The strong relationship with materials supplier CMYUK is helping ProCo consolidate its wide-format credentials through its use of PONGS materials.
Something is stirring in Sheffield. It’s the sound of the wide-format print division of ProCo stepping beyond its litho and digital, small-format heritage into the wide-format print arena.
The journey to market itself as a wide-format contender began four years ago with the arrival of Large Format Print Manager, Carl Jackson. Prior to this, large-format at the company was really an add-on for the needs of existing clients.
Jackson has steered this part of the company into an autonomous chapter, overseeing investment in new printer technology, and bringing wide-format print processes in-house.
ProCo was the first company in the UK to invest in an Agfa Jeti Tauro H2500 LED printer, which it runs alongside an Agfa Anapurna RTR3200i. It also has a Crest RSC3200 X-Y cutting system, a Matic Cronos Ultimate sewing station and a Bobis Multi-Applicator.
Jackson and his team have built momentum, bringing in a raft of new high profile clients – particularly on the retail side – and now the company is ready to add to this, with a focus on décor and interiors for both domestic and commercial markets.
“There is an uplift in creative morale with this type of work,” he says. “The end-to-end, we create it, we produce it, we install it and that’s where the passion comes from. Obviously, retail is our bread and butter, but additionally, wall graphics and fabrics, wrapping rooms for makeovers, wrapping furniture, textile work – that’s a natural progression for us.”
An important element in ProCo’s wide-format journey thus far, is its relationship with CMYUK. It began 18 months ago from a trade show conversation between Jackson and CMYUK’s Textile Business Development specialist Joel Willcock, concerning ProCo’s volume output for double-sided tension frame fabrics. After testing materials, ProCo switched to CMYUK, and has been using PONGS PrintTex Artist Mambo ever since.
This is a high-quality, polyester, backlit material, which being stretchy has enough ‘give’ to mount on a frame. Suitable for output on UV and Latex inks, it is almost totally resistant to stress whitening.
“The quality is very good,” says Jackson. “We get very sharp prints and maximum vibrancy and very, very, good light diffusion.”
ProCo uses the PONGS PrintTex Artist Mambo to produce freestanding, double-sided tension prints that are installed in hundreds of retail stores up and down the country. Across a two-month period, it produces over 3,000 prints measuring 1800 x 500mm each and switching to the Mambo material saved ProCo around £10K.
And while of course the price points matter, so too does the quality and diverse range of materials.
“CMYUK has a niche product range, and they have very specific materials particularly with the PONGS range with its acoustic fabrics for example,“ says Jackson. “If you really want to wow a customer on a project, CMYUK has a lot of these kinds of products, not just run of the mill materials like a number of other suppliers have. They also offer very competitive pricing for normal standard stock.”
ProCo has really valued the consultative element of its materials supply through CMYUK, acknowledging the high level of service.
“I give Joel a lot of credit,” says Jackson. “He is very proactive. I go to him because I trust him, and he always comes back with solutions. He’s not banging on my door every two minutes, but he’ll be in touch as soon as he has a new product to show me.
“The thing with CMYUK is the great relationship it has with PONGS, which has some fabulous products. We work with fantastic clients who challenge us to come up with something new, something different. Joel/CMYUK will find me something – we might be on a project already, and Joel will come in with a product that’ll suit that job completely. They are a great company for innovation.”
ProCo is very confident about its next chapter, and knows that it has the equipment in-house, and a materials supplier, which has both the range and standout products to help it realise its next ambition.
“It's not about how much a piece of print costs. It’s the concept, it’s the idea. It’s how we transform a space, that’s our added value,” says Jackson. “We do this for clients already, and we’re really good at it. We've got a creative team upstairs and we've got a tech team downstairs. We do bespoke tech builds including elements such as motion sensors and sound. Obviously, retail is our backbone, but we are very forward thinking.”