Cut sheet digital printing specialist Print On has invested heavily in Mimaki wide format printers including a JFX200 LED UV flatbed and a pair of high performance JV300 solvent machines. The move has enabled the Cheshire based company to enjoying a period of expansion and buoyant business as it cultivates an impressive client list of major high street names.
Print On (short for print on demand) was established back in 1995 by the Oldfield family under the guise of 'The Copyshop' with the primary function being to offer photocopying services to local business and individuals alike. Growing substantially from its very early days as a copy shop, the company now offers a comprehensive range of commercial print services including business stationery, promotional brochures and a wealth of marketing collateral, much of which is available via an on-line ordering system.
The team at Print On has continually observed market developments and customer requests as a means of evolving the business to maintain current demand. Already aware of the massive advances in wide format technology, the company began looking for suitable equipment that would enable them to expand their production into large format prints, bespoke PoS items and exhibition graphics.
“We’ve had great support from Granthams – our equipment supplier over the years,” says Print On’s founder Keith Oldfield. “With their help and guidance we invested in a Mimaki JFX200 flatbed and a brace of Mimaki JV300 production solvent printers. The new kit has really enabled us to stretch our legs and start producing a much wider range of products for our customers.”
A strong focus on delivering exactly what their customers need coupled with a commitment to always go the extra mile has resulted in the business nurturing a client roster which includes an impressive number of major UK high street names that sit alongside local businesses and even European customers. The demands of managing such prominent contracts have recently necessitated the team working a split shift pattern to deliver the volume of work the company is currently experiencing.
“The JFX200 is an amazing piece of kit and delivers stunning print quality. By expanding both our capacity and capability, we’re delivering ever more creative products for our customers. Both the JFX and our two JV300s have really raised the bar and we’re now producing high volumes of large-format point of sale graphics and long-runs on a much wider variety of different media and substrates,” he says.
Farnham, Buckinghamshire-based Banners For All has become an acknowledged expert in the field of soft signage during its 14 years in operation. Run by father and son team, Ralph and Ashley Ballhatchet, the business prides itself in its family oriented values but has worked hard to diversify, with some innovative and unusual business development strategies.
Established in 1999, the business took advantage of new technologies to print direct to polyester cloth with water based sublimation inks to produce colourful flags and banners. Eliminating the traditional screen process of cloth printing enabled them to remove setup costs and increase the colour range to full photographic, whilst dramatically reducing the price to their customers. By continually embracing ever developing technologies, Banners For All quickly moved from simple flags and banners for birthdays and anniversaries into the wider commercial and retail markets, with a number of high profile names on their client roster.
The right equipment has always been key to the company's continued success and growth, and Ashley Ballhatchet is keen to extol the virtues of the Mimaki kit that they have run for many years, commenting, “One of the first machines my father ever purchased was a Mimaki TX1600S textile printer, later upgrading to the TX2, which was an incredibly reliable machine. As customer demands became more challenging, we invested in a Mimaki JV33 coupled with a CG-FX Cutter in 2008 to undertake vinyl banner, exhibition graphics and decal production, which previously we had to outsource. The sheer quality of Mimaki’s production output has certainly helped us to keep ahead of the competition and enabled us to expand our offering to customers.”
With expertise developed over many years in the soft signage industry, the company has become something of a specialist in producing bespoke flags for football clubs and supporters across the country, even setting up its own website (www.footballflags.co.uk) providing customers with a ‘one-stop shop’ from which to design their flags from custom templates and order the printed article, all on line. Premiership and League clubs regularly use their services to produce bespoke promotional flags and banners for their stadiums, as do a host of supporters clubs across the land.
Banners For All's Mimaki kit was further upgraded with the addition of a high speed TX400 volume production textile printer in early 2013 and more latterly with a new UJF-6042 flatbed LED UV printer. Ashley explains, “The needs of our clients have continually changed and evolved, and we have had to look at ways of meeting those demands. The addition of smaller scale flatbed UV printing to our portfolio enables us to produce all manner of PoS items, including an exciting range of personalised faceplates for tablet PCs, used for display and promotion purposes.”
Promising quick turnarounds and working all their machines hard, the importance of excellent service back-up was one of the reasons the business continues to invest in Mimaki kit. Ashley continues, “Whenever we’ve needed technical support, the backup service from both our supplier Granthams and Mimaki’s UK distributor Hybrid Services has been excellent and provided much needed continuity of operation.”
