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Lauren Displays' journey began in 2006 when it invested £1.2milion in both digital and lithographic kit in order to offer customers a one-stop-shop for point of sale and display related products. Then, in August 2007, the company was bought wholly by London based agency Creo Retail Marketing in an affiliation that should see the joint turnover of the two entities soar to £20million by 2011.
With Lauren Displays' digital and lithographic printing divisions sorted; and an infusion of management skill, staff expertise and state-of-the-art facilities breathing life into the company; it seemed Lauren Displays could look forward to embarking on a new and lucrative era. Yet earlier this year production director Matt Foney recognised that there was one final place in the company that required a technological make-over before the business could be classed as truly regenerated: the company's screen prepress department.
"Forty per cent of the work we produce for customers passes through our screen department," Foney explained. "It was only natural we turned our focus to improving our processes in this area of the business so that it would be inline with the improvements we had made elsewhere in the company. We therefore consulted various suppliers to see what our options were with regard to upgrading our film making equipment that we had been using for the last eight years. It was then we came across the Lüscher JetScreen DX from Sun Chemical; a radical new CTS system that had the potential to streamline our stencil making operation and increase quality at the same time."
Lüscher's JetScreen DX is a second generation machine that combines the company's established JetScreen WAX system and its computer to plate technology for the offset sector. It is the first and only screen CTS system available on the market that directly images the stencil with blue laser diodes.
Mike Farmer, equipment manager for Sun Chemical, the sole distributor for Lüscher's screen portfolio in the UK, said: "Whilst Lüscher's preceding Jetscreen Wax CTS system remains the market leading system in the UK and Ireland, this new innovation from Lüscher and use of blue laser diodes is truly unique and is set to capture the market for consumable free CTS systems; competing systems utilize a high-density UV light and over time the consistency of quality achieved will be compromised.
"The JetScreen DX is the only true laser CTS system that uses no wax and offers reliable results time and time again. JetScreen DX is also unique in that it does not require the specialist consumables required with competing CTS systems and it is fully compatible with Sun Chemical stencil emulsions and Sefar meshes."
Lauren Displays went on to order the system early in 2008 and subsequently became the first JetScreen DX customer in the UK. Since going live with the system, the JetScreen DX has increased Lauren Display's prepress capacity by over 50 percent. Having replaced the company's manual film making operations, from which the company traditionally made around 30 stencils a day. The JetScreen DX is producing the same amount of stencils for the company's two screen presses but in half the time. This is because the system directly exposes the stencil and omits the need for a number of processes such as developing, stepping-up, cutting and mounting the film. According to Foney, the amount of intervention required from the employee in order to manually create stencils made the process highly unreliable and it was not unusual for up to 30 per cent of jobs being terminated due to film contamination or human error.
He said: "Having to just handle film makes it prone to contamination, which can negatively impact the quality of the image and the amount of throw-aways we experienced as a result would end up costing us a fortune in lost time and materials". The reduction in errors, plus the fact we no longer have to buy film processing consumables means we are on track to save £100,000 in consumables and related services alone per year. Our new automated process also means we are now confident in being able to deliver the job to our customers on time, without having to worry about mishaps happening along the way.
"It was obvious from the outset that Lüscher's CTS technology would move the company forward in a way that would allow us to stand out from the competition," continued Foney. "We were familiar with Lüscher and recognised the brand as the leading name in screen prepress technology, so we were confident we were installing the best in class machinery. The fact that it is the first system to incorporate blue laser technology; which means it can be used with regular screen consumables and promises to deliver consistent results over time; means we are future-proofed from needing to upgrade again in the foreseeable future."
Sun Chemical has since become Lauren Displays' key partner in the supply of pre-press and screen technology and support, in an agreement that takes advantage of Sun Chemical's ability to provide a comprehensive service that is currently unrivalled in the marketplace. The supplier agreement means Lauren Displays will receive all of its screen requirements from just one central point. "Our new agreement with Sun Chemical means we save time by not having to shop around," concludes Foney. "We now have just one designated contact that ensures we receive an uncompromised level of customer care at all times from one of the world's leading suppliers to the graphic arts industry. The move fits in with our objective to improve the way we operate through consolidation and automation; to enhance the level of customer service and quality we can offer in order to become one of the UK's most successful display printing enterprises within the next three years."