Christchurch’s EIL (Electronic Imaging Limited), a division of Permark Industries, has claimed gold in the global Fespa awards.
The company won the gold award in the Functional Print Category for its screen printed hospital bed controller set, produced for Howard Wright. Jared Maxwell-Smith, site manager at EIL, says, “We are absolutely rapt with the award. The job failed to win anything in the local competition but we received encouragement to place it in SGIAA awards, where it won gold last year. From there, we entered the Fespa awards. This latest gold award recognises the difficulty of the job and the innovation that went into it.”
EIL specialises in precision screen printing custom design and manufactures a range of plastics, metals and specialty adhesives. Maxwell-Smith, a qualified screen printer who has around 17 years’ experience in the industry, says, the job did not come together overnight. He says, “It took about two years of going back and forth with the customer to get it right. We needed to get it just how they wanted and, with so many layers that go together, it required a good amount of coordination.”
The Fespa judges delivered this description of the gold winner: “This hospital bed controller set, consisting of two membrane switches, has been screen printed in three colours sub surface and using perfectly registered graphite conductive tracks. It has been printed with LED windows and an opaque layer to prevent light bleed, before being applied to a tight radius injection moulding.”
Aaron Quill, technical manager at EIL, says, “The win is awesome. We are really proud for the company and for New Zealand. It is a first and it is great to have recognition, especially on a global scale.
Also a screen printer with a couple of decades in the industry, he describes the job as relatively technical. He says, “With this job, we had to achieve numerous laminating processes and registration processes. We had to make those processes work so that the job would work.
“The most difficult part of the job was the fact that the controller wraps around the tight radius of the cartridge it goes on. We needed to assemble it in layers because of its thickness. No one had done that up before we tried it. In fact, the forming company we worked with didn’t believe it could be done at the time. We had to form the buttons on a curved surface as well, so that required some innovative thinking.
“So we had a lot of trialling to do to find what worked with the curve and air tracking, which is the shifting of the air between the keys; the air needs to travel somewhere. So how we set those up affects the job. We had to wrap it in pieces. Another part of the job calling for precision involved placing the graphics on the top. They must line up exactly with the printing and fill the recess. Another tricky piece is the tails that plug into the circuit boards. The patient control is a hand held unit, which connects to the same piece. Lining them up requires precision cutting.
He adds that the controllers have become popular. He says, “We are pumping a few of them out now, making our way through five hundred sets

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