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  • We've ordered another printer – Platinum Q3 3.2m Hybrid

    Posted by David McDonald on April 3, 2022 at 7:05 pm

    Hi All

    I’ve been asking for advice on the boards on larger printers over the last 12 months and finally, we’ve made a decision and placed an order. We’ve gone for a Platinum Q3 Hybrid from Liyu UK. I intend to blog our progress with the printer as this is one of those business-changing investments and we’ve put in so much due diligence into this decision.

    Firstly, the Video of the machine is shown at the bottom of this post:

    and the company
    https://www.liyu-uk.com/

    We’re due for installation in 4-5 weeks and can’t wait to get started, that said we’ve already printed and installed a fair meterage off their demo printer whilst we await our unit and the quality is equal or better to any UV we considered.

    Briefly, the reasons we settled on the supplier and model were;

    Build quality – as good as anything we compared it to and high spec branded components and assemblies throughout.

    Print quality – fully loaded with KM1024 heads CMYK, Lc, Lm, White and Varnish (we had the ability to spec the heads/brand and permutation to meet our profile of work)

    Speed – Sellable high quality up to 85sqm/h, topping out over 120 sqm/h, linear rather than belt drive.

    Support – 2 years warranty, full UK engineer coverage (Albeit we are 15 minutes away from their HQ which is convenient)

    Trust – we have long experience of dealing with Eddie and the team on our outgoing flatbed and they’ve always given timely service. This gave us faith to consider this relatively new brand to the UK, although the amount of sales they seem to have going through will mean it will soon become more widely known. I’ll admit though its a big purchase for us and I’m still naturally a little nervous.

    Value for money – overall a great package but don’t want to share prices.

    Apologies if this sounds a bit ‘salesy’ but we are really excited about getting the unit installed and moving onto a new chapter in the business. We have 4 weeks now to pull both workshops apart, move all the other kit around to fit the printer in, build some 3.2m roll storage, get a roll lifter, get the electrics sorted……… . . . . . . . .

    The next step is to replace the HP560 with an 800W later this year and that’ll do us for printers for a length of time.

    I’ll post more in due course but please ask any questions.

    Cheers

    Dave

    https://youtu.be/Yb4kShWV590

    Robert Lambie replied 1 month, 4 weeks ago 11 Members · 17 Replies
  • 17 Replies
  • Graham Scanlan

    Member
    April 3, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    As it’s a new brand name, I did a bit of research (it’s the way I roll) I’m sure it’s a great bit of kit with great support

    a company incorporated 24 August 2020, with a bit of a past Uvtech was struck off in 2011 and quantum uv 2014 I hope it all works out well for you m8. I’ve no axe to grind and I’m sure your deal is solid but it was a new name and a quick jump on companies house pulled it up, I think I may have a touch of OCD

  • David McDonald

    Member
    April 4, 2022 at 2:29 am

    Hi Graham, interesting info, it is a great piece of kit and a solid deal, we’ve dealt with Eddie and the team since 2016 and we’ve only ever had good advice, experience and superb support for the 6 years. We’ve researched the brand internationally and we’re more than satisfied with the results. We’ll give warts and all updates when it’s commissioned, so far so good and the kit with the package should give us a competitive advantage, watch this space.

    Cheers

    Dave

  • Mark Johnston

    Member
    April 4, 2022 at 9:50 am

    now that is one sweet looking machine!

  • John Thomson

    Member
    April 4, 2022 at 9:56 am

    What a beautiful machine.! I am envious.

    John

  • John Hughes

    Member
    April 4, 2022 at 6:08 pm

    Well done David….looks the business. Hope you said thanks to the finance boss😂

    We’ve just ordered a Canon Arizona 135GT with a added roll feed but only 2m wide so will you been selling to the trade now?

    Re your roll lifter… if you haven’t got a forklift already think about that option because so useful with sheets etc etc

  • Khalid Bashir

    Member
    April 5, 2022 at 8:53 pm

    Wow, that’s a great looking machine, probably need a fork lift to load the vinyl 🙂

    Very impressive!

    Congrats

  • David McDonald

    Member
    April 6, 2022 at 12:19 am

    Hi John Hughes

    Nice choice with the 135GT and the roll option. We needed to go a bit wider as we wanted to start printing seamless wallpaper – polycril / rafa canvas.

    We will more likely try increase our e-commerce non-trade sales first – less demanding customers. If we do go down the proper trade supply route it will only be when we’ve absolutely nailed the printer, software, workflow, packing etc, plus we’ll need more finishing kit – can’t see it in the immediate future, may be just on a more local basis.

    It has taken some time to produce and present the business case to our Financial Director, aka my wife 😃, she runs a tight ship indeed. Forklift is a good idea but were tight for space.

    Cheers

    Dave

  • Leslie Anderson

    Member
    April 6, 2022 at 1:44 pm

    WOW, what a machine, very impressive. I don’t know what it does, but looks great! 🤣

  • Robert Lambie

    Administrator
    April 6, 2022 at 9:00 pm

    I am not familiar with the brand, Dave. but it does look like an impressive bit of kit mate. 😎
    Being only 15 minutes drive from them certainly is a bonus!
    I look forward to reading your Blog updates mate. these type of posts are definitely the best way for other sign makers to learn about the pros and cons of making purchases like this.

