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EFI VUTEk h5 UV LED Printer Boosts Schiele Group’s Speed and Efficiency

The Schiele Group’s motto is “Print Smarter,” but with its recent acquisition of an EFI VUTEk h5 superwide-format inkjet solution from Electronics For Imaging, Inc., it could easily become “Print Faster.”

Founded in 1948 by Henry Schiele and now headed by second-generation family member John Schiele, the Chicago-based company prints nearly a billion pieces of printed materials each year using multiple formats, including sheetfed, large- and small-format digital printing, as well as sheetfed and web offset.

This is The Schiele Group’s second EFI superwide-format printer after the VUTEK GS3250.

The Schiele Group often prints on media as varied as styrene, Sintra and aluminum composite board, which makes the versatility of the VUTEk h5 printer even more important. The 126-inch-wide device is a hybrid flatbed/roll-to-roll printer, and it features EFI’s “cool cure” UV LED imaging, which helps ensure excellent adhesion and premium-quality imaging on the extensive range of substrates The Schiele Group uses for display graphics production.

“We went with the VUTEk because it’s fast, and more efficient,” said Page. “There’s never any downtime and the print quality is amazing.”

The newly installed EFI VUTEk printer, which is being used for production as of this month, offers The Schiele Group more with premium-quality features, such as a clear ink spot gloss, a persuasive selling point when pursuing new clients.

“The spot gloss feature gives prints an extra pop,” said Page, adding that the smaller, reversed-out text the printer can produce is great as well.

The EFI VUTEk h5 with three-quarter automation is part of EFI’s super high-speed portfolio of high-volume display graphics production solutions. The printer’s UltraDrop Technology 7-picoliter grayscale printheads feature true multi-drop addressability, high-definition print, and crisp text quality with outstanding smoothness in shadows, gradients and transitions.

Offering superior imaging in resolutions up to 1,200 dots per inch, the VUTEk h5 prints with an eight-color inkset or – using its extended-gamut four-color inks in a CMYKx2 configuration – delivers high-quality output at speeds up to 109 boards per hour. The cool cure UV LED imaging on the VUTEk h5 reduces the amount of energy needed for curing or drying compared with conventional UV or latex printers, plus it allows for printing thin or challenging substrates that cannot withstand the heat required with mercury-arc UV or latex printers.

While many print businesses struggled with slower business during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Schiele Group experienced a major uptick in large-format digital work, while web and sheetfed jobs remained steady.

“We pivoted to COVID-specific offerings, so a lot of things that we weren’t doing before there was a massive need for, like dividers and other safety-related products,” said Shannon McNealy, the company’s senior marketing manager.


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