When demanding customers don't want to see any dots.
Coupralux, Dallas, USA, there is a digital pioneer who is absorbed in the artistic side of digital printing. His specialties: digitizing of artworks, and fine art printing. The Nyala 2 flatbed printer has simplified processes, set new quality standards and made printing operations more profitable.
Mike Bowers’ relationship with his Nyala 2 resembles how some people cherish, care for and show off their sports cars. “It must look immaculate all the time,” he emphasizes. The large-format printer is not only his workhorse, but also a marketing tool. “Telling the story of the printer and my company is one of the primary ways we develop new business,” he explains enthusiastically.
The company indeed has industry roots that go especially deep. Back in the 90s, Coupralux was the digital pioneer for all of Texas: the first and only one in the business to offer digital prepress with both image scanning and digital proofing. Originally, Mike Bowers and his team processed photographs. Coupralux eventually added print services to the prepress capabilities. Today, artwork has moved up to the forefront.
Fine art printing
Sixty percent of business comes from artists and photographers. Interior decoration elements make up the other forty: mostly wallpapers and other custom wall coverings destined for public buildings such as hotels, hospitals and office complexes. “We place high demands on ourselves and print every job to the highest quality,” Mike emphasizes, “even when it would not be strictly necessary for certain applications.” Coupralux also profiles each and every print substrate used to ensure optimum color reproduction. “Taking this level of care every step of the way gives us an edge on the competition,” Mike sums up. “Customers know and appreciate that their work is in good hands at Coupralux.”
The ink configuration of the swissQprint flatbed printer is largely responsible for photorealistic rendering. Mike had his Nyala 2 fitted out with light cyan, light magenta and light black in addition to the standard CMYK process colors. Light black in particular was crucial to the investment decision, since this ensures finest rendering of detail. “Our customers don’t want to see dots,” of this Mike is certain. The remaining color channels carry white and effect varnish. The latter gives printed products a special finish, matt or glossy, for visual impact or serves as fingerprint protection. White comes into play mostly for printing onto transparent media.
Light colors for rendering of finest detail: Coupralux customers do not want to see dots.
The Nyala 2 must always look immaculate: for Mike Bowers it is a workhorse and a marketing tool.
Quality under control
Coupralux has offered UV printing for several years, but until late 2016 this was always outsourced to different providers. “We were seeing massive fluctuations in quality,” Mike recollects. Procedures were cumbersome as well, and with all said and done it was hardly a profitable business. “With the Nyala 2 in house, we’ve now got a grip on everything,” says Mike. The team has established quality and process standards, and works strictly according to them. Workflow is now consistent, leaner by far, and above all steady. “Word of this advance quickly spread around,” Mike reports. Order volumes for UV printing doubled, if not tripled, within six months of the Nyala 2 taking up residence.
Reliability holds prospects
“I get to stay late and work really hard since the Nyala 2 arrived,” says Mike with a laugh. This he willingly accepts, provided the machinery works as reliably as the Nyala 2. Mike’s strategic principle is to operate multiple machines wherever he can – for safety backup reasons. But when it comes to swissQprint, capacity considerations are main driver behind thoughts of acquiring an additional printer. Yet whatever the future may hold, top quality remains his prime goal. “From this angle too, swissQprint is perfectly in line with the concept,” concludes Mike.