The £360,000 machine went into John E Wright’s Nottingham base last week and replaced a seven-year-old HP Scitex FB6100. It prints POS materials, banners and exhibition displays on Foamex, vinyl and fabrics for retailers and fashion houses.

The company was pipped by Format Graphics in Milton Keynes, which became the first printer in the UK to own the wide-format digital inkjet machine when it purchased one this spring. EFI launched the machine in 2011, describing it as a “breakthrough” in super-wide technology.

According to John E Wright managing director Tony Barnett, the machine’s standout features are speed and quality, producing 100sqm/hr at saleable quality.

“It is so much quicker; there’s no finishing or real labour input – it drives itself and is incredibly fast,” he said. “The quality is exceptional. There is no banding; it’s almost as good as old-fashioned print and mount but less than half the price.

“We had a good relationship with HP and wanted to stay with them, but they didn’t have a machine in this particular market at this price. The nearest alternative cost twice as much.”

Another plus was cool curing, he said. This made the Vutek GS250LX more “forgiving” when it came to printing on vinyl and fabrics. Barnett said he expected the machine to add £1m in two years to the firm’s turnover, currently £6.5m.

“It is extremely productive and we want it to take us into new areas, which we couldn’t reach previously because of quality issues. The market for silky fabric exhibition displays is growing rapidly and we want to play a big part.

“This investment offers immediate benefits of speed of production, an extended range of substrates, more colour-management capability and fewer production costs. We will transfer flatbed production to the new Vutek by the end of June.

“The significant reduction in power requirement reduces both our costs and our carbon footprint, thereby underpinning our ISO14001 environmental and ISO 9001 quality qualifications of which we are proud.”

Family firm John E Wright was formed in 1900 and today has more than 100 employees in seven regional offices. The ‘hub and spoke’ business has its main base in Nottingham with around 50 staff, said Barnett.