10 December 2019
Cactus Imaging, the printing division of outdoor giant oOh!Media, has installed Australia’s first Fujifilm Acuity Ultra 5044, one of the first five of its generation in the world, which boosts the platform’s print speed from 236sqm/h to a blistering 400sqm/h.
It is the second time in a row Cactus will be one of the platform’s earliest adopters, having installed its predecessor in November 2018, also as an Australian first. The previous model at Cactus Imaging is having its software updated to the newest platform as part of the installation.
The latest 5m workhorse from Fujifilm combines its predecessor’s 3 picolitre droplet size, with an improved ability to print multi-roll, with three 300m rolls able to be set up to run independently on the 5044.
Cactus has seen incredible growth in recent years, and has installed a series of printers to keep up and meet demand, while innovating and pushing for capabilities that its competitors do not have.
The Ultra was selected for its ability to help the company diversify, adding flexible capacity across indoor and outdoor applications: fabric, POS, billboards, interior décor, segments which Cactus says it has grown since the installation of its first Acuity Ultra in late 2018. Selecting two CMYK heads for its newly installed Ultra, Cactus has prioritised speed to meet demand.
With a three picolitre ink size, the CMYK heads of the new generation of machines achieve a print quality and gamut that belies the lack of extra colours.
Cactus Imaging is no stranger to early adoption, having been founded 25 years ago with a philosophy to push the boundaries. Since then, the company has picked up multiple pieces of kit from different manufacturers as an early-adopter.
Its founder, Keith Ferrel, is known in printing circles internationally for their approach, was inducted into the Fespa Hall of Fame in 2012, and often gives print presentations to international audiences.
As Ferrel explains, “We have been early adopters of technology for the past 25 years. We started this company on a world-first electrostatic printer. We do not like to follow, we like to lead.
“We work closely with manufacturers all around the world with what they have got coming up in the future. We are constantly looking for innovation, new inks, substrates, printers, or equipment that may give us an advantage.
“There’s no doubt that this strategy has worked for us.”
Of course, with all new pieces of kit come the inevitable teething issues as they are fine-tuned following installation.
For Ferrel, the minor hiccups are well worth the results.
“My way of thinking is: If you become an early adopter of technology, and work closely with the manufacturer you can make it work for their benefit, and our benefit.
“We recognise there are teething problems as early adopters, but if you wait five years for it to be tweaked and proven, then you get no advantage.”
The Ultra is in the final stages of its installation currently, and expected to be up and running completely early next week.