Hélio Corbeil is partnering with Electronics For Imaging, Inc. for a transition into digital printing by investing in an EFITM VUTEk h5 UV LED hybrid flatbed/roll-to-roll printer, an EFI VUTEk Q3r UV LED roll-to-roll printer, an EFI VUTEk FabriVU 340i dye-sublimation printer, and EFI Pace MIS workflow software. The Paris-based company decided to enter the digital printing space to offer new services to existing customers as well as attract new customers.
“We want to be able to provide a set of unique and complete services to our customers from digital printing of magazines and all types of communication materials, such as leaflets for advertising, municipal services, etc., and large-format printing – while also offering a professional and personal experience,” said Bruno Arasa, CEO at Hélio Corbeil.
Hélio Corbeil has nearly reached the 200-year-old milestone, specializing in high-volume gravure printing. Gravure, however, has been on the decline for several years and Hélio Corbeil has experienced decreases in volume and price wars, not to mention environmental challenges.
“It was important for us to get out of the volume/price spiral,” said Arasa. “We therefore took the step last year to first launch digital printing for small and medium-sized magazines as well as for large-format communication.
“EFI was an obvious choice because of the versatility its printers offer. They allow for creativity, but especially excel in productivity, where we will be able to easily meet short deadlines from our customers. Because of EFI’s reputation, we know the company will help us in our ambition to become a new major player in this market.
“But it is important to note that the machines are not everything,” Arasa added. “It is also the men and women who make up the EFI network who supported us in our digital journey. Our success will also be their success.”
With the changing landscape and the major pivot in business model, Hélio Corbeil is rebranding to a new name emphasizing its digital printing capabilities – H.C.N., or Hélio Corbeil Numérique. Along with the rebranding, the 30-employee company is moving to a new, 64,000 square-foot facility in Combs la Ville, France.
With the new EFI VUTEk h5 printer, H.C.N. will be able to position itself in a new market, while providing customers a high-end guarantee on printed products. “We chose the VUTEk h5 for its ability to maintain a high level of color quality, while keeping a high speed,” said Arasa. “In a world where uncertainty has become the rule, even more so post-COVID 19, we wanted a press that could quickly switch from rigid to flexible, and vice versa.”
The new 126-inch-wide printer provides eight colors plus white, and up to nine-layer print capability. With a resolution of up to 1,200 dots per inch (dpi), the printer’s eight ink channels can be employed in a faster CMYK x 2 mode capable of producing up to 109 boards per hour.
H.C.N. invested in the EFI VUTEk Q3r roll-to-roll printer to better position the company in the large-format space. “To become a major player in the large-format market, we needed a very productive roll-to-roll printer with many integrated finishing options so that we don’t saturate our cutting fleet unnecessarily,” said Arasa. “Additionally, the quality of the VUTEk inks, which are certified according to environmental criteria, will also allow us to use a wide range of media with very good durability.”
H.C.N.’s new 137-inch-wide roll-to-roll printer prints up to 6,006 square feet per hour and features up to nine ink colors – standard CMYK and optional lc, lm, lk, white and clear coat. H.C.N. will be able to gain outstanding smoothness in shadows, gradients, and transitions, as well as precise and sharp 3-point size text with a true resolution of up to 1,200 dpi.
The two new UV LED printers at H.C.N. include EFI UltraDrop Technology, featuring native 7-picoliter printheads with multi-drop addressability for high-definition image quality. The UV LED curing ensures energy cost savings compared with mercury arc UV and latex printers, for more environmentally friendly printing that consumes less energy while enabling the use of thinner, heat-sensitive substrates.
With the new EFI VUTEk FabriVU 340i dye-sublimation printer, H.C.N. will be able to deliver premium soft-signage textile graphics. The machine prints up to 2,690 square feet per hour and is also the first production-level solution in its class that offers direct-to-fabric production and in-line sublimation without the need for a separate calendar/heat press. As a result, H.C.N,’s direct-to-textile prints – such as fabrics for beach flags, textile walls or Smart Frames – are immediately ready for finishing and shipping after printing.
“We couldn’t go into large format without also investing in a machine that prints on textiles with sublimation,” said Arasa. “To us, the VUTEk FabriVU 340i was the best combination of quality and speed. The choice of VUTEk was also to remain consistent with the rest of the equipment and to have only one interface and one supplier. This should make us more efficient, more cost effective and more in control of the processes of all the large-format printing technologies.”
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