This is the fifth large-format digital printer that the Cardiff-based print specialist has purchased from CMYUK in a decade but according to 3 Sixty’s Managing Director Richard Inkin it's the company’s most significant piece of equipment yet, and one which is set to be a real “game-changer” for the business.
3 Sixty was founded in 2010 with the aim to provide a unique end-to-end solution for all its clients. Specialising in print and installation for the retail, sporting events, automotive and large scale decorative interiors sectors, it works with a wide variety of materials including fabrics, metals, wood, plastics, adhesives, magnetics, and more and more with environmentally-friendly materials.
Ben Newton, Commercial Director makes the point that “Less than 3% of the work we process is on paper and board, we use print machines to make products rather than just to print.”
3 Sixty initially looked at the h5 last autumn, “We looked at all other options but for us, the h5 with its flexibility of materials, amazing quality, speed to market, capacity increase, efficiency and reduction of carbon footprint meant that it was a no brainer,” says Ben.
The launch of a new high-end dye-sublimation process to print into wood and aluminum earmarked for May, has now been postponed until September for obvious reasons.
“Three years of research and with the kit in place we were ready to take the new dye sublimation products to market. However, we decided to focus on working with clients to increase their speed times to market hence the investment in the h5,” says Richard.
CMYUK – a trusted partnership
CMYUK has been a supply partner to 3 Sixty for ten years and has built up an open and trusted relationship with the company.
“Our suppliers have been one of the key reasons to our success. We work exceptionally closely with all our suppliers to make sure both parties gain out of the relationship. Understanding how they work and their challenges is as important to us as understanding our own to make sure continuity of supply remains constant,” says Ben.
For the h5 investment, CMYUK guided 3 Sixty through the updated coronavirus business interruption loan scheme better known as CBILS. The boundaries of the scheme have recently been updated and now CBILS can be used to directly support capital asset finance.
“One of the great advantages is that you can use CBILS to refinance your existing assets as well as looking at new or even second-hand purchases. You can combine a new asset purchase with the financing of other equipment. This means that your existing overheads remain the same but you have added another asset to your arsenal which is making you more efficient, more competitive, and more profitable,” says Jon Price, Finance Director CMYUK.
CBILS is the most powerful, flexible, low-cost finance that businesses have ever had access to.
“We have worked with Jon and Robin at CMYUK for a decade. They understand our business very well and really helped us by putting a deal together that would work for us. The h5 will increase our capacity and speed to market significantly, but at the same time the way our business is set-up we won’t need more sales to pay for the printer,” says Ben.
The h5 advantage
The h5 is the pièce de résistance in 3 Sixty’s already impressive armoury that includes a selection of UV and dye-sublimation printers including an EFI VUTEk GS 3250r and an impressive array of finishing equipment.
It is the result of EFI VUTEk’s reimagined and reengineered high-volume super-wide, hybrid inkjet platform. This next-generation printer is 3.2m wide, has a resolution of 1200dpi, eight colours modes plus white, thereby offering up to a nine-layer print capability in a single pass. It offers super smooth shadows, gradients, and transitions, with superb, clear text quality.
Encapsulating powerful LED technology, it supports an extended range of substrates, which includes lower cost and added-value specialty media, all of which can be handled by automated media loading, stacker systems, and super duty winders.
According to a Fogra study, the h5 drives down operating costs with up to 82% less energy consumption and fewer consumable parts.
3 Sixty remained open throughout Lockdown and has positioned itself nicely to deal with future challenges and opportunities.
Says Richard, “We will be able to focus on a number of new areas now with the purchase of the h5 and with our new dye-sublimation materials we are looking forward to the next six months and seeing where these areas will take us.”