Loop looks ahead with Mimaki UCJV installation


"This has given us an edge without a doubt"




Commercial printer Loop Print has installed a Mimaki UCJV300-160 to spearhead the “next step” of its wide-format evolution.

The new Mimaki replaces an EFI Vutek QS2000 flatbed and was delivered to the Sheffield-based printer last month. It will also pick up some work from a Roland VersaCamm VS-420 solvent printer that will remain onsite as a back-up.

The printer cost around £24,000 and is Loop’s first Mimaki. The company chose it for its high-quality output after a demonstration from Barnsley vendor Sabur Ink Systems at the Sign & Digital 2018 expo in Birmingham during the spring.

“It’s not quite replacing two printers completely, but this machine is definitely our next step,” said managing director Chris Gray. “The speed is not quite as high as the old Vutek, but its quality is just in a different league and we do not do huge volumes, so we had breathing space speed-wise.

“Running with a mounting table, it has a very quick setup and the drying is immediate – its UV-LED curing was the absolute selling point. It also means we can do white now and the overall quality is just fabulous.

“For our clients, we can show them that the reliability and stability of its reproduction is superb, and jobs come out scratch-proof with no need for lamination. As soon as we saw this at the show we knew this was our bag.”

Mimaki’s UCJV300-160 inkjet system takes media up to 1.6m wide and prints resolutions up to 1,200dpi with the aid of two drop-on-demand piezoelectric printheads. It prints at a maximum speed of 25sqm/hr.

It will produce a variety of wide-format graphics jobs for Loop, including posters, banners, exhibition displays, vinyls and self-adhesives.

On its 1,486sqm premises, Loop also runs a five-colour B2 Komori Lithrone S29 H-UV press and a Heidelberg Speedmaster 52, as well as full in-house finishing capabilities.

With 22 members of staff in his employ, Gray said the next steps would be more measures to keep Loop “ahead of the game” in what he described as a “very difficult marketplace”.

“This has given us an edge without a doubt,” he said. “Only a month in, we can already tell this will be a good investment for us and we look forward to continuing to push things forward at Loop.”


Komori H-UV choice keeps Loop Print ahead

"The decision to choose the fast drying technology will help differentiate the Sheffield printer says managing director Chris Gray."




Loop Print has joined Komori’s H-UV club, installing a five-colour Lithrone S29 to replace a seven-year-old Speedmaster SM74-5, which, says managing director Chris Gray, “was due for replacement”.

The Sheffield company has its eyes on expanding work for the agency market and with the range of effects that will be possible, the ability to print on plastics and to process even uncoated stock immediately, Gray believes the press will set Loop apart. Currently, however, he says “we are still in training mode. We may not be at full speed yet, but it’s looking promising.”

The company began looking for a replacement machine around 18 months ago, calling in both Heidelberg and Komori for presentations. Subsequent visits to printers running H-UV stirred the excitement about what the press might do for the business.

“It highlighted not just the obvious benefits of the system, but also the added value it generates and the tactile finish and colour intensity it produces. These are features which are becoming increasingly important for branding on high end promotional brochures, mailings and leaflets which are the mainstay of our business at present,” says Gray. “To me it was a no brainer.”

The additional cost of the H-UV compatible inks is offset by eliminating a sealing coat which has been added to aid handling and getting rid of spray powder, he explains.

Loop is running with Toyo Ink, which had been principal supplier to Komori until its more recent deal with Siegwerk. The Toyo product is the proven combination, though The additional cost of the H-UV compatible will also test the alternative before settling on its preferred option. Likewise a final decision will be taken on plates once the press has settled in fully.

The company has a large format arm running a Vutek flatbed and Roland DG roll printer which are used to print on plastics and Gray sees an immediate opportunity to print smaller format vinyl and polypropylene items on the litho press. “There will be some interesting opportunities,” he says.

“This press gives us a point of difference from other printers. We can print and finish immediately which is what is needed in today’s market.”


Loop Print moves to Komori


Digital and litho printer Loop Print has taken delivery of a five-colour B2 Komori Lithrone S29 with coater, its first Komori machine.


The printer was installed last month and two of Loop Print’s staff are currently being trained on it by Komori operators.

It replaces an outgoing five-colour B2 Heidelberg Speedmaster SM 74, which Loop Print managing director Chris Gray said had “had its day”.

Gray said: “The Komori was a complete package. We are historically a Heidelberg house and we were getting to the point where we needed to replace the Speedmaster. As far as I could see there were only two options, Komori or Heidelberg, anything else was a bit of a risk.

Komori came in, took us to a couple of installations and showed us the options and we took it from there really. They have been great and accommodated us with the installation dates and training dates because we were quite specific.”

The Komori prints at speeds of up to 16,000sph and takes a maximum sheet size of 530x750mm. It has an H-UV curing system, which Gray was particularly impressed with.

He said: “I was sold on the H-UV; I like it very much. Work is instantly dry the second it is off the press and it enables special finishes.

“I am of the opinion that just producing commoditised print is a tough thing to do if you are up against the online boys. We want to be involved in branding and adding value.
“The only drawback I can see is the cost of the ink, about two and a half to three times the price, but apart from that we are saving in certain areas.”

Gray said he thinks the Komori will be a "massive help" and will lead to faster makereadies and a cleaner print room for the Sheffield-based company.

Loop Print employs 23 staff in its 1,500sqm premises.

Other than the Komori, it also runs two Konica Minolta bizhubs, a two-colour Speedmaster SM 52, and also does large-format work on its Roland DS540 and Vutek QS2000 machines.