Solihull-based Shift Graphics has invested in a Mimaki UJV 100-160 UV LED printer and Mimaki CG 130 AR cutting plotter from CMYUK. The new equipment has enabled this start-up to produce fast turnaround vinyl graphics in-house up to 1.6m wide for the exhibitions sector.
Shift Graphics’ owner and M.D, Mike Clarke, says:
“The key issue regarding this investment was turnaround times, particularly for vinyl and smaller graphics.”
“I could have started my business without any production equipment, but then I’d be limiting my service offerings – becoming just another middleman. Exhibition builds can be incredibly frantic and stressful, so to be able to offer our customers that reassurance that we can and will react instantly to support them is huge and sets us apart.”
Mike, former Live Events Manager at Hollywood Monster, is a seasoned graphics display professional. He decided to invest in Mimaki equipment because of the balance it offers between quality, affordability, and reliability.
The Mimaki UJV100-160 is a 1.6m wide UV LED printer that offers a resolution of up to 1200dpi. It supports a wide variety of materials, including textiles, vinyl, and banner.
Its dual-layer printing feature allows white ink to be used on transparent PET film, while clear ink can be printed to achieve a topcoat varnish effect.
This is a dedicated roll-to-roll UV LED curable printer that offers high quality, stability, and productivity due to a NCU (Nozzle Check Unit), NRS (Nozzle Recovery System), and MAPS4 (Mimaki Advanced Pass System4). A new DAS (Dot Adjustment System) has automated dot position and feed correction, further reducing operator workload.
“There are not many printers about at that price point with the quality of the UJV output. It’s a very easy printer to live with, simple to use, and not temperamental. All in all, it’s been a very smooth journey and if I have any hiccups, CMYUK is there at the end of the phone. They are a trusted and well-respected supplier that is the natural go-to for our industry,” says Mike.
He chose UV LED print technology for its instant drying abilities and quick turnaround times. “We print same day or next day. I’ll get a request to print something overnight that’ll be installed in an exhibition hall the next morning. Outputting UV means it’s consistent with the supersized 5m work out there. There’s no point me producing gloss graphics if other walls are going to be matt. It’s all about uniformity,” he says.
Adding in-house cutting
Mike was outsourcing all his cutting work but decided to also invest in Mimaki’s new CG 130 AR cutting plotter, which he feels complements his new printer perfectly.
This entry-level cutter offers improved cutting performance and compatibility with a wide range of materials, at an affordable price point. It features a cutting area of 1,370mm (53.9inches) and a cut pressure of 550g that expands the range of cuttable materials. In addition to a new line-up option for full carboard cutting, it’s suited to sign and displays, window graphics, packaging, stickers, labels, and decals.
Happy first birthday
Shift Graphics was founded last January and in this short time it has gathered momentum through its design, production, and exhibition project management.
“Our first year has been way more than I ever expected. I’ve picked up clients that I never imagined I would, and business has really exploded,” says Mike.
This month, he will be joined by two new collaborative partners that will help to support growth and take the business to the next level. “In the next 12-18 months, I’d like to get larger premises and install a hybrid printer. Shift Graphics is at the start of a journey that has a definite growth plan. I want to move forward steadily without massive loans or overheads. It’s all about building up the business stage by stage, and the Mimaki equipment from CMYUK has been a key ignition point.”