By Duncan Jeffries, head of marketing and business development, Hybrid Services
Established in 1996 as Mimaki’s exclusive distributor for the UK and Ireland, Hybrid Services celebrated its 25th anniversary during 2021.
Over the last quarter of a century (and doubtless Printwear & Promotion’s 30 years!), the digital printing and visual communications landscape has seen extraordinary change and progress, with technology available today that may have seemed unimaginable in the mid-1990s. Throughout this time, Hybrid has forged long-lasting relationships, working closely with its reseller partners and collectively striving towards Mimaki’s goal of delivering something new, something different.
The Mimaki product range now encompasses wide and grand format textile, dye sublimation, garment marking, personalisation, sign and graphics and industrial printers as well as cutters, supporting software, inks and consumables, and an expanding 3D line-up. With multiple industry firsts delivered over the last 25 years in all areas of the industry, Hybrid and Mimaki’s reputation as innovators continues, and in 2021, important new products were launched into the UK and Ireland.
Looking to the not-too-distant future, new technologies for emerging markets such as 3D printing, robotics and factory automation have made their way into Mimaki’s line-up. In tandem with the advancement of its core graphics products, Mimaki is visibly committing to new areas with R&D targeted at delivering state of the art workflow options and IoT (Internet of Things) connectivity. Examples of Mimaki flatbed printers operating alongside robotic media loading and unloading have already been demonstrated at exhibitions.
Hybrid now sports a team of around 50 people, many of whom have been with the company for a significant time, and an HQ, showroom and distribution centre located in Crewe, Cheshire. The showroom houses a broad range of Mimaki’s latest technology, as well as a Mimaki Tx-1600S textile printer that dates from the late 1990s. With a production speed of around 1sq m/h, it can’t compete with printers from the current portfolio, but is an important reminder of how digital printing helped transform the textile industry.