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Garage proof Citizen printers make number plate printing simple

The latest industrial desktop printers from Citizen Systems Europe are being used by Bestplate, one of the largest vehicle number plate companies in the UK. Citizen’s CLP 621 printers are an integral part of Bestplate’s service, providing customers with a versatile method of printing number plates easily and cost effectively on-site.

Bestplate Ltd was founded in 1967 and is today a market leader in the manufacture and supply of high quality number plates and self-assembly kits. The company, which is a member of the British Number Plate Manufacturers Association (BNMA), prides itself on offering the very latest printing technology as part of its range of self-assembly systems.

Rick Kenny, Technical Manager for Bestplate, explained, "Before we started using the Citizen printers, we had a number of issues with the machines we supplied. They simply weren’t up to the job in terms of ease of use or quality of construction. Our customers generally use the self-assembly kits in garages or workshops, so the printers need to be able to withstand regular use in some pretty challenging environments."

To resolve the issues it was having with its existing printers, Bestplate approached Citizen. After working closely with the company to gain a thorough understanding of its requirements, Citizen suggested Bestplate use its CLP 621 desktop printer, designed specifically for high volume use in industrial environments.

The Citizen CLP 621 incorporates a range of features designed to make it simple to set up and use, making it suitable for use by staff with minimal training. For example, the printer features a simple all-metal clamshell mechanism and high-lift print head, making it quick and easy to load and change printer ribbons, while a replacement print head can normally be fitted in less than a minute. It also incorporates a straight paper path, which makes it ideal for printing onto thick media, such as the substrate typically used to produce number plates. The machine also features an internal power supply, eliminating the health and safety issues associated with trailing power packs and cables in the workplace.

The Citizen printer is now being used in two self-assembly packages from Bestplate. The first is a software package that allows the printer to be used with a PC, while the second combines the printer with a specially designed keypad, making this is a popular solution where space is at a premium. This standalone system allows nine number plate personalisations to be stored in the keyboard for simple and fast operation, and supports the printing of dealer details and showroom plates. An automatic DVLA record keeping facility also makes it easy for companies to comply with the latest regulations.

Rick Kenny is impressed with the new system, "The Citizen printers are much easier to work with than our previous machines. We carry out customer surveys as part of ISO 9001 and the feedback from customers has been extremely positive. They find the printers simple to set up and use, and have noticed a reduction in waste due to less printer errors, which, when they’re using expensive media, is a big benefit. The Citizen printers are more robust too."

He continued, "We’re also very happy with the support we’ve had from Citizen. They developed some new firmware specifically for us, when we first started using the printers, and have carried out a number of modifications as our requirements have changed. We can talk directly to an expert, whenever we need to, and it doesn’t cost us anything. We couldn’t ask for more, really."

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