CMYUK is to construct a new digital textiles development facility to make the most of a “significant growth area”.
The wide-format distributor will expand the floorspace of its Shrewsbury base by an additional 50% to make room for the facility. It will be used as a demo centre for its expanding textile machinery portfolio, as well as making use of the machines onsite to test possibilities in new textile substrates and their interaction with machinery.
Construction is set to begin next month and be completed by the summer. The extension will be headed up by Brett Platt, who was appointed as CMYUK’s new digital textiles division manager last week after leaving Mimaki distributor Hybrid Services.
He said: “Everyone at CMYUK feels like textiles are a significant growth area at the moment. We have been selling a lot to the soft signage and display market but we would also like to see those sorts of businesses look sideways to see how they can enhance their offering.
“We want to use the new facility to grow our offering by eventually bringing in new machines that reach from the industrial standards to entry-level, building a good cross-section in the sector.
“By testing fabrics and substrates on the machines, from polyester to natural fabrics like cotton, linen, velvet and silk, we will be able to advise on what machines in what settings go best with which textiles and hopefully develop our clients’ businesses further that way.”
CMYUK’s textiles hardware portfolio currently includes EFI’s Vutek FabriVu dye-sublimation printers, which the business became the sole UK and Ireland distributor for last year, and a raft of Mimaki devices. It is looking to expand with further prospects including the tech developed by EFI Reggiani and Mimaki machines such as the new TS55 paper sublimator.
Using a wide range of sublimators and textile machines, including heat presses, a range of new fabrics are hoped to be brought to market by testing them in the facility’s R&D wing.
The reseller will also be working with chemical companies to develop and prove coatings for its expanding range of natural fabrics to improve the quality of clients’ colour and fixation when printing directly.
New hires will be made in the near future “as and when needed”, according to Platt. The Shrewsbury demo centre currently houses anywhere up to 20 members of staff when its roaming sales team is onsite.
CMYUK, which has its head office in Woodley, Berkshire, will also be partnering with designers and production companies to showcase solutions for textile market sectors including contemporary wall and ceiling systems, décor and fashion, as well as hosting innovation days for customers within the business and educational sectors.
“The next six months to a year are going to be a very interesting time for us, with a lot of work to do,” said Platt. “All of our offerings will inevitably grow as textile printing joins UV and solvent as key focuses for CMYUK.”