Gareth Jenkins and James Taylerson (L)
Newbury-based Paramount4 has invested in a Mimaki UCJV300 -160 printer cutter from CMYUK. Installed in December 2022, this 1.6m wide UV LED roll-to-roll printer will be used for the output of vinyl graphics. It joins a Mimaki UJV55 – 320 UV LED 3.2m roll printer and Easymount laminator also purchased from CMYUK. The new equipment replaces HP, Jetrix, and Roland equipment.
Paramount4 is an exhibition stand building and events business. It started out 32 years ago building stands for the company that gave the world Bob the Builder. While expo stands and events are still its core activity, it also provides print, build and installation services for roadshows, conferences, and set backdrops amongst other things.
“We do a lot of agency work, so the clients that we have will ask us to do an office or retail fit out, one thing leads to another depending on what they want,” says Gareth Jenkins, Project Manager, Graphics.
Gareth has been at the company for 22 years, and in this time has lived through numerous aesthetic trends and technological advancements in digital graphic production. Back in the day, the business was using solvent machines to print vinyl PVC while exhibition graphics were printed onto paper, laminated and then mounted onto board. Eight years ago, the business moved to textile printing, buying a Jetrix dye sublimation printer. While the printer was temperamental and high maintenance, it bought the advantages of soft signage to the fore.
“I loved the fact that we could fold the printed fabric, pop it in a suitcase and get it over to Vegas or wherever. Clients were leaving artwork to the last minute, way after exhibition containers had been shipped to the States or Europe, so printing onto textiles made the logistics of our job much easier,” says Gareth.
A watershed moment for production came in June 2021 with the arrival of James Taylerson, who works as a Project Manager in the Graphics Department alongside Gareth.
“I knew instantly that the business would really benefit from updating its equipment, and the revamp would provide the potential for bringing in a great deal more work. The company has really gone for it, and the results have been brilliant,” he says.
Gareth and James put their heads together and systematically went about researching the various types of print technologies, and different printers weighing up the pros and cons of each, and the overall suitability to the business.
“We looked at what our maximum print widths were on jobs, the best quality for the best price, and a model which didn’t incur massive consumables bills – the Mimaki UJV55 – 320 ticked every box,” says James.
James had used Mimaki equipment in a previous role and was impressed by how user-friendly, simple and straight forward the interface was to use. Another plus in the Mimaki’s favour was its good looks. “We’re turning our graphics studio into a working showroom as many of our clients and colleagues visit here to see our print capabilities and look at the samples and finishes that are on display. The Mimaki UJV55 wasn’t just the best on performance, it looks the part as well,” says James.
For James, though what really sets Mimaki technology apart is the vibrancy of colour reproduction. “What really jumped out is the richness of colour, and the balance between speed and quality. Also, installation was a breeze - literally plug and play, straight out of the box,” he says.
The latest UCJV300-160 printer cutter installed in December 2022 was purchased to output vinyl jobs, allowing the UJV55 to concentrate on fabric.
“With this UV LED printer, the quality is pinpoint sharp. It prints and cuts to our desired time frames, and again, is very easy to operate. With both printers in situ, we are much more productive as we no longer have to wait to change from fabric to vinyl on the UJV55. We’re now able to tackle different elements of a job at once which is much more efficient,” says Gareth.
Since investing in Mimaki equipment the company has also been sourcing its textiles from CMYUK. “When we bought the UJV55-320, we reached out to several suppliers regarding materials supply, but CMYUK was absolutely on the ball, totally proactive and interested in helping us find the best solutions,” he says. The company uses UFabrik for backlit work and PONGS® SoftImage Contrast black back roll materials and both Gareth and James are impressed with the results.
“UFabrik backlit is beautiful. I’ve used different backlit products in the past and even with the most careful preparation in production once these are on-site, they crease and wrinkle leaving lots of bruising, however, with UFabrik we’ve found that this isn’t an issue at all,” says James.
“We outsource the silicon edging for our tension frame graphics, and the people that produce it have commented on the superior quality of our print on these materials. It’s something when the trade starts noticing,” adds Gareth.
Both Gareth and James have been impressed with the CMYUK service. “It’s just been fantastic from our first demonstration onwards. Not only have we spent time with Sue Hayward [Sales Director, equipment] and Paul Warwick [Regional Sales Manager, South] but we’ve got to know the machine demonstrators too, and if we ever have an issue – not that we’ve had any big problems – they’re on the phone straight away, explaining things to us or showing us a better way. It’s been brilliant. It’s really good support,” says James.
Paramount 4 also purchased an Easymount 1600 Single Hot laminator from CMYUK to ensure greater protection for graphics being transported to expos across the world.
“Sometimes we over-laminate our PVC vinyl prints that are being used outside for added weather protection, but we also use it as security for ourselves. A lot of print we produce is flat, and often when its shipped, lots of other objects get loaded on top of it. The extra lamination gives us peace of mind, an insurance against damage in transit,” says Gareth.
A culture of excellence
The investment in the new equipment is part of a wider strategy at the company to attract more ambitious and high-profile work, and the strategy has been working. Says Gareth: “Everyone working here has developed a mindset of quality and it’s become something special that is being noticed. There are lots of conversations being had with new clients and large blue-chip customers. Our work is being recognised and everyone is starting to bang on our door.”
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