    👍

  • Paul Millard

    Member
    June 2, 2022 at 11:33 pm

    I was impressed with the Liyu machines when I saw them at FESPA a couple of years ago. I will be keen to hear how you get on in real-world scenarios, setting up and using.

    As someone who spends over £200k a year on buying in print, I am always interested in how I can bring some of these services back in-house.

  • David McDonald

    Member
    July 25, 2022 at 4:42 pm

    Hi All

    A very quick update.

    The Platinum Q3 has arrived and is currently being commissioned – we should be printing towards the end of the week. I clearly can’t give any comments relating to printing and operation yet but so far the logistics and getting the unit in place have been seamless, and we’re mightily impressed with the installation team and the overall engineering fit and finish of the printer.

    I know we’d measured up many times to decide on the exact position and how our physical workflow would operate around it BUT to stand next to it in the flesh its bloody massive!

    Anyhow, more to follow.

    Cheers

    Dave

    • Dave Rowland

      Member
      August 10, 2022 at 8:59 am

      Wow what a machine – reminds me of the Durst that was around back when I was active sign maker here… Looks like u expanded a lot

  • Robert Lambie

    Administrator
    July 26, 2022 at 2:49 am

    It’s massive and looks like a beast of a machine, David. 😲

    Looking forward to hearing how you get on with it and seeing what you make with it!
    Exciting times for Poppy Signs! 😎👍

  • David McDonald

    Member
    November 28, 2022 at 7:37 pm

    Hi All

    It’s been a while since I last posted that we’d just got our new Platinum Q3 printer and thought I’d post an update.

    We’ve had it 3-months now and we feel like we now know the machine very well beyond the basic operation, so we’ve got that sense and feel of how to get the best out of it.

    Firstly, we are extremely pleased and delighted with the unit. We’ve printed a huge range of materials, using every combination of ink layering, and print settings and every time we try something new it just works. I’ve broken our feedback down into sections below. We are happy to recommend the printer range to anyone (who isn’t a local direct competitor to us)!

    1. Build Quality.

    Everything remains rock solid, and sound and we are still impressed by how heavy duty and even ‘over engineered’ everything feels. There is nothing plasticky or flimsy anywhere on the unit. The main gull wing doors over the print area weigh a ton though – they’re not difficult to lift with the gas struts but you can feel the weight in them. In operation it just sounds smooth, no vibration.

    2. Print Quality / length / repeatability / white ink / registration / materials / adhesion / speed.

    Print quality isn’t a standalone item and obviously is related to print speed, pass count and feathering between passes etc. You have a great deal of flexibility in setting this up, but we’ve experimented and settled on 2 standard settings for each media group, a ‘high quality and a ‘high speed’. Generally, this equates to circa 40+sqm/h high-quality, and circa 60+ sqm/h high-speed. The print quality at the high-speed profile is better than our previous Arizona at its best quality, and the high-quality profile we’ve created is probably higher quality than we actually need. We’ve tried printing faster and reckon 2-pass, minimum feathering would be getting above 80 sqm/h and could be sellable for specific jobs, but we’ll probably never use it. We’ve used Onyx for ever and have upgraded to the latest version with this printer – so it’s all very straightforward to drive. We’ve had excellent feedback from our customers on the print quality and colour matching. We are still mightily impressed by the quality and the lack of any unexpected results.

    Print length and repeatability has been faultless. We’ve printed a few wallpaper jobs now for atrium / tall stairwells and even though we’re printing 3.2m wide we’ve had to tile multiple drops due to the walls being wider than the 3.2m roll width. The first one had drops of around 6m+ height and we couldn’t perceive even the slightest fraction of a millimetre length difference between each piece – not a single pixel. Likewise perfect colour matching between drops. We’re still trying different media brands for the one-piece wallpaper, and one did start to gently finger on the printer meaning someone had to stand-over it smoothing these out to prevent scuffing. Not sure if that was the brand, our settings, or the printer. The other 2 brands worked perfectly so I’m thinking towards the brand but well monitor that one.

    The white ink is extremely smooth and a nice bright vibrant white. We recently ran a reverse on clear job with a white ink flood on the back for a run of glass, circa 100m length. When installed and you looked at the back of the vinyl it was a totally consistent solid run of white backing from end to end, no variations in the solidity of the white at all. We had the white at a higher density and it was somewhere between 30-40 sqm/h, in hindsight we should have used a lower density to speed this up and it wouldn’t have mattered for viewing of the graphic from the other side. We find a purge once in the morning and again if the white hasn’t been used for 4+ hours. Overall great white printing and the white ink is the same price as the other inks.

