Cactus claims 1st spot with 3rd Ultra

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There may be printers with more of the high-performance machines in the world, but none pump through more Fujifilm ink than the iconic Australian wide-format business … and that’s only going to grow in 2021.

Masters of innovation. Keith Ferrel and Nigel Spicer at Cactus Imaging.
Masters of innovation: Keith Ferrel and Nigel Spicer at Cactus Imaging

Powering on as the industry’s technology leader, Sydney-based Cactus is continuing to defy economic predictions, by posting growth throughout the pandemic period. Even as the rest of the industry and the economy reeled under lockdowns and downsizing last year, the business enjoyed two of its best months ever.

According to Nigel Spicer, general manager, the work coming through from owner, outdoor major Ooh Media, played a significant role. Speaking at the company’s Silverwater plant he paid tribute to both Ooh Media and his own Cactus reps for the result.

“We posted a very good result last year. The market stayed strong for us. You have to take your hat off to the people at Ooh Media. They rallied the marketplace exceptionally well in tough, tough, times and we rode on the back of that. We run two different silos; the Ooh business and the Cactus direct work. Our direct reps also did exceptionally well. We couldn’t have put our hand up for a new machine if not for the support of Ooh, as well as the work of our direct reps,” he said.

Under the management of Spicer and industry veteran, Keith Ferrel, Cactus Imaging has now installed its third Fujifilm Ultra 5-metre inkjet machine, bolstering its line up of industry standard technology that includes Durst and HP print systems. Long recognised as the leader in introducing new technology to Australia, the innovative company continues to set the benchmark for the industry to follow.

According to Ferrel, manufacturer reps have told him they can expect to sell three to five more machines into the industry on the news of a Cactus investment decision. Long known as being brand agnostic, Ferrel is renowned for his in-depth technical appraisal of new technologies, and over the years himself and Spicer have an enviable record of bringing in more world firsts than just about anyone else.

The new Accuity Ultra has the flexibility to print on fabric and wallpaper as well as billboard and poster substrates. It can print a single image up to five metres wide, or produce two to three posters at the same time. UV inks and a 3.5 picolitre drop size give it the ability to print on the broadest range of materials.

Ferrel accepts the accolade of highest Fujifilm UV ink consumption. He tells of sharing the top position with an Italian company before the pandemic, but with the European lockdowns supressing activity there, it is now likely Cactus has moved to top spot.

In addition to expanding print capacity with the new Ultra, he highlights the role of automation in finishing as a game changer.

“We’ve automated a lot of our finishing. It used to take three guys 34 minutes to finish a supersize billboard, now it takes one guys three minutes. You don’t need extra print capacity for that, it allows you to finish ten billboards in the time it used to take to do one,” he said. “It’s a bit of a furphy about print capacity, because you’re only as fast as your slowest point. Now we’ve got guys waiting for the printer to print.”



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