacity, quality and efficiency,” said Francis Tellier, president of PDI Large Format Solutions. “We’ve increased our production capacity by 40%, and we have aggressive plans to double our annual growth for the next few years. In addition, the new devices feature significantly lower costs for ink, electricity and maintenance, which helps us maintain our competitiveness in a large market.
“When it came time to invest in new technology, we decided to build on our partnership because EFI was able to satisfy all our needs with its technology through one vendor,” he added. “They were able to give us roll-to-roll, rigid, and dye-sublimation technology with one service agreement. No one else could do that.”
With production facilities in Laval, a suburb of Montreal, PDI Large Format’s clients include many of the largest names in the Canadian retail space. The company is a recognized leader in point-of-purchase (POP) signage and specialty products, including three-dimensional custom displays.
Top-tier imaging with EFI’s next-gen LED platform
The need for faster, high-end rigid-substrate work made the VUTEk h3 installation particularly important. EFI designed the new 3.2-meter (126-inch) wide h3 printer from the ground up to offer customers higher productivity, print quality, reliability, capability and increased profitability. EFI’s VUTEk h series, which includes the h3 model and h5 model available as a field upgrade or as a direct purchase, offers high-end imaging at resolutions up to 1,200 dots per inch (dpi), and is the culmination of EFI’s decades of experience as a leading manufacturer and developer of UV and LED inkjet superwide-format printers and inks.
A new, high-velocity 7-picoliter UltraDrop™ Technology grayscale printhead technology on PDI Large Format’s VUTEk h3 printer delivers precision dot placement and consistency with eight- and optional four-color printing modes plus white, as well as nine-layer print capability. The printer, winner of SGIA’s 2018 Product of The Year award in the UV Hybrid/Flatbed High Volume Production Class category – offers maximum throughput of up to 74 boards per hour.
PDI Large Format plans to complete the upgrade to the h5 model by the end of the first quarter this year, which will increase production up to 109 boards per hour. The upgrade will establish an even higher level of throughput that will help cement PDI Large Format’s position as a leading one-stop shop for clients.
The company’s new, 3.5-meter (138-inch) wide VUTEk 3r+ roll-to-roll LED device delivers fast print speeds of up to 390 square meters (4,198 square feet) per hour, with superior ink coverage, increased color density and a wide color gamut for high-volume, premium-quality close viewing applications. The 3r+ model also has new printing modes that give PDI Large Format the ability to achieve superior-quality white printing at high speeds.
The printer features high-end, 7-picoliter UltraDrop Technology imaging, a 1,200-dpi maximum resolution, and up to eight-color (including optional white) output. It is available with a full range of productivity options such as inline-finishing and automatic backlit and blockout printing. It also offers several new options, including a motorized air shaft for precise media advancement.
With the two new LED printers, “we can deliver consistent quality to our clients, we can offer more options in finishing and colors, and we can be quicker to market, which is crucial in retail environment,” said Barbieri.
Winning more work back with high-end soft signage
In addition to pushing organic growth, PDI Large Format is reclaiming dye-sublimation fabric soft signage work it had been outsourcing using the VUTEk FabriVU 340i – the only printer in its class that offers in-line sublimation without the need for a separate calender/heat press. The four-color printer is a 3.4 meter- (133 inch-) wide, aqueous dye sublimation platform offering outstanding 2,400-dpi imaging.
“Dye sublimation work is one of our fastest-growing products,” said Tellier. “With the FabriVU 340i, we can bring that business back and continue to grow the portfolio. In addition to the quality and speed, one big benefit of the printer is the integrated calendering system, which reduces two steps to one, and generates time savings for us.”
All three of the printers at PDI Large Format use EFI Fiery® proServer digital front ends (DFEs), which provide advanced color management, workflow and production tools. The DFEs installed at the company also eliminate idle printer time using EFI’s Fiery Accelerated System Technology (FAST RIP) technology, which speeds up file processing by an average of five times compared to previous proServer versions.
PDI Large Format is a long-time EFI customer, having previously relied on hybrid and roll-to-roll EFI VUTEk UV inkjet printers for its graphics production needs. Parent company PDI Group Inc. is also a user of EFI’s MIS/ERP workflow software.
This newest round of purchases builds on the already successful relationship between EFI and PDI Large Format Solutions. “EFI has been a strategic partner for us for some time,” said Barbieri. “They know our business and have always provided outstanding service close to our facilities.”