Innovation and export: foundations for success
Bex Design Services’ Ian Board explains how a close working relationship with film specialist MacDermid Autotype has led to productivity improvements and the introduction of innovative print products
acDermid Autotype’s latest range of hard coated screen and digital film materials is helping Bex Design Services improve the productivity of its print operation, while delivering enhanced product quality, consistency and reliability. The products are also helping the company explore new, innovative production methods, especially for high value membrane and fascia components.
Company director, Ian Board, explained: “Our success is based on a number of factors. These include an ongoing commitment to ISO standards, a determination to minimise the impact our operations have on the environment, continuous staff training and development, plus constant innovation, with the goal of always improving the quality, performance and value of the products that we produce. In turn, this depends on the relationship that we have with our suppliers, especially machinery, inks and films.”
High value products
Bex Design Services now sources all its screen and many of its digital films exclusively from MacDermid Autotype. This is especially important for high value products, such as membrane keyboards and fascia panels, as the company’s customers expect the highest quality with, for example, exceptional mechanical, optical and chemical resistance properties.
In the past, Bex Design Services has trialled materials from other suppliers as Ian explained: “However, we have always found these to be inferior to those produced by MacDermid Autotype. For example, competing materials can be difficult to handle, can mark or scratch easily in production and do not offer the same combination of hard surface finish
and chemical resistance, so we end up having a significant proportion of reworked or rejected parts. Even something as simple as interleaving the films with protective sheets, which is standard with MacDermid Autotype materials, but not generally done by other suppliers, can make a huge difference in production, as it ensures that every box of film is in perfect condition when it arrives at our factory”.
Perhaps as importantly, by working closely with its suppliers, Bex Design Services can pioneer new and often innovative techniques that add value to the services provided to customers. These have included the ability to produce large area, high definition glass panels for vending machines, investment in LED, cold cure, UV print systems that reduce production stages and, most recently, the use of MacDermid Autotype’s Autotex Steel film materials.
Five million actuations Ian added: “Combining screen, digital and flexible inks with Autotex Steel is allowing us to create flexible membrane and graphics overlays that look like they have been manufactured from stainless steel. In addition, we’re able to carry out all the normal production techniques, including embossing for tactile keys, while still retaining the traditional combination of hardcoat mechanical and chemical properties, with a typical flex life of over five million actuations. “We’ve now worked with MacDermid Autotype for many years. Their film materials have always performed exactly to specification,
SCREEN PROCESS AND DIGITAL IMAGING l October/November 2010
indeed, we’ve never had cause to return a batch, while their technical and customer support has consistently been second to none. All in all, when it comes to advanced, high quality films for screen and digital print we will choose MacDermid Autotype every time”.
Autotex Steel lets Bex Design Services create flexible membrane and graphics overlays that look like stainless
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