www.safety-label.co.uk is one of the leading ecommerce websites for safety labels, signs and stickers. It generates hundreds of valuable orders every week for Rochdale Signs, the Lancashire-based sign business behind this online enterprise. To meet the growing demand for its services, the company has recently invested in a new Lightbar VS-540i print and cut system to guarantee fast print delivery times.
Rochdale Signs has an impressive sign industry pedigree that spans fifty years and three generations of the same family. The company supplies all types of signs, vehicle graphics, banners and posters to a very loyal customer base of businesses and public sector organisations across the northwest of England. With its focus on quality and service, this family business has earned an enviable reputation for its sign making over the past half century.
Three years ago, Rochdale Signs’ Managing Director, Chris Molloy and his brother Lewis identified an opportunity to sell health and safety labels, signs and stickers online and set about developing their own ecommerce site. The company now receives more than 500 online orders every month and has attracted many new national and international customers, including high profile clients like the AA, British Aerospace Engineering, Siemens and the NHS.
The growth and success of this online venture has brought with it some new challenges for Rochdale Signs as Chris Molloy explains: “We’ve all come to expect fast response times when placing an order online. Customers ordering signs on our website are no different. With literally thousands of potential product lines to choose from, many of the orders we receive are dealt with on a ‘print-on-demand’ basis. So, it’s essential that we can print, finish and ship in the fastest times possible. Our new lightbar print and cut system lets us do just that.”
The Lightbar VS-540i is a Partner Solution that combines the quality, versatility and reliability of Roland DG print and cut technology with the latest solvent-UV ink chemistry to produce vibrant print that’s instantly dry, immediately durable and ready to use. Lightbar inks are odour free and cure the moment they pass through the low energy UV lamp unit on front of the system, meaning there’s no need to allow any additional time for the print to dry or out-gas before cutting, finishing or shipping to customers.
Although Rochdale Signs currently laminates all the health and safety products it prints, the company has tested the Lightbar output for scratch and chemical resistance and Chris is confident that the impressive outdoor durability of the print makes it suitable for most medium term applications without the need for lamination. He says: “The Lightbar print is so hard wearing we’re now offering customers with suitable applications the option of not having the additional cost of lamination. This is allowing us to compete with the cut-price operations without compromising our hard won reputation for supplying a quality product. As a result, the time and money we spend laminating print has reduced by around 30% since we installed the new Lightbar system.”
According to Chris, the Lightbar VS-540i is delivering some significant gains when it comes to ink consumption too. This is due to the fact that UV Light ink contains more colour pigment and less carrier in the cartridge, which means that the unique formulation of this ink can provide far greater print coverage than alternatives like latex ink without requiring any additional optimising agents.
He continues: “We print on a very wide range of signmaking materials across both sides of our business - including cast, polymeric, monomeric and reflective vinyls, several types of banner material and various poster papers too. We estimate that our new Lightbar system is producing around 20-25% more print per set of cartridges.”
Rochdale Signs has discovered that operating an ecommerce site alongside its tradition business can lead to a significant increase in orders and a healthy expansion of its customer base. Being paid in advance is another major advantage of the online strategy. However, to service its new business opportunity properly, the company also recognised the need to invest in print and cut technology that could deliver the fast turnaround times demanded by online customers. Producing print that can be contour-cut, applied or laminated without delay and shipped out to customers the same day, Lightbar technology has proved to be the ideal production partner for Rochdale Signs.