For Watford-based Rocket Graphics, steady expansion and careful, accurate assessment around where its strongest growth areas lie has led to the investment in a new EFI VUTEk GS5000r, supplied and installed by UK distributor CMYUK Digital. This versatile superwide format UV-curable printer now enables the company to extend the work it produces for sites where 5m sizes are beneficial for logistics, installation and end appearance.
The enterprising company specialises in generating wide- and superwide-format branding projects catering for a wide selection of clients nationwide. These include specialists in the exhibition, event, retail and interior market segments, and it also works with agencies, end users and trade suppliers to whom a broad portfolio of graphics and displays is supplied. Working with a comprehensive range of different types of material, applications are produced on rigid and flexible media with fast, high quality throughput at sensible prices being key to the philosophy of Rocket Graphics.
Founded 19 years ago with the original intention of servicing the exhibition design sector, Rocket Graphics is the brainchild of managing director, Tim Porter. The company has grown steadily since its formation in 1995 to represent a solid business that now produces high quality digital graphics for a variety of clients in a plethora of sectors. A series of expansion plans has been implemented during the past few years which necessitated a move in 2008 from its original premises to a new site better suited to its growth strategy. But it has really been in the last twelve months that it has focused more strongly on future plans which has included adding to its management team as well as investing in new technology. This ensures that the right people and the best systems are in place to instigate the push forward that has released all of the business’s earlier potential.
Moving into a position where widening its existing customer base and taking on new clients has been endorsed by a growth in turnover and overall profitability, Rocket Graphics was all too aware that new technology would need to be brought into the company to aid its passage forward. As an existing user of EFI VUTEk wide-format printers, the decision was made to remain with the same manufacturer’s platforms when opting for a machine that would provide speed, quality and flexibility across a range of superwide-format applications.
Working with EFI’s UK distributor, CMYUK Digital, Rocket Graphics quickly realised that the VUTEk GS5000r would be the ideal device to allow the company to expand effortlessly into the superwide-format marketplace . “This printer is the ideal solution for any business that needs a cost-effective and reliable work-horse for working with 5m materials,” comments Robin East of CMYUK Digital. “Its advanced UV-curable ink technology has the ability to perform consistently with all media, from lightweight meshes and scrims through to heavier gauge PVCs and other roll-fed options. It’s an extremely versatile, rugged system that’s ideal for companies that need to concentrate on volume as well as production speeds and high quality results.”
Rocket Graphics already has long-term experience with EFI, running a duo of VUTEk QS3200 printers, and the company has grown much of its business around the flat-bed and roll-fed characteristics that these two UV- curable machines incorporate. However, because of the growth in demand for superwide-format applications, and the ability to reduce the numbers of seams and joins in very large jobs, the decision was made to purchase EFI’s 5m VUTEk GS5000r. In addition, the multi-roll capabilities of the machine make it simple to print two and three applications simultaneously.
“We focus on our main strengths of production print and we need the right technology to achieve this. Although we include project management and installation where and when required, we prefer to leave creativity and strategy to our clients, and concentrate on what we do best.” states Commercial Director at Rocket Graphics, Antony Rider. “Through our ‘can do’ work philosophy we produce a wide range of applications, often onto new materials, for leading sites such as Wimbledon, Silverstone, Twickenham and Farnborough Air Show, and we liaise closely with design teams to make sure that the visual brand reflects the right vision.”
The addition of the EFI VUTEk GS5000r now enables Rocket Graphics to enter a new era of superwide-format productivity where it can combine speed and quality to produce single rolls up to 5m wide plus multiple rolls of 1.62m for added versatility. With reliable throughput being key, this new machine is able to produce colour accurate results on a huge range of flexible materials.
Rocket Graphics is no newcomer to superwide-format print but greener practices and greater environmental awareness have combined with the improvement in ink formulation and adhesion to promote the use of UV-curable technology across all widths and material types. As a result it has been a natural progression to move from an existing solvent-based printer to the VUTEk GS5000r which has been easy to set up and use, and sits happily alongside the company’s existing VUTEk combination platforms.
The company’s impressive equipment armoury overall includes two earlier flat-bed and roll-fed models from VUTEk as well as its QS3200 machines, plus Mimaki JV5 and JV3 roll-to-roll units that are used for close-viewed graphics. For finishing its applications Rocket Graphics has a Zünd flat-bed cutting table, which benefits from a dedicated operator whose CNC experience enables a host of innovative tasks to be produced.
The mix of technologies now employed by Rocket Graphics broadens the types of work that can be produced in the longer term, with its 5m wide VUTEk GS5000r enabling the company to produce larger applications profitably with many now generated as a single piece. “An extra 2m in height when working with large graphics for events, exhibitions and retail can make an enormous difference in the way we produce a job,” explains Rider. “Reducing the number of joins in a piece of material not only results in a neater and more effective result but also simplifies the logistics for installers. Present day UV-curable inks are so good that we can print direct to meshes and thinner materials, too, knowing that we’ll get the adhesion and durability that’s required.”
Rocket Graphics is now set on a path for year-on-year growth, seeing its turnover increase by 25% in 2013 and with at least the same percentage forecast for this year. As well as its superwide-format printer investment, the company has also implemented Caldera’s Flow+ business workflow software, and was the first in the UK to do so. This will increase its efficient production and administrative practices and enhance accountability across all of its activities, and fits in with plans to take on additional project work and more new contracts while saving on time and costs. This installation integrates with its existing Caldera colour management system used to produce consistent results across all output devices.
“Our investment plans are set to continue in-line with the company’s growth, and that move accommodates people as well as a new equipment,” concludes Rider. “Rocket Graphics has more development scheduled, including an extension to its present business base and a significant expansion of our workspace.”
“Rocket Graphics is a typical example of a company which has based much of its successful production on EFI VUTEk printers so that, when this new investment was planned, we knew exactly which solution will meet its requirements,” says East. “We’re pleased to be playing an important role in the company’s vision for the future by providing the right technology at the right time.”