The display print market is going through a fundamental change, and to thrive and survive in this changing market, many successful sign and display print businesses are making the move towards higher productivity to meet ever-increasing customer demands.
This journey towards industrialisation of the digital print process is invariably driven – initially – by increased investment in print hardware capable of printing direct to rigid substrates. Whilst direct printing removes the time-consuming laminating process and improves productivity, it then moves the bottleneck to the finishing department. Traditionally, this part of the process will have been achieved manually by a team of workers gathered around a large table, armed with steel rulers and knives – a process which is time-consuming, increases lead times, and has the potential for human error.
The smarter print business realises this very quickly. Increasingly, the finishing room is upgraded at the same time as the print room. Sometimes this is done by increasing staffing levels, but more common than not through the increased automation of the process thanks to the installation of digital cutting systems.
The above scenario is a pretty much perfect summary of the road to growth experienced by Leeds-based Marshall Print.
Working with an extremely diverse range of clients right across the UK – including household name retailers, major high street brands and a number of city councils – Marshall Print provides full service print production from banner printing, through vehicle wraps, to IPAF certified installations.
Marshall Print’s managing director, Martin Marshall, explains: “Our clients know us as the first port of call for everything print, display and signage. Using the latest digital technology, we can print anything onto everything, including floor graphics, bespoke ceiling tiles, window graphics, clothing, posters, business cards, banners, pop-ups, Contra Vision film, point of sale, and wallpaper. It would be quicker to ask what we don’t do.”
Martin adds: “My team are involved in a whole range of different signage and print projects. We’ve got a constant stream of individual jobs to produce and every one of them must be excellent.”
For Marshall Print this means the continued development of its production and installation team, and ongoing investment in the right equipment for optimum production output and efficiency.
The drive towards increased productivity led directly to Marshall Print’s most recent acquisition: a new Esko Kongsberg X24 digital cutting table with conveyor belt – sourced from and installed by CMYUK – which offers incredible versatility across a wide range of cutting applications and materials.
The Esko Kongsberg X series has been designed to grow with the needs of the company, meaning users such as Marshall Print can upgrade and add more cutting, creasing and milling tools as their business develops. Featuring the renowned and robust Kongsberg sandwich steel tabletop construction, the X series will never warp or go out of true – even after decades of heavy use.
With four vacuum sections and a work area of 1680 x 3200mm, the X24 can handle materials in sizes up to 1740 x 3575mm, which means that Marshall Print can deal with the toughest finishing jobs that arise during its hectic production schedule.
Thanks to the Kongsberg’s Shared Resources functionality, the i-cut Production Console analyses incoming files and automatically selects the right tool, the correct table settings and the ideal cutting sequence, resulting in faster more consistent production, no matter who operates the table. Additionally, the Kongsberg X series’ Sign Production Application Kit makes it easy to produce signs from flexible, roll material and rigid sheets. An integrated camera and software provide vision cutting, while advanced tools enable high quality, high speed milling and cutting of a wide variety of materials. Marshall Print also took up the conveyor feed option, enabling automated sheet or roll feeding of materials for even faster workflow.
Martin Marshall continues: “Installing the new Kongsberg X24 could have caused major disruption in a busy production schedule, but the CMYUK team set it up with the minimum of fuss. It was quickly integrated into our workflow and instantly began to earn a return on our investment. I would strongly recommend the X24 as the perfect cutting and finishing solution, and working with CMYUK simplified what could have been the difficult task of installing the new cutting table thanks to their absolute professionalism. It was a pleasure doing business with them.”
CMYUK’s managing director, Robin East, concludes: “Customers such as Marshall Print are looking for simplified and streamlined processes that can be adapted as the business grows. The Esko Kongsberg solution provides just this – from the competitively-priced, entry-level X starter range with its upgrade path, through the X series, right up to the C series cutters. There’s a solution to meet every need and every budget, and in all cases increased productivity is the result.”
Photo shows Esko Kongsberg X24 digital cutting table