Adrian Rushton, MD, with Keith Brickland, FabriVU technician, MX Display
MX Display has invested in an EFI VUTEk FabriVU 340i textile printer and a High Roller Carousel storage solution from CMYUK. The printer was installed in November last year, followed quickly by the Carousel.
The VUTEk FabriVU 340i replaces two older Mimaki JV5 printers, which although offer high quality output, were no longer fast enough for the new demands of the business.
“They've both done a good stint and have been great assets, but the market has changed, our volumes have increased and turnaround times have decreased,” says MX Display’s Managing Director, Adrian Rushton.
MX Display added digital textiles to its portfolio a decade ago. Initially, this was an outsourced offering but realising the potential of the market, the company bought capability in-house with the purchase of Mimaki technology.
“We bought into textile printing because we saw the opportunities it would give us with our current clients that included education, office environments, and small boutique retailers. We were being asked if we could do certain things and we felt that hanging banners weren’t appropriate, so we moved into printing items such as hanging drapes. Instead of putting printed Foamex on walls, we were looking at the use of silver frames with printed fabrics in them. Printed textiles really improved our presentation,” says Adrian.
Pre-pandemic 2019, MX Display developed a strategic plan for significant growth, targeting corporate interiors, fabric wallcoverings and commercial environments. It was a successful enterprise leading to increased volume output. However, what started to become apparent was that its printing production equipment wasn’t really up to the job.
“It was a struggle to deliver on the quick turnarounds that we were being asked for,” says Adrian. “COVID certainly played a part in that everyone was leaving everything to the last minute just in case of cancellations or other unforeseen business issues. We were working to stringent just in time printing but didn’t really have the capacity to deliver.”
The purchase of the FabriVU 340i from CMYUK transformed the situation. This is a 3.4m wide dedicated roll-to-roll textile printer that has inline fixation, allowing users to print direct to fabric and sublimate within a single operation. The inline sublimation can also be turned off, allowing for paper transfer printing that can be fixed through use of a standalone calendar press.
“The increased volume, speed and capacity that the FabriVU 340i gives us has future-proofed the business certainly for the next few years,” says Adrian, adding, “The inline finishing was key for us because up until this point we had always calendared offline, but felt in order to meet the increased turnaround times, we knew this was the way to go – to turn a 2-part step into a single process for the majority of the standard display fabrics that we use.”
Another important consideration that determined the purchase of the printer was technical support. “The level of support we have experienced from EFI has always been excellent. It has always been head and shoulders above any other manufacturer that we've ever dealt with. CMYUK brings a great deal of value too, we can just pick up the phone and speak to Amira [Manager of the CMYUK Academy] or Brett Platt [Textile Business Manager] both so experienced and knowledgeable that we don’t need to go any further,” he says.
Increased print production also meant that the volume of materials being utilised at the company has escalated. Consignment stock ordering to cut back on deliveries and reduce its carbon footprint led MX Display to radically rethink storage – particularly with 3.2m wide textile rolls.
The CMYUK High Roller Carousel offered an ergonomic and practical solution. It is able to store and recover roll material efficiently and ergonomically, removing the need for any manual handling or time wasted searching for rolls that always seem to be at the bottom of a pile.
A small footprint ensures it doesn’t take up much needed floor space but cleverly optimises the company’s vertical dead space. The Carousel can be customised to fit exact dimensions and actively increasing overall productivity, while prioritising staff health and safety. The model at MX Display caters for 3.2m width rolls to a height of 7m and can hold up to 30 rolls of textiles at any one time.
A control panel allows for simple manual Up/Down press button or automatic selection of a specified roll that is delivered to operator/picker height at linear speeds between 4 and 6m per minute.
Each roll position can be adjusted every 100mm on a handling chain – helping to maximise capacity depending on the roll diameter. It can be loaded or unloaded with an adapted manual trolley on wheels or an ergonomic lift trolley, making self-handling safe and viable.
“Our CMYUK Carousel has been installed against a wall which once housed a pallet rack. We removed it and redesigned the area, which can now also accommodate a forklift for handling sheetfed products. We couldn’t do that before because we had large rolls of material piled up on the floor. We’ve managed to create a working floor space and give ourselves a really smart looking storage facility. The Carousel is a worthwhile investment that has given us a number of benefits,” says Adrian.
For MX Display, this year is all about ensuring stability after the stop start rollercoaster of COVID. Adrian is cautiously optimistic that following a frantic three months leading up to Christmas, followed by a nervous January, business will continue to increase as the industry as a whole regains its confidence.
He says, “We need to learn to live with COVID and want to get back to normality. Clients that held back are now saying they want to move forward. Positivity is returning, which will allow us to continue our pattern of pre-COVID growth. The last couple of years have been about firefighting but now we can get back to our strategic action plan to continue expanding in the markets we excel in and where we add real value. We’re also pushing really hard on our environmental offering and willbe introducing many more eco-friendly alternatives, so we can help clients with their own sustainability goals.”
EFI VUTEk FabriVU 340i | High Roller Carousel | News