The new investment is a Longier RU 3200 3.2m roll-to-roll printer, adapted to include a unit that lifts fabric material from the bed. This makes it ideal for printing mesh banners and Contra Vision graphics, work that WAE Group has secured more of since the first Longier printer was installed in 2015.
"We wanted both a dedicated flatbed and a dedicated roll-to-roll to avoid changeovers, as they can be time-consuming," explained Paul Austin, Managing Director of Leeds-based WAE Group. "We have enough work to warrant the two machines."
Paul Austin explains that the new Longier RU 3200 will replace an older 3.2m-wide printer that had come to the end of its working life; the company was finding replacement parts increasingly expensive and difficult to source. Furthermore, WAE Group was drawn to the more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly LED-curing system offered by the UV Longier, which also leaves prints touch-dry immediately after printing to speed up finishing processes.
"LED is definitely the way to go over mercury lamps," he says. "We've decided to embrace the technology as and when we replace older machines, and expect to have a full suite of UV printers in the near future."
The company's MD adds that he was so impressed by the reliability and quality delivered by the Longier Hunter FP-3750 LED flatbed over the past two years – during which time it has been used for paper, glass, acrylics, composites for hoardings, cardboard for POS displays and more – that a second Longier from QPS was the obvious choice.
"Out of all our machines, the Longier flatbed's quality is the best we have; we use it for when we need a really high-end finish," says Paul Austin. "It offers a smooth print with no banding, it's good on fine print and the coverage is nice.
"It's also very reliable, it just keeps on going. We've had minimal problems and those have been rectified very quickly – which is refreshing after experiencing long waits to sort things out from other service companies in the past."
In fact, WAE Group has not seen the new Longier machine in the flesh, but has found its existing printer from the brand, and the service and support it has received, so reliable that the company trusted the recommendation of QPS's Managing Director Chris Bailey.
"We've never been let down by Chris before so we're fairly confident the new Longier is a good choice!" says Paul Austin. "We got updated information and watched some videos of the printer online, but didn't feel the need to have a full demonstration or to shop around."
Chris Bailey comments: "We're big fans of Longier at QPS because they really are reliable workhorses that provide great printing quality – as WAE Group have discovered over the past two years. We were able to supply a roll-to-roll printer with a small alteration to make it perfect for WAE Group's specific requirement of printing mesh banners, but the UV-curing technology is suitable for a whole range of substrates and applications. They're brilliant machines and we're delighted to be a Longier supplier in the UK."
The new Longier RU 3200 3.2m roll-to-roll printer is scheduled to be installed at WAE Group's Leeds print room in mid-September. It will join a number of other printers, five of which run Nazdar digital inks, also supplied by QPS.