    Double sided print registration is a complete doddle to achieve, we didn’t expect the accuracy of a dedicated flatbed with pop up pin registration, but nevertheless very impressive with the bar that drops down to square up to, and the 4 or 5 (can’t remember how many) end stops. Clearly the conveyor bed movement must be accurate and true, likewise the gantry and alignment must be very accurate. Mostly we’ve printed double sided on correx boards but many long thinner banners which would have shown up any deviations. Side A never gets any marks, scratches or scuffs on it as you print Side B. The only thing to mention is an operator issue and common sense in that there are large heavy pneumatic rollers that you optionally drop onto the media on the feed and output sides to clamp it if required – you must remember to give them a clean from time to time or it introduces dust and artifacts onto the substrate (single or double sided). Overall, really good.

    We’ve put through Monomeric vinyl, polymeric vinyl, one way vision, all adhesive types on the vinyl, 320/440/510/710 single- or double-sided banner, every thickness of Correx, every thickness of PVC, 3/5/10/20/25mm acrylic, 38mm timber tabletops (they looked superb), 12mm/18mm ply, 12mm MDF, ACM, Hoarding. All the latter just printed great without any issue, the adhesion on the acrylic and ACM is extremely good – CNC’ing through them is perfect without any edge chipping – all just very clean. Prior to the Q3 we never printed direct to ACM on the previous Arizona which just wouldn’t adhere well enough even with primer – so we can’t give a wider comparison, that said we did have the pleasure of giving a demo of the Q3 to another sign company not long after we’d had it installed – they mostly print site hoarding boards and they’d used a variety of alternative printers – I don’t know if they’ve now gone on to get the same unit but they were amazed by the quality and ink adhesion, the best they’d seen. We don’t use any primer. On the strength of how good it prints we’ve recently won a tender for 200m’s of hoarding panels to be installed January.

    3. Ink costs.

    I can’t tell you exactly how much its costs per square metre, I keep meaning to work this out exactly – as a guesstimate it’s got to be less than £1 per sq/m on average and as mentioned the white (and varnish) are the same price per litre as the colours. If the ink usage wasn’t so light, then I’d have been more motivated to measure this properly! The ink layers are really thin but still everything is dense and vibrant. When we’ve laminated prints, you can hardly feel the ink under the laminate, again only got our previous UV to compare against but that was like an embossed tactile map in comparison. I’ll post an update in due course on a proper measured price. I understand ink prices are going up in price in the New Year but if that’s just inflationary they are still cheap enough.

    4. Training & Support.

    The lads were brilliant in showing us the unit and software but as we were experienced in UV printing and the use of Onyx, we didn’t require a lot from them, more a case of showing us the basic functionality and general differences in using a flatbed to a hybrid and we just started using it and asked questions as we went on. When we’ve needed usability / feature help they’ve been very responsive calling in or over the phone. We’ve not had any support issues other than after 1-week we needed some additional calibration of the printer, and a pipe in the chiller unit need some minor attention – they were straight on it and nothing since. I reckon if you’ve used a RIP and another UV it’s an easy transition.

    5. Trade printing.

    I recall someone asking if we’d be doing trade print now we have the Q3, yes only if you are within our normal day to day range of travel in the NW, Lancashire, North Merseyside, Greater Manchester – all areas we can deliver with our own vans, no to other locations and anything that needs sending by courier (as 50% of the time we get a courier problem – but that’s a whole other thread we could start). We aren’t intending to go gung-ho into trade supply but if you are stuck, please ask and we’ll do our best to help. The Q3 does have the capacity to be a trade supply workhorse if that’s your business though.

    6. Overall value for money.

    OK, it’s not cheap in that printers of this size are a big investment (it was a big step up for us with associated risks), but it was very competitively priced and is performing so well so far that we’re sure we’ve got the value for money we thought we’d be getting – we did a lot of investigation and due diligence in the market. It’s paying for itself already, we no longer have print bottlenecks, and we’ve won new business on the strength of new products, output quality, and economy. So, all good so far.

    Hope that’s interesting to someone, otherwise I’ve just wasted an hour!

    I’ll post some more pictures and videos when I’ve got a free moment.

    Ask any questions please ask away

    Cheers

    Dave

  • Jeff

    Member
    November 29, 2022 at 12:31 pm

    thats a great write-up david. very helpful mate.
    its way out my league, but it looks a cracking bit of kit to own. 👍

  • John Hughes

    Member
    November 29, 2022 at 6:16 pm

    Well done David. Good to know all is good and your happy with the printer. Always a slight risk with that sort of investment but rewarding when it pays off.

  • Robert Lambie

    Administrator
    December 1, 2022 at 8:55 am

    This a brilliant follow-up to your original post, David and really interesting to read.
    It is impartial product reviews from actual sign makers making a purchase like this and then using it in a real-world environment, which makes your views and opinions so valuable for others that are considering doing the same. Especially when you take into account the cost of the product itself.
    I say this from personal experience of spending £80k on a flatbed printer 12 years ago that turned out to be a bag of crap. Fortunately for me, I demanded a full refund about 8 months later and got it all back, but hadn’t I had this site and my position in the industry, I doubt I would have. Which is enough to shut down a small company being stung by an investment like this. So thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback David, it is very much appreciated.