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Flagging it up with a Mimaki

Flagging it up with a Mimaki
Waterlooville-based Hampshire Flag has invested in a Mimaki JFX 200-2513 EX UV LED flatbed printer from CMYUK, an acquisition that coincides with the company’s 40th anniversary and marks a new chapter in its history.

Traditionally a large format fabric printer, producing flags, exhibition and event equipment products, Hampshire Flag has always printed onto vinyl, which is mounted onto substrates such as Foamex and Corex for a small number of clients.

“Increasingly customers were asking for more of this type of work,” explained Sales Manager, Rod Sessions (pictured right above with some of the Hampshire Flag team), “and it was becoming more and more time-consuming. We felt the need to go faster but also wanted to open up further opportunities within the signage market too. We are known as a flag and fabric manufacturer, but felt we could easily become a signage manufacturer. We just needed the right equipment to help us do this efficiently and quickly.

Historically, signage has accounted for 5 to ten percent of our business, but we’ve always looked at the huge market potential of signage and thought we’d like a piece of it. It’s not too different from what we’re doing, but because of the machinery we have at the moment, our price point for this type of work isn’t competitive enough. There was no point in us doing a signage tender because, with our existing kit, we’d be priced out of the market, hence the motivation to purchase the new flatbed.”

The onward diversification doesn’t stop here. Thanks to COVID, the company, which has an established web presence, started to look at opportunities within personalised gifting too. “We felt that with the Pandemic there would be a trend towards personalised and customised gifting, so we’ve positioned ourselves favourably in order to meet the additional revenue streams bought about by market demand. Once again, the JFX 200- 2513 EX will help us with this and we’ve got the expertise in-house to do it,” added Rod.

After researching and considering a number of printer manufacturers, the company identified Mimaki as the main contender. Hampshire Flag visited the CMYUK demonstration facility in Shrewsbury and was greatly impressed with not only the Mimaki portfolio but the whole CMYUK experience.

Rod takes up the story: “We were really comfortable with the JFX 200 – 2513 EX, but also with the CMYUK levels of service which we knew would be responsive to our demands going forward. We felt we’d get a great deal of value from CMYUK in the longer term through its support.”

The JFX 200 -2513 EX is arguably the industry’s best-selling UV-LED curing flatbed printer that combines high-value printing with high productivity. Features include Embossed Printing that makes a surface look bumpy due to the ability to lay down multiple ink layers. Offering White and Colour, this 8ft x 4ft flatbed automatically detects any missing print nozzles and performs recovery. In addition, the printer uses an advanced algorithm to print optimum gradation patterns on each pass, thus significantly eliminating banding effect on the print.

Roy Carr, who started out by producing PVC banners in his loft, was the original founder of Hampshire Flag. Forty years on, it’s still a family affair, with Roy’s daughter Angela Saunders now the MD and her son Robert also working for the firm. Today it has an annual turnover exceeding £3million and employs a staff of 32, many of whom have been with the business for over 20 years.

Rod concluded: “We’re not just a print company. We have a finishing department for our flags that consists of a bank of 12-15 sewing machine operatives, who are literally sewing flags and many other textile products all day, every day. They have been with us a very long time and are highly skilled at producing, amongst other things, complicated Royal flags that take two to three days to hand sew.”

While flags will remain its core business, the company is preparing for reinvention. Three new members of staff are earmarked to join the company this year and the new Mimaki technology will help it to usher in the next 40 years in style.

For further information on Hampshire Flag, visit: www.hampshireflag.co.uk

For further information on CMYUK, visit:www.cmyuk.com

 

 

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