"Its been like going from a Fiesta to a Ferrari" at Image Signmakers, Carlisle
A Mounter’s Mate Workstation and a 1600hs laminator have boosted throughput at this busy sign maker on the borders between Scotland and the Lake District. “It’s been like going from a Fiesta to a Ferrari!” With the Workstation, he says “We do quite a lot of hoarding work for one of our customers who’s a builder. This is Dibond and foamex panels and that sort of thing. It was taking two men to cover panels and now it’s become a one man job.”
Will, Image Signmakers, Carlisle
Installing a Mounter’s Mate laminator and flatbed application table has been like having extra staff, says Will McGillivray. “It’s been like going from a Fiesta to a Ferrari!” He’s the owner of Image Signmakers in Scotby on the outskirts of Carlisle. His company offers a full service of sign making, vehicle graphics, banners and similar large format printed work, to customers throughout nearby Cumbria and south west Scotland. It was set up in 2005 and now employs three people including Will.
The main printer is a 1.3 m wide Mimaki CJV30-130 eco solvent printer-cutter, printing mainly onto self-adhesive graphics, which it can also cut to shape. The company already had a laminator to put protective and effects film onto the vinyl, but mounting the vinyl onto board and other materials was originally done by hand.
At the end of 2018 Image Signmakers ordered a Workstation flatbed application table from Mounter’s Mate. This is the top of the Mounter’s Mate range and features solid construction and precision machined rails and linear bearings. The 10 mm flat toughened glass bed has LED illumination beneath and is supplied with a cutting mat to let the Workstation double as a work bench. The gantry includes a heated silicon roller and a feeder for application tape. A compressor powers the pneumatic roller lift.
“We never had a flatbed mounter before, so it’s a new type of machine for us,” says Will. “We contacted Mounter’s Mate and we went to look at a machine – Omar Benmez the general manager there recommended one of his customers so we could go and have a look. We went and we were impressed with it and obviously it's also value for money compared to the rivals. We felt that the quality of the machine combined with the value was very competitive.”
“We do quite a lot of hoarding work for one of our customers who’s a builder. This is Dibond and foamex panels and that sort of thing. It was taking two men to cover panels and now it’s become a one man job.”
Being able to use the Workstation as a second work bench is also worthwhile, he says. “It’s doubled our bench space so it’s freed up the first bench. Two of you can be doing the same thing, one can be cutting up prints ready to pass them to the other one on the Mounter’s Mate.”
McGillivray also uses his Workstation for small laminating jobs where it’s more economical than loading the laminator with a special film material. “It’s enabled us to save material because you have to run a metre or so in the laminator every time you make a change. It means you’re not wasting materials and time in swapping things about.”
At the same time Image Signmakers ordered a new 1600hs laminator to replace its older machine. This is a fast and efficient 1.6m wide machine that can apply hot or cold adhesive film. A high quality pneumatic system ensures that pressure is applied evenly across the width.
It’s certainly proved its worth: “It has increased accuracy, speed and only needs half the manpower for laminating,” says Will. “The machine is very accurate, it works fast and we’ve had no teething problems. Literally we only needed a quick lesson from the engineer and it’s been excellent. It’s transformed that side of things.”
Again, the really valuable aspect is the efficiency and labour savings, says Will. “With the old laminator it was a two-man job where we could maybe do 10 metres at a time. Now one person is comfortably doing 50 metres. It has increased speed and only needs half the manpower for laminating. The machine is very accurate, it works fast and we’ve had no teething problems. It’s transformed that side of things.”
Personal service from Mounter’s Mate’s Omar Benmez also helped in the initial stages, says Will. “Obviously we’re quite experienced in sign making, and laminating, but the Mounter’s Mate guys showed us how to use the flatbed and get our bearings with the laminator, just to familiarise ourselves. Literally we only needed a quick lesson and they’ve been excellent. I suppose you could say that the machines have both turned two-man jobs into one-man jobs. It’s like taking on an extra member of staff!”