Zünd's 31-year history shows that close attention to users' needs and a wide-angled focus on innovation is what makes a technology company successful. Established by Karl Zünd as a sole proprietorship in Altstätten, Switzerland in 1984, the company has refined the development of its cutting systems while steadily expanding across the globe.
Its British arm, based in St Albans, celebrated a record year for sales in 2014: reporting a 35 per cent increase compared to 2013. While this is partly a reflection of growing confidence in British manufacturing following the recession, it is certainly also attributable to Zünd's capacity and willingness to look beyond a single industry. Beginning with plotting and cutting systems for leather and graphics, the development of modular tool heads for plotting, cutting, routing and engraving in 1992 opened up a range of new applications for users, and markets for the manufacturer. The introduction of digital technology and increase of speed means Zünd equipment is now found in a vast range of industries, including signage and graphics, packaging, aerospace, automotive, model making, clothing and footwear, flooring, defence, architecture, sports and recreation, pattern making and upholstery.
Moreover, each Zünd machine is configured to meet the unique requirements of each user. The range comprises the Zünd S3 and the Zünd G3 (plus the Zünd L3 for leather work), designed as modular units that can be tailor-made for the customer and updated retroactively. Accompanying software and tools enable the maximum flexibility for the machinery, growing with businesses as they expand or diversify.
Of course, Zünd is best known in our sector for cutting tables used in print rooms for large-format graphics, soft signage, commercial print and packaging. In an industry where it's the print quality that is key, the finishing equipment that makes a completed product is often quietly whirring away in the background; print businesses including Hollywood Monster, Fine Print and John E Wright have all invested in Zünd cutters in recent years to accompany new printer purchases.
Canon, CMYUK, i-Sub Digital and Spandex are authorised Zünd UK distributors, with Zünd UK also supplying machines, spares and technical support from its St Albans headquarters – which is completed with a demonstration suite. Recently renovated, the dedicated space allows potential buyers to see machines away from the crowds of trade shows or bustle of a working printroom, providing the necessary time to ask questions and all the information to receive full answers. In addition, Zünd UK is often a significant presence on the events calendar, from exhibiting at British trade shows independently or with a distributor, to hosting open days in St Albans or supporting the Swiss HQ at international industry shows.
Zünd UK combines Swiss engineering's enviable reputation with a British sense of customer service and family values. With no shareholders to placate, Zünd can work harder to provide practical support and advice to users and, while the equipment could not be considered cheap, customers know the profits will go back into the business. The Swiss factory itself is an exercise in sustainability – an issue Zünd counts as a priority. Utilising solar and geothermal power, featuring landscaped green roofs and favouring local suppliers for its component parts, Zünd has a clear goal of reducing the factory's carbon emissions. By making improvements in energy efficiency and waste reduction in every machine upgrade Zünd also helps its customers to improve their sustainability while increasing speed and profit margins. As print technology developments continue apace, this view of sustainability is win-win.
In just the past year, Zünd cutting tables have been admired by Prime Minister David Cameron, used to recreate the Lego Batmobile in soapbox form, installed by world-renowned architecture and design practice Foster + Partners and featured on the Discovery Channel. Zünd UK's bumper year in 2014 could easily be followed by an even better one in 2015.