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CMYUK helps 3 Sixty to future-proof its business

CMYUK helps 3 Sixty to future-proof its business

Originally founded in 2010 to provide an end-to-end printing and installation solution for clients active in the retail, sporting event, automotive and décor sectors, 3 Sixty recently installed an EFI VUTEk h5 from CMYUK to help future-proof its business.

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 he feels will be a real ‘game-changer’ for the business.

3 Sixty works with a wide variety of materials, including fabrics, metals, wood, plastics, adhesives and magnetics, but more and more it is selecting environmentally-friendly options.

Ben Newton, the company’s Commercial Director, observed: “Less than three percent of the work we process is on paper and board, we use print machines to create products rather than just print.”

He added: “We initially looked at the h5 last autumn, and whilst we also investigated the efficacy of other machines too, the h5, with its flexibility of materials, amazing quality, speed to market, productivity, efficiency and reduction of carbon footprint meant that the decision was really a no brainer!”

3 Sixty’s plan to launch a new high-end dye-sublimation process to print onto wood and aluminum, originally earmarked for May, has now been postponed until September for obvious reasons, but in the meantime, the company has decided instead to focus on working with clients to increase turnaround times, which, in turn, necessitated the purchase of h5.

CMYUK has been a supply partner to 3 Sixty for ten years and has consequently built up a mutually beneficial relationship with the company.

Ben continued: “Our suppliers have been one of the key elements of our success. We work exceptionally closely with all our suppliers to ensure that both parties gain from the relationship. Understanding how they work and the challenges they face is as important to us as understanding our own operation if we are to secure the continuity of the supply chain.”

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 extended and now CBILS can be used to directly support capital asset finance.

John Price, CMYUK’s Finance Director, explained: “One of the great advantages is that companies can use CBILS to refinance their existing assets as well as using it to fund new or even second-hand purchases. They can combine a new asset purchase with the financing of other equipment, meaning that while their existing overheads remain the same, they have also added another asset that can help them to become more efficient, competitive and profitable.”

CBILS is the most powerful, flexible, low-cost finance package that businesses have ever been able to access.”

Ben commented: “We have worked with Jon and Robin at CMYUK for a decade. They understand our business very well and really helped us by putting together a deal that would work for us. The h5 will increase our capacity and speed significantly, but at the same time, because of the way our business is set-up, we won’t need to generate more sales to pay for the printer.”

The h5 is the pièce de résistance in 3 Sixty’s already impressive armoury, which includes a selection of UV and dye-sublimation printers, including an EFI VUTEk GS 3250r and an impressive array of finishing equipment.

The result of EFI VUTEk’s reimagined and reengineered high-volume, super-wide, hybrid inkjet platform, the h5 is a 3.2metre wide next-generation printer that offers a resolution of 1200dpi and features eight colour modes plus white, thus providing up to a nine-layer print capability in a single pass. It offers super smooth shadows, gradients, and transitions, together with an excellent clear text quality.

Encapsulating powerful LED technology, it supports an extended range of substrates, including lower cost and added-value specialty media, all of which can be handled by the automated media loading, stacker systems, and super duty winders.

According to a Fogra study, the h5 drives down operating costs with up to 82 percent lower energy consumption and fewer consumable parts.

3 Sixty has remained open throughout lockdown during which time it has seen the demand for floor graphics surge by 80 percent, equating to the production of up to 100,000 floor graphics per week.

Richard confided: “We’d already built a reputation for supplying this application, so we knew precisely what was required, but the availability of the floor graphic material was the most challenging aspect. Happily, CMYUK never let us down and we were never in a position where we did not have stock. We were having to plan three weeks in advance, but even when a substantial order hit us unexpectedly, CMYUK pulled out all the stops to supply us with the material when it looked near on impossible.”

During lockdown, 3 Sixty has largely printed interior floor graphics, using large volumes of CMYUK’s UTACK Multi-Surface Textile and CMYUK UProtect Sand Textured laminate. The former a unique adhesive coated textile designed for indoor and outdoor wall and floor graphics, which works extremely well when used on carpet, wood, tiles and concrete surfaces, but leaves no residue when it’s removed at the end of its useful life. It is also anti-slip to R12 standard and has F3 and M1 fire certifications.

The latter is a clear matt embossed PVC over laminating film with minimal glare, which is coated with a permanent acrylic adhesive. suitable for over-lamination of all ink types including UV inks, it has a rough texture, excellent anti-scuff properties and is BS476/R9 slip and Class 0 fire rated for six-month indoor use.

Concluded Richard: “Now that lockdown is gradually easing, we will be able to focus on a number of new areas thanks to the capabilities of the h5 and the forthcoming introduction of our new dye-sublimation materials offering. Accordingly, we are greatly looking forward to the next six months and capitalising on the opportunities they bring, secure in the knowledge that whatever happens, we know that we can always rely on CMYUK to help us succeed!”

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