I am often inspired by InPrint exhibitors by their innovative approach to technology development. But in terms of décor, I have to confess, I have never seen a better example of decorative applications than that of Much Colours such was the quality and diversity.
I met Sales Manager Dario Rampinelli and owner Giancarlo Rabuffo on a sunny and unusually warm February morning at the HQ of the business based in Pescara on Italy’s Adriatic coast. From the moment Dario picked me up I began my education into Much Colours and their particular story.
Originally established within the graphic sign and poster segment, Giancarlo saw the industry change back in 2005/6 to one that was more focused upon price. At this point he had the vision to redirect the business model for Much Colours to become a company that provided technology and solutions for decorative industrial printing.
As Giancarlo explains, “I could see that the (graphic) market had changed. Not just in terms of the adoption of digital printing technology but in the way people had begun to distinguish their products by lower and lower pricing. The market had become commoditised very quickly and we as a business did not see a profitable or innovative future in the business.”
It is an education visiting Much Colours. Not least because they have as part of their business and their commitment to digital decorative printing – part of their vision is to inspire. This includes the launch of a European university of design which they support three courses: fashion, graphic design and interior design. The studios were a hive of activity. The company supports three courses which give students the chance to learn and inspire about what is possible with design and digital printing.
300 students per year pass through Much Colours. For Giancarlo, this is a sensible approach for the business as part of their overall vision is to inspire the digital and decorative printing sector in multiple industries. “Our technology develops quickly there is often a gap that opens up between what is understood as possible, and what actually is possible. We want to provide our growing customer community with the answers and the knowledge to help them to grow their businesses and to sustain their companies with profitable, high standard printing that is able to work within the industrial market and meet and exceed its high standards. If our designers leave our university with this knowledge this will help to grow the market in a sensible and healthy way as well as giving them an incredible knowledge base that really allows them to thrive and succeed.” This view is evident throughout the Much Colours HQ as it is a veritable feast of colour, texture and energy throughout, I think it would inspire anyone who visited it.
For full view of applications, click images below.
The focus on applications
With an enlightened approach to building their business, Much Colours also focus much more on applications as opposed to purely technology in terms of their communication. In fact a small amount of our discussion was focused on technology. That is not because they do not care about the technology, but they simply believe that what inspires brands and customers is the potential of the applications.
So it is not surprising that as soon as you walk through their doors you are presented with a treasure trove of industrial digital printing applications. Printing onto leather, wood, glass, melamine, MDF, mirrors, plastics, thermoforming, white goods and many other surfaces too numerous to mention. From kitchens to bedrooms, from footballs to glass doors, from leather clothing to furniture. The application set is diverse yet united in the potential it gives designers and brands to distinguish their production and add value to their businesses. The enthusiasm from Dario and from the entire team is as palpable as the centre looks resplendent in southern Italian sunshine shining throughout and the applications looking incredibly captivating.
Dario continues, “As our technology gets better and better for printing - multiple surface decoration become a reality. This links very neatly indeed with the need for many people to personalise and individualise their homes, work and recreation spaces. For the end brands themselves this is very appealing as they are able to create specialised products, limited editions and personalised output. This really doesn’t disrupt their analogue printing runs, but gives them something extra and a way to stay competitive.”
Why kill more mountains?
A stand out comment that I recall Dario saying was simply ‘Why kill more mountains’ when referring to one of the glass marble applications. Much Colours printing technology enables the effective printing of a realistic marble finish and Dario reminds me that many of the applications, as well as the fact that their ink being water based, digital print is actually helpful to the environment. Marble is originally taken literally from mountain rock, and in this part of the world has been quarried extensively throughout history. But then Dario explains that this is true of most of their applications. For example, Adidas footballs for the World Cup were printed digitally and the manufacturers like the fact they can personalise easily and then printing onto leather with eco inks as opposed to the more toxic screen printing.
The Technology Standard
The Much Colours printing system is called ‘Practika’. It is a flatbed printing unit and as well as technology, over the years Much Colours has invested considerably in their own ink development. And as Dario explains, “A key element to our success is our bespoke chemistry. Apart from the heads we use we create the chemistry and we design and manufacture here in Pescara .Our inks are based on bio alcohol and this is good for the environment because when the alcohol evaporates it doesn't release any VOC and there is no residual from the goods. We believe in aligning with all of the standards - we are certified Wessling - we have a contract with them and they analyse our processes and printing process and they give us analysis and approval for our production. The ink itself is also robust for industrial use and can withstand 230 degrees (c) and even up to 300 degrees so for glass production and other surfaces it is very useful.
A standard is key to Much Colours
Giancarlo believes fervently that the best approach for any new technology is to have visible compliance to a standard. “For our technology and for our business to exist in the various markets we serve then quality needs to be proven and supported by an industry recognised standard. It is really important for safety. Imagine a child’s room, the production has to be 110% safe. The ink cannot be removed and there must be zero risk. This in itself means that Much Colours is leading the way with regards to safety, quality and creativity. We believe however that the key manufacturers and technology companies in the market should be collaborating more about standards to ensure that the industry itself moves forward in a professional way and that our technology really creates a great reputation with our customers as opposed to an unreliable or risky one.”
With the vision that Much Colours has, the enthusiasm, creativity and commitment to quality it is clear that digital printing will be playing a key role in the future of decorative manufacturing for years to come.
To discuss anything with Much Colours contact
Dario Rampinelli, Sales Manager, Much Colours: firstname.lastname@example.org and Check out the website: www.muchcolours.com