Dover-based Cactus Graphics, formerly known as Buckland Media, has invested in a new Mimaki UJF-6042 MkII e from CMYUK.
The UV LED flatbed that includes the Kebab option, was initially purchased to fulfil a UK-based printing solution for a customer offering a wide variety of signage poles.
“I rang Tim Boore [Senior Digital Sales Consultant, CMYUK] and explained what we wanted to do. He suggested that we take a look at the Mimaki UJF series that come in three different sizes, all of which were Kebab compatible. Not really knowing what the hell a Kebab was, we went up to CMYUK’s showroom and realised that with the bigger printer – the 6042, we could print multiple poles on the bed. We came away thinking that we could pretty much print anything we wanted to,” says Richard Archer, Commercial Director, Cactus Graphics.
“It felt like the time was right as many of the customers we deal with are corporate marketing departments, and plenty of them had been saying that they were ordering pens and the like, but they were taking weeks to arrive from overseas. The Mimaki has provided us with a solution for customers that don’t have storage space, who require items quickly for single events without excess. It's perfect for events teams that want something a little bit different for giveaways,” he adds.
The new UV LED flatbed will provide the business with the ultimate in versatility, quality, and stability for direct printing on to an extensive variety of soft and hard materials up to 153mm thick that includes wood, leather, acrylic, glass, metal, and more. It has a print area of 610mm x 420mm, and offers a choice of matt, gloss, and embossed finishes.
The Kebab option expands the possibility of 360o UV printing onto cylindrical objects such as promotional products, stationery, bespoke gifts, bottles, tumblers, poles, etc up to 600mm in length. Thanks to the Kebab’s rollers, blank 3D items can be rotated to easily enable complete surface coverage. In addition, an optional Ioniser feature removes static build-up that can occur with different materials.
“What struck us about the Mimaki were the multiple materials that you can use with this printer. With the ioniser, we realised that we could pretty much apply inks to anything and it’s very robust. Internally we’ve tried out pens, trophies, all sorts of things, and the ink is just solid to the surface,” says Richard.
What the new Mimaki has done is to provide the company with the versatility that it didn’t have before. “We didn't have access to multiple substrates capabilities. We could print to paper, but we couldn't detail to any other surface,” he says.
Installed only at the end of September, already the business has felt the impact of this printer winning jobs that previously would have been inaccessible.
“We’ve been sent artwork on a Tuesday, printed it, and got it back to the customer who has put it in a suitcase and then flown across the world. Before the installation of the Mimaki, we couldn't supply this type of customer as the timelines were just too fast. Recently for an events company we printed the front of notebooks and pens. We also created trophies for a joinery business that involved combining different types of wood together. If we’d done that on our existing flatbed the job would have been rejected. With the Mimaki, we upskilled our team by learning how to do multiple layers to cover the woodgrain beneath,” says Richard.
A family affair
The business that has a strap line Design – Print – Display benefits from its own in-house design studio, traditional printing capabilities, small format digital printing, digital wide-format print, digital finishing, and CNC routing. It also has its own installation team, and everything is printed from its facility in Dover.
New Managing Director, Katie Weaver, is the granddaughter of Dennis Weaver who founded the original company, Buckland Press back in the ‘60s. On his retirement, dad, Jeremy, and mum, Linda, took over the reins, changing the business name to Buckland Media. On their retirement last year, their highly experienced print-immersed daughter took control, renaming the company Cactus Graphics. Richard, who has worked alongside the family for 13 years says, “The name Cactus Graphics was borne by the fact that I enjoy growing Cacti. Katie loves that Cacti grow in harsh conditions. In fact, they don’t just grow they positively thrive, just as we did during Covid times.”
Part of that thriving was due to a timely investment in a Kongsberg digital cutting table from CMYUK and a UV flatbed printer, both installed in February 2020, prior to the first unprecedented lockdown. This enabled the company to continue working through lockdown producing bulk volumes of floor and wall safety signage graphics. During this period, the Kongsberg offered the company the chance to work beyond corporate marketing teams to facilities, estates, and building managers within the same companies.
This exposure has influenced future growth strategy. “We’d like to add office environment design to our service roster. At present, we’re exploring how to make our 2D graphics become more 3D. That could include soft furnishings and interior design,” he says.
Unsurprisingly sublimation printing is an area of interest and all the additional possibilities that this process commands. In January, the business will be moving to four modern production units that incorporate a design studio and, in a company first, a retail outlet.
Says Richard, “We’ll have a showroom and a counter service because we’re moving to a business park where we can be seen and hopefully also attract passing trade. We’re ready for the next chapter.”