Sign and Digital UK: time for an update

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Sign and Digital UK. Now nearly 30 years old, this Birmingham-based exhibition provides a chance for sign and display producers to see the latest products on the market and discuss with suppliers like YPS what the best route forward is with their next investment. For us, it’s the perfect opportunity to meet with customers and prospects alike, hear your opinions about the future of the industry, and frame how we can support your growth over the coming year.


How was the show for YPS? 

Every business needs to see a return on a large-scale activity like attending a trade show and YPS is no exception. We’re pleased to report that we’ve brought even more customers on board than our barnstorming efforts in 2015, when we were the best-selling Mimaki vendor on the show floor.

That’s because more customers came to our stand with an idea of what they wanted: whether it was an expansion into textile printing, hunting down new opportunities in industrial print or looking for a sign and graphics printer that would improve turnaround times or media flexibility. Our Three Routes to Profitability campaign really came into its own, helping visitors identify revenue streams that will allow them to grow over the next year.

We were also proud to bring on board several new partners at this year’s show, including Muratex, Beaver Paper and DigiDelta. It’s one of our jobs as a supplier to find best-quality partners for all of these areas of print, and it was fantastic for our team to see interest reflected by attendees in these new solutions – not just sign and print shop owners but also from our hard-working friends in the trade press.

On top of all that we got to talk to our clients, our peers, journalists and VIPs about the state of the industry – so where do we think our sector is headed next? Here’s five ideas from you, our colleagues and other industry professionals.


  1. Is the industry still the ‘sign’ industry?

Back in the day, signs were made by skilled practitioners using analogue processes. Some 25 years later and the practice has changed, incorporating wide-format print and even digital signage to communicate brands and messages to the public.

But many of you are now producing graphics that exceed this remit. Even the word ‘digital’ has a new meaning: to buyers, it indicates digital screens rather than digitally driven print machinery. So, ‘sign-making’ as such is and isn’t what it used to be; there are still skilled sign-writers and manufacturers out there, but it’s a very different industry even to how it was a decade ago. As always, it’s a case of making sure we speak the same language as our customers.


  1. Wide-format print is no longer just about signage

As visitors to the YPS stand at Sign and Digital UK 2016 can attest, digital ink-jet technology is driving rapid progress in textile printing and industrial print, making inroads into the areas of fashion, interior décor, promotional goods, components and functional systems. Our customers are witnessing that change as it happens and taking advantage of it at the right time for their business’s growth.

But there were companies who visited us at the show who aren’t in the sign industry. These professionals were fascinated by the application of our Mimaki printers in new areas, from packaging to apparel and home furnishings. Wide-format print extends far beyond signage and there’s fantastic new revenue to be found within those verticals. Is it time for us to stop talking about ‘sign and digital’, and to talk instead about the power of print?


  1. The UK print industry isn’t exclusively based in the south of England

Although we’re based in Newcastle, YPS supplies customers all over the UK. Gone are the days when our industry could support regional trade shows – a trend seen across the exhibitions space – but there’s definitely a question about whether Birmingham’s NEC is the best location for its purpose. How about exposing new parts of the country to the power of print? New destinations could help new stakeholders and to everyone’s benefit. We think it’s definitely a question that should be asked.


  1. It’s time to promote diversity, because we’ll all benefit

 We, like you, are passionate about the world of print and we’d like to see people from other industries invest in its power. To capture that properly we need to start promoting print to new audiences and bringing them to discover the amazing applications we can produce. That means an industry-wide effort to encourage new stakeholders, such as younger people and start-ups, designers, architects and other types of professional agency to come and find out how print can be used to solve problems and communicate with customers in innovative ways.

It’s all a question of marketing and YPS is stepping up its efforts to tell the tale of print’s true capability via engaging stories to a completely new audience. Across the world of print we are seeing original applications spring up, made possible by these incredible new technologies from Mimaki and our other partners that take the basics of digital ink-jet and extend them into the areas of textile and industry.

Sign-making is still an important part of that but it’s only one route to profitability – it’s time for our sector to look to the outside and find some other routes, too.


Find out about YPS’s Three Routes to Profitability initiative: explore our campaign post, check out our special sector-themed offers, and give us a call for a demonstration or a quote!

PR: YPS reveals additional partners to present full textile workflow at Sign UK

Your Print Specialists (YPS) is set to bring new partners to Sign and Digital UK, augmenting its status as the largest specialist Mimaki reseller and providing complementary solutions for its ‘three routes to profitability’ initiative.

Now the exclusive authorised vendor for the Muratex range of calenders and fixation units in the UK, YPS will sell and support both roll-to-roll and cut-sheet options in various sizes, ranging from 1.8 to 3.2m. Recognised for its accuracy and reliability in crucial areas, such as media transport, heat control and pneumatic tensioning, the Muratex MPT1800 calendar or MDF1800 fixation unit is bundled with the Mimaki TS300-1800 at an attractive sub-£40k price point in a special deal available only at the show.

High-quality substrates are also vital to profitability, which is why YPS has concluded arrangements with DigiDelta for its Decal range. Decal offers a wealth of media for both direct-to-texile and two-step sublimation printing; this Portuguese manufacturer’s specially formulated options include lined and unlined flag and textile banner materials, as well as transfer papers and specialist materials for wallcoverings and other interior decoration applications.

British manufacturer Brook International is also joining the YPS roster, allowing the north-east based supplier to provide an array of new textile materials to the UK market. This diverse and unique range comprises materials for soft signage, flags and fabric-based banners, as well as media optimised for canvas, promotional, decorative and homeware applications. The Brook International portfolio contains products suited to dye-sublimation as well as solvent and UV-curable processes, greatly enhancing the matched media offering now available via YPS.

