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Rocket goes stratospheric!

Rocket goes stratospheric!

Originally founded in 1998 by Tim Porter, who was later joined by Oliver Bridgeman, Rocket Graphics is a wide-format print company that specialises in brand implementation for lifestyle/experiential services.

In 2012, the Watford-based company, which prides itself on its quality and reliability, underwent a period of significant change. At a time when its annual turnover had reached approximately £2.6 million a year and it was still outsourcing a significant amount of work, it appointed David Wicks as Finance Director and Antony Rider as Sales Director, while also moving into new 5,000 sq ft. premises.

Now, it occupies three units totalling nearly 20,000 sq ft, employs a staff of 52, enjoys a turnover of £8 million and carries out all services, including installation, in-house.

Rocket Graphics has enjoyed a long and close relationship with CMYUK, which has supplied the vast majority of its wide format print equipment over the years. In fact, in the last 16 months alone CMYUK has supplied an EFI VUTEk LX3, which replaced older EFI VUTEk machines, two Mimaki UCJV300-160 UV, roll-to-roll printer/cutters, an EFI FabriVu 340 3.4m dye sublimation printer, a Kiliverik Calendar press and two Graphtec FC8600/160 vinyl cutters in an investment programme that totalled some £700,000.

Accordingly, the company now has the ability to output consistently superior colour quality across all of its machines onto substrates up to three metres wide, while also offering some output at five metre widths.

Rider explained that the ongoing partnership with CMYUK has been highly valuable. He confided: “Every purchase has been very carefully considered and CMYUK has never failed to provide the right advice to ensure that we make the best and most appropriate choices. What’s more, we’ve also been able to tae advantage of its excellent offers on consumables and trade-ins, as well as its superior service whenever the machines have needed repair. “

As a long-standing user of EFI VUTEK and Mimaki printers, Rocket Graphics has benefitted from the technological improvements that each generation of machines brings.

Rider continued: “Investing in VUTEk printers ensures colour consistency across the board, which is essential, especially when you consider that with some jobs, we’re outputting 800 items onto different materials, and all the colours have to be the same.”

With daily print schedules that are often interrupted by urgent, last minute work, Rocket Graphics also needs equipment with minimal lead times and high speeds. The latest EFI VUTEk LX3, for example, can output a job in just six hours, which would have taken its predecessor 15hours to complete. This enhanced level of productivity has enabled Rocket Graphics to significantly increase its output.

Machine versatility is also an important imperative. Rider observed: “We’re printing onto G-Floor and a wide variety of both rigid and flexible substrates and our range of media is forever growing. Thus, we need versatile machines that are equally effective on all of the materials we use on a typical day.”

Rocket Graphics is also a big fan of Mimaki equipment, with Rider remarking: “They are part of the armoury, real workhorses that output an amazing amount of print.”

The company’s latest installation has been the EFI VUTEk FabriVU 340 digital, fabric printer, along with a Klieverik 3200mm calendar press.

This machine replaced an old inline sublimation printer that was purchased five years ago through another supplier and proved unsatisfactory. However, by contrast, Rider proclaims himself to be delighted with the performance of the FabriVu, saying: “It’s a lot more reliable, and is opening up new areas for us. In fact, it has really hit the ground running as its installation has coincided with Rocket Graphics recently winning the account to produce retail displays for the high street chain River Island.

At the same time, it has also increased its stitching capacity with the purchase of two new sewing machines. This capability, along with automatic cutting tables has enabled Rocket Graphics to unlock new opportunities, including the 3,000 seat covers that were printed, profile cut and stitched in time for use at The Cricket World Cup.

The purchase of the FabriVu also reflects wider market trends. For example, Rocket Graphics now only prints 30 percent rigid board, with the rest of its work being output to skins and fabrics. It has already migrated 20 percent of its work to the FabriVu and is also using the machine to pitch for more retail work, with Rider predicting that this area will provide £200,000 of new business over the next two years.

As far as the future is concerned, Rocket Graphics aims to continue its growth trajectory by meeting the evolving needs of its existing clients, whilst also attracting new clients from the same sector.

Further maximising its arsenal of equipment is central to this growth vision as is the continual drive to deliver on quality. Concluded Rider: “We’re not a commodity supplier, which isn’t to say that we aren’t competitive, but customers primarily use us because we add value, and that’s where we sit in the market.”

For further information on Rocket Graphics, visit:

For further information on CMYUK, visit:

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