The Lux Group installs Mimaki JFX200-2513 EX UV LED dedicated flatbed from CMYUK

July 26, 2023
Advanced printing capacity expected to drive new product development and company growth Advanced printing capacity expected to drive new product development and company growth

The Lux Group has installed a new Mimaki JFX200-2513 EX UV LED flatbed printer from CMYUK. The investment will drive the company’s next phase of growth across its multiple brands that service both B2B and B2C customers. It will ensure that the company retains and propels its competitive edge even further in the wedding market and will extend its reach into new events sectors.

“Many of our competitors servicing the wedding market are smaller ‘at home’ producers. We have a real opportunity here to expand and grow to become one of the biggest wedding suppliers in the UK. This has been our plan and so we have invested in UV technology as we know it’s the way forward. There are lots of print shops out there but none specifically that specialise in creating unique designs and large format printing for weddings,” says co-founder Mark Turner.

The back story

The Lux Group was founded in August 2019 by partners Mark and Suzanne Cartwright. It consists of several companies – weddinglux, the lux co, craftilux, bizlux and partlylux that offer creative luxury bespoke and personalised products from wedding décor and gift ideas to unique business products.

Both have backgrounds in retail and selling, while Suzanne is also a designer, marketeer and owned her own retail clothes store. Back to 2019 – both were carrying out freelance marketing work for different businesses and after receiving quotes for some exterior signage, both felt they could do the work better and cheaper themselves, which is how they ended up with their first small desktop laser cutter, installed in the garage of their home.

“The signage went really well, and we thought we should just look into it further. We really took a risk leasing the machine with the idea to see what we could make from it. We did some exploring and lots of market research and decided to go down the wedding route, which was the first company that we created in the Group,” says Mark.

Personalised gifts – both corporate and consumer – joined the roster and in March 2020, a second larger laser cutter was installed. The garage and now the spare room had reached full capacity, and it was at this point that they decided to move into a new commercial unit – just a fortnight before Lockdown was declared.

Initially, the vista looked challenging – as all weddings were cancelled. However, the resourceful pair came up with another idea – designing a series of personalised commemorative baubles for the first Lockdown Christmas. In three weeks, they had sold 25,000 of them and in 2021 they purchased two additional laser cutters plus Epson dye sublimation technology for the production of mugs, phone cases, notepads, and the like – all of which were commercial sure-fire hits.

The road to UV

While the investment in laser technology had initially been a priority, Mark and Suzanne had been considering the benefits of UV as far back as 2020. They decided to dip their toes in the water and bought a cost-effective import. They began using this in the 12-months before the purchase of the Mimaki, producing products that incorporated both laser and UV accents in their designs.

“The UV side of the business really grew in the year building up to the purchase of the Mimaki. We could see from the numbers that we were heading to a point where UV printing would account for 50% of our work, so it made sense to invest in the right equipment that we could rely on and see us through,” says Mark.

CMYUK guidance and advice

The Lux Group had been in touch with Sue Hayward (CMYUK’s Sales Director, Equipment) for a good year before investing in the Mimaki. It was aware of CMYUK’s social media presence, following it on LinkedIn and personally knew of other businesses that worked with the supplier. “CMYUK has industry credibility. Its local to us as well, which is perfect in terms of support, so approaching them was a no-brainer,” says Mark. “We knew what we wanted a printer to do and once we communicated our requirements to Sue, she directed us to the Mimaki flatbed. We visited the CMYUK showroom for a demonstration and were absolutely blown away with what we saw.”

The Mimaki JFX200-2513 EX is a UV LED flatbed printer offering the unique 2.5D print technology that closes the gap between 2D and 3D applications. High performing, it is designed for users that are seeking high volume production. It can handle a wide range of rigid substrates of up to 2.5m x 1.3m in size and to a thickness of 50mm. It offers a resolution up to 1200dpi and is built on Mimaki’s core technology for exceptional print quality that includes Mimaki Clear Control (MCC), adding value to prints by delivering various high-quality finish options. MAPS (Mimaki Advanced Pass System) reduces banding, while MCT (Mimaki Circulation Technology) prevents pigment sedimentation when printing with white.

“It’s a great piece of kit and looks really cool. We’re really impressed with its speed and capacity. I also can’t get over how easy it is to operate,” says Mark.

Since the installation of the printer, production at the Group has skyrocketed. In comparison, its old UV printer would take 20 minutes to output a single A1 sized wedding welcome board or table plan. The Mimaki can output 6 x of the same in under 10 minutes. “In the four weeks since we’ve had the Mimaki it’s paid dividends already. We think our printed output will exceed the engraving side of the business, but whatever happens, the lasers and UV work really well together,” he says.

Next steps

While UV capabilities will drive innovative new product lines, the technology has also attracted local marketing agencies looking for trade printing facilities. The Group has acquired a second production unit and now employs a staff of ten. It is still doing what it’s always done – capitalising on market trends, but with the firepower of the Mimaki at its core, it can extend its reach into new sectors.

Says Mark, “Social media is making a big difference and we’re seeing trends from Australia and the US trickling down into the UK such as large installations at wedding venue entrances. We also now match a couple’s wedding colours to their décor. We’re also finding that our events décor work is growing organically - we’ve worked on large corporate events for end clients such as ‘In Style’ and ‘Love Island’. The investment in the Mimaki has expanded our offering for installations up to 2.5 meters and to match any colour palette plus allowing us to become much faster and far more efficient.”

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