Hollywood Monster installs EFI VUTEk FabriVU 340i

Matt Jephcott, Operations Director at Hollywood Monster.
Matt Jephcott, Operations Director at Hollywood Monster.

With the recent installation of a VUTEk FabriVU 340i, Hollywood Monster has now purchased 11 EFI VUTEk printers from CMYUK in a total investment approaching £5m.

To date, Hollywood Monster, one of the most prolific, digital service print providers in the UK, has bought 11 EFI VUTEk printers. All these printers including its latest acquisition, an EFI VUTEk FabriVU 340i, were purchased from CMYUK, the UK’s largest independent supplier of wide-format digital printers, cutting equipment and materials, representing a total investment of nearly £5m.

This new printer allows Hollywood Monster to take full advantage of the growth in appetite for digital textile printing. A recent survey by Smithers Pira forecasts that the growth rate for digital textile printing will reach 17.5% per annum over the next six years, and within this time period the total available global market for digital textile printing will more than double from $1.73bn in 2018 to $3.bn in 2023.

Every time we purchase a new printer we don’t just look at the increased capacity for us, we look at what other commercial opportunities this can provide the company,” says Simon McKenzie, Managing Director, Hollywood Monster.  “These are big investments for us and not decisions we take lightly.  We have already switched some of our marketing focus into retail and outdoor events, where we know the dye sub market is growing year on year.”

Not only has the FabriVU opened up new revenue streams into the business, it has also increased capacity for the busier months.

“We haven’t just invested in capex, we have invested in people to make this work,” continues McKenzie. “We have taken on some fantastic and proven commercial people that will really drive this product within their portfolio of clients, and I am very confident that within the next 12 months we will be looking at a second FabriVU, he adds.

Dye sublimation

We’ve been unable to ignore the growing demand for soft signage and fabric prints,” says Mat Jephcott, Operations Director at Hollywood Monster. “The FabriVU 340i is not just another printer, but a specialist machine for this type of print. One of the things that we particularly liked was the output quality of the FabriVU to the PONGS® range of textile materials, which is very impressive.”

The FabriVU 340i, is a 3.4m wide, four colour CMYK, dye sublimation printer offering direct to textile or transfer paper. A workhorse, it can output stunning finished prints at over 160sq.m per hour. However, the beauty of this machine is its inline calendar, turning textile printing and fixing into a single, uninterrupted process, negating the need for an additional calendar press.

Due to the flexible nature of dye sublimation inks, they don’t crack when the material to which they are adhered to is folded. This has a huge impact on packaging and despatch.

 “Previously we would roll every print around a core and wrap extensively to protect the print,” explains Jephcott, “but the dye sublimation process allows us to fold and bag prints, greatly reducing our time and resources. It means we can significantly reduce delivery charges as packages will be much smaller and lighter, and if you think about national retail campaigns where we send graphics to hundreds of individual stores around the country then this can bring huge savings to the company and our clients. This will also benefit clients taking their graphics abroad.”

The current armoury

At present, the FabriVU 340i works alongside four other EFI VUTEk printers – the VUTEk GS5000R, VUTEk 5R, 2 x VUTEk HS125 PRO and two digital cutting tables. This equipment configuration is already proving to be a killer combination.

A lot of our clients purchase dye-sub and then give us their UV production,” says McKenzie.  “This is a great position for us as we can really be a true one-stop-shop, and give our customers the belief that we can deliver a complete event or retail campaign. This is a major USP for us as our customers don’t like to split campaigns, due to inconsistency in colours, extra delivery costs and so on.”

The company is constantly looking at ways of becoming more efficient in its factory, and the fact that it now has a designated printer for fabrics means far less roll changes and a smoother workflow as it operates alongside three sewing machines which are in use 24 hours a day.

This productivity has a knock-on effect with the other roll-to-roll printers, which now focus on non-textile materials, improving turnaround time on these products. “It gives our guys more opportunity to nest work on these materials and reduce waste,” says Jephcott.

Impressive early results

Hollywood Monster is already seeing results from the investment in staff and the new FabriVU with record June sales being logged, and a very strong pipeline for the rest of the summer.

We expect the company to grow by 15% this financial year and a further 15-20% next year, which is really encouraging and in line with our business plan to reach £13m for next year,” says McKenzie.  We will continue to explore new technical advances to enable us to be at the forefront of the latest technology.”

Commenting on this latest investment, Robin East at CMYUK said: “The FabriVU 340i is the latest in a long line of EFI VUTEk technology that we have supplied to Hollywood Monster over the years.  This is a massive testament to the quality, versatility and reliability of this equipment, and the strong, trusted partnership that CMYUK has forged with this business. We are already seeing how much of a driver the VUTEk FabriVU has become, and know that in just a matter of months, we’ll be supplying this awesome company with machine number 12! Watch this space!”

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