As the digital large format print business continued to increase due to more customization and shorter runs, A&M Printing, headquartered in the San Francisco Bay area, needed to address current customer needs for larger runs on corrugated boards.

The company added the capability of printing on corrugated boards with the high-flow vacuum table on the Fujifilm Acuity F series high productivity UV flatbed printer, Fujifilm says.

The Acuity F67 with a double bed supplied A&M additional print capacity with higher speed, Fujifilm says.

This is the first Acuity F with a highflow vacuum table installed in the U.S.

The Acuity F is the most productive printer in the Acuity series, with a maximum print speed of over 1,600 square feet per hour activating six printheads per color channel with a total of more than 27,000 nozzles.

Five years ago, Leo Lam, A&M’s president, saw growth in their clients’ need for large format print related to trade shows, POP graphics and winery promotional items.

The high-flow vacuum provides more than 15x the standard airflow, and is engineered to draw down and hold down distorted, warped sheets of rigid media like corrugated boards. Its pneumatic registration pins minimize operator involvement and allows for quick, easy and accurate positioning of material and loading in perfect register, maximizing productivity says Fujifilm. “Before we bought the Acuity F67, we actually had to run three shifts around the clock in order to keep up with those demands,” said Lam.

A&M prints on multiple types of corrugated boards with different flute and board sizes. “Some materials come in really warped, curvy or curled. It’s so inconsistent,” added Lam.

The high-flow vacuum eliminates the need for taping materials down, making the printing process more productive and efficient.

In other news involving Fujifilm:

• Fujifilm North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division, announced results from interviews with more than 1,100 customers indicating an encouraging outlook for print service providers despite the recent COVID-19 impact.

The highest number of responses (32%) projected a return to normal business conditions in the July/August 2020 time frame and 24% projected a return to normal business conditions in September/October 2020. Overall, a total of 72% of the customers expressed optimism about a return to normal business conditions by October.

In regard to staffing, the highest number of respondents said staffing levels remained unchanged for 36% of respondents, while some accounts reported decreases of between 1% and 26%. Some respondents reported retention of staff and use of material cutting and sewing capabilities to successfully shift business priorities and produce personal protective equipment to support COVID-19 response. A significant number of customers (54%) reported applying for Paycheck Protection Program or operating loans.

Expanding the variety of production capabilities was key to business continuity plans for print service providers, as the reported production volume impact from COVID-19 was significant, with 83% of the respondents reporting declines in production volume up to 40% or more since the start of the pandemic. This statistic excludes businesses deemed essential during the shutdown, including news/ print media, whose performance remained flat during this time.

Across segments, despite lower order intake in April, there has been a significant increase in demand for consumable products in May that correlates closely with states re-opening and an increased level of business activity across the country.

“The customer data points have provided us with quite a bit of insight into the market and the individual situations at each customer,” said Todd Zimmerman, division president, Fujifilm North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division. “This has helped us with our production planning to be sure we have inventory available as markets recover. We are as anxious as our customers for a return to more normal business conditions.”

“As of today, we are not seeing any additional negative feedback. Our sales saw a little growth in the month of June over what we saw in March, April and May so that reinforces that the industry is beginning to see some positive movement. But, we all know that could change in a day or two and we are watching that very carefully,” said Marketing Director Gregory Pas in a July 7 email.

The interviews were conducted between April 15 and May 15, 2020, with Fujifilm Graphic Systems customers across the U.S.

• In late June, longtime Fujifilm customer and print communications company Direct Edge Media launched #BringBackRetail by investing money into its business partners’ brands and reimbursing Direct Edge employees who make purchases at select retailers. Direct Edge, with locations in California and Denver, is inviting everyone to join the #BringBackRetail initiative in support of retailers during these trying times amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit www.BringBackRetail.com for more info.

Fujifilm Holdings Corporation is located in Tokyo. Fujifilm Holdings America Corporation, in Valhalla, New York, is the regional headquarters for the Americas. Fujifilm North America Corporation, a marketing subsidiary of Fujifilm Holdings America Corporation, consists of four operating divisions and one subsidiary company: Imaging, Electronic Imaging, Graphic Systems, Optical Devices and Fujifilm Canada.

For the year ended March 31, 2020, the company had global revenues of $21 billion.