From the very beginning, Super-Wide Digital had a goal of becoming a leading player in the large and super-wide format print markets. Founded 21 years ago by Anthony Drogan, the Lancashire-based business has grown over the intervening years to the point where it can position itself as a ‘one stop shop’ for just about any wide-format application you can think of.
“The company was founded in 2000, though Anthony had been involved in the signage sector for more than 15 years before that,” says business development manager, Luke Drogan. “As digital print advanced, we invested in the super-wide format space.
“Originally, we were known for our banner production capabilities, mainly producing PVC and mesh products, but as the industry has developed and technology has advanced, we’ve been able to tailor our offering diversely, continