Wiltshire-based Digital 23 has purchased a Mimaki UJV55-320 from CMYUK. The 3.2m-wide UV LED roll-to-roll printer investment has enabled the business to now print all its textile work in-house, and provides a versatile platform from which it can expand into new markets.
“The Mimaki UJV55-320 is a gamechanger for us due to its size, speed and versatility. What it’s allowed us to do is increase our product range and our production throughput time. We were previously outsourcing our fabric printing, with a four-day turnaround time. Now we can print as soon as a job is approved and the job is completed on the same day, saving us three days of production time. It’s a win/win for sales and production,” says Calvin Hedley, joint owner of Digital 23.
New start-up in the face of COVID
Digital 23 was set-up by Calvin and his business partner, David Pape in 2019. Both have extensive experience in the exhibitions industry, and decided that rather than working for anyone else, they would go it alone.
A full-service large format digital printing business, Digital 23 specialises in exhibition graphics and services a diverse client base. Silicon edge tension graphics, wall wraps, fabric prints and frames boards account for the majority of its printed output.
We have built up a loyal base of clients who have followed us through a progression of several different companies, so when we set up on our own we had an established customer base from day one,” says Calvin.
Digital 23 started out with HP technology but during Lockdown added a Mimaki solvent printer, the CJV30–130, which gave it the much-needed ability to print and cut. The move to investing in a 3.2m wide UV printer was a natural progression.
“We were looking at 3.2m wide machines as we were basically farming out our fabric print work and then finishing the prints in house as required. We had a really busy few months from August to November last year that just highlighted that fact that it made sense to bring the production of fabrics back in house,” says Calvin, adding, “The Mimaki UJV55-320 fulfilled our primary goals but also because of the UV technology, we could add the versatility to produce a much wider range of printed substrates. We have also switched all our foamex board production over to it. It’s given us the opportunity to expand into other markets like interior décor because we now have full control and can offer competitive pricing and improved service.”
From its launch, Calvin had been in touch with CMYUK, and thanks to a lead from hardware sales director, Sue Hayward, sourced a Mimaki solvent printer at an excellent price. Therefore, when it came to investing in a 3.2m wide machine, CMYUK was the first port of call.
“We had a really good relationship with CMYUK so it was the obvious go-to place. Sales Director, Sue Hayward is really knowledgeable and expertly guided us through the whole process,” says Calvin.
Onwards and upwards
This side of Covid, Digital 23 intends to consolidate its position, touch base with its existing clients and then begin to widen its fabric and board services to new customers.
Asking about forward plans, Calvin says, “Eighteen months ago, our future plans wouldn't have included Lockdown, so it’s been tricky to plan ahead. That said, the exhibition industry has begun to bounce back well after the past 18 month of covid restrictions with strong activity at the end of 2021. Moving into 2022 after a slow start due to uncertainty at Christmas over renewed restrictions the end of the first quarter is looking very strong and we’ve got everything we need to ensure we can meet and exceed our customers’ needs.”