Additionally, YPS will carry the Beaver Paper selection of TexPrint sublimation papers. Incorporating cut-sheet and roll-based options, TexPrint sports a high-release, quick-dry formula that will suit sign and graphics printers looking to take advantage of rapid but accurate job fulfilment in their new textile set-up.

Finally, visitors to Sign and Digital UK will be able to see finished textile light-boxes thanks to the innovative and easy-to-use Spirit Displays Spirit-TEX system. This tensioned display option uses a simple stitched edging product to enable rapid assembly, eliminating additional costs in finishing while nevertheless delivering a high-quality result.

“Textile printing requires reliability from start to finish, including both the equipment that supports the printer and the media used to produce the rich, accurate images our clients expect,” explains Garry Brown, managing director, YPS. “Our new relationships with Muratex, Brook International, DigiDelta, Beaver Paper and Spirit Displays reflect this need and we are delighted to have brought them together to provide an holistic solution for our customers.”

Three routes to profitability – but what does it mean?

At this year’s Sign and Digital UK – taking place in Birmingham next week – we’re presenting Three routes to profitability. This is a showcase of how you can access new money-making areas using print technology that isn’t a million miles from what you already use, meaning that you’re already on the right track.

These three routes are textile, graphics and industrial print. YPS and Mimaki really have all the tools to help you along the road, giving you the opportunity to move into new revenue stream and vertical markets. So, although there are three routes, we’re emphasising that all you need is one supplier, one manufacturer and one name to access the widest choice of printing equipment in the industry.

The chances are, if you’re a sign-maker, that you already own a Mimaki or other wide-format device. You might, for example, be looking to add UV-curable technology to your solvent fleet, or transition from eco-solvent to textile, to expand what applications you can create for customers. The good news is that it isn’t as much of a leap as you might think.

Many current Mimaki print engines use the same or similar software packages, enabling a smooth transition from your current equipment and market to your new target sectors. The thing is that you already have the know-how – and we have the tools to drive you to success.

Each day this week we’ll be revealing details of special time-limited offers we’ll be presenting at the show – so keep checking our blog for more details and for a bargain that’ll secure your next route to profit!


Route one: Textile and apparel

Fashion, sports apparel, soft signage, home furnishings – these are just a few of the areas where volume-led production is being replaced by the convenience of shorter runs and customisation. The textile market is extremely positive, and print providers that understand the opportunities around dye-sublimation and pigment-based fabric production are making lucrative moves in this fast-changing space.

Machines like the Mimaki TS500P-320, a 3.2m dye-sublimation printer hitting speeds as rapid as 180sq m/hour, are eliminating the challenge of producing personalised prints at high volume, while the TS300P-1800 is a low-cost unit designed to help printers access the sportswear and corporate apparel markets. This latter model also offers fluorescent pink and yellow ink channels, making for some creative, eye-catching textile designs.

Textile printing has come down in price significantly and offers great versatility in creativity and application. Understanding customer expectations, and the interplay of the technologies involved, is key to delivering success – which is why, at YPS, we provide not only the printer but also the calender or fixation unit, transfer papers, inks and other equipment to have a fully-featured textile print production set-up.

That’s why we’ve partnered with Muratex for a special show deal that will drive you right up the road to new profit in no time!


Deal one: Mimaki TS300-1800 plus Muratex 1.8m calender/fixation unit for only £39,995 (excluding VAT, delivery and installation)!


Route two: Industrial products

From nameplates to membrane switch panels, electronics housings and fine gauge printing, industrial print has become an area of expansion and profit for wide-format houses in the last few years – and Mimaki technologies have been at the forefront of this exploration.

The UJF-3042FX ‘baby flat-bed’ is now the biggest-selling flat-bed in the world, printing everything from industrial components to signage and promotional products. Now available in a larger bed size as the UJF-7151plus, this competitive machine sports precise ink placement, superior image quality thanks to its six staggered heads and offers direct access to the immensely profitable direct-to-object market.

But there are other ways of reaching new profit via industrial applications. The JFX 500 flat-bed, at 3 x 2m, prints to a range of sensitive and unusual materials thanks to its UV-LED curing technology, while the UJV55-320 gives owners stunning speeds at a hugely competitive price tag for roll-fed applications up to 3.2m wide.

As one of our three routes to profitability, industrial print is simply a new way to solve problems using print, and we know that it’s easy for you to start making money in this sector. If you’re excited by this pathway, check out our special show deal at Sign and Digital UK, which you won’t find with every Mimaki dealer!


Deal two: Mimaki UJF-7151plus with gold warranty extended to two years (value £1,995) and delivery, installation and training free of charge (value £1,495) for only £49,995 (excluding VAT)!


Route three: Sign and graphics

The solvent-based sign and graphics market is an extraordinary Mimaki success story that has seen print houses progress from the popular JV3 to the JV33 and on to the JV150 and JV300 ranges. This series of printers is presented at increments that factor in throughput and total cost of ownership while delivering top-notch Mimaki quality, meaning that your investment can scale as your business does.

Why is this competitive area one of our three routes to profitability? At YPS we believe that there is always a way to make production as efficient and practical as possible. These eco-solvent ranges have allowed commercial printers expand into wide-format, and helped screen-printers augment their traditional processes with the digital benefit of short-run creativity. The way that this range is designed has helped smaller sign and graphics shops climb up to the next production level when they’re ready, opening up greater capacity as the business requires it.


Deal three: Too numerous to mention – we’ve got tons of deals across all our eco-solvent machines, so come and see us at the show!


Come and visit us at stand E2 at Sign and Digital UK next week at the NEC in Birmingham. If you’d like us to prepare some information about your chosen production area, why not book in a time to see us using our contact form?