Derbyshire based event branding solutions company, Banner Box, identified the importance of investing in the latest technology years ago, and recently continued the trend when they took advantage of Mimaki's upgrade promotion featuring the newly launched baby-grand solvent printer - the JV33-260S.
Banner Box has been digitally printing banners, flags and outdoor branded products since 2001 when they invested in an early mild solvent printer from Granthams Graphic Technology. Their relationship with Granthams strengthened over the years, with further wide format printers replacing the originals, including their first venture into wider machines with a pair of Mimaki JV3-250SP printers, capable of outputting 2.5m wide (or deep) print onto outdoor banners.
The launch of the new baby grand Mimaki - the 2.6m wide JV33-260S - fitted in well with Banner Box's investment plans, and coupled to a recommendation from a new member of staff who'd worked with one of the regular sized JV33s at another company, the investment was a fairly easy one for General Manager, Charles Coldwell to sanction.
Working with Granthams since their first investment in 2001, Coldwell places an importance on the quality of support and technical know-how that they get from the team at the authorised Mimaki reseller. "Whilst the JV33-260 is the easiest grand format printer I've ever used, we do very much value the input that Granthams have in getting the best out of the machine - and they're quick to provide help whenever they're called upon."
UK manufacturer of high end cycle components, Hope Technology, recently upgraded its in-house print capabilities with the investment of a Mimaki CJV30 printer/cutter from Granthams Graphic Technologies and is now better placed to support its international network of retailers with improved marketing and event collateral.
Hope Technology - the Barnoldswick based manufacturer of high end bicycle components - put its recent decision to invest in a wide format Mimaki inkjet printer/cutter down to a desire to replicate its production efficiencies within its print department. With around 100 staff employed across its highly focussed operation, the company has been a proud supplier to the cycling industry since the late 1980s.
Marketing manager, Alan Weatherill has been with Hope since the very beginning and with ultimate responsibility of how his brand is portrayed in bike shops and at events around the country, the quality of output from his department's new printer was a key factor in Hope's decision to change brands with the new investment. "We need to show the Hope brand off at its best", he says. "I'm responsible for producing prints that will be seen in thousands of cycle shops around the country so it's important they're an accurate reflection of the brand".
Weatherill is quick to point out where his company's strength do (and don't) lie. "We're not a print company!" he asserts, "so ease of use was important too". Referencing the minimal maintenance required on the Mimaki CJV30, he also recognises that a varied demand for output combined with the productivity of the printer/cutter means they're not running the machine all day, every day. "We needed a machine that was reliable, had low maintenance requirements and that we could use when we needed to".
Neil Gibson of Fox's Signs in Thirsk Est 1988, is yet another company in the UK to convert to Eco-Pro inks using his Mutoh printer. He was delighted to share his thoughts on Granthams and their own branded inks. We became aware of Granthams from my son who had already used their Eco-Pro inks in his Roland Versacamm for several years and was really impressed with the results. I spoke to Sean Taylor at Granthams who explained that the Eco-Pro ink was designed for use in both Roland and Mutoh printers and will give the same results in either system - I purchased a set of the inks and they arrived promptly the next day as promised. When i installed the inks I was extremely impressed with the results. I actually saw an improvement in the finished print achieving a deep rich black which i had never managed with the Eco-Ultra inks from Mutoh. I also now have the comfort of knowing I have back-up from their in-house engineers and also a wide range of media and supplies they can offer.
The Uniform Cadet Plus was our first tentative step into digital printing. The machine has been a revelation and it's consistent quality and reliability are outstanding. Granthams supplied and installed the machine and again their service has been impeccable. We place great store upon the advice and recommendations we receive from this company and this substantial purchase was a result of consultation with them. We are entirely happy with the product and the service.
Laserline Print has now been trading for over 17 years, and in that time probably our most reliable supplier has to have been Grantham’s. From the moment you log a call to the delivery and installation I have found their service and advice a valuable tool in the software or equipment I have purchased. Their after sales service and engineers has been a pleasure to deal with. I would have no problem putting my Company’s reputation on the line to recommend them to any one interested in dealing with them.
Banner Box have chosen Granthams as our preferred supplier for large format print hardware and consumables since 2001. They have always provided an excellent level of service and technical support. We have now purchased 4 printers from Granthams, as our own requirements have grown they have been matched by a product range which has kept pace industry developments in print speed and quality. To enable us to offer the level of service our customers demand we require reliable equipment and support from our suppliers and I am happy to endorse Granthams in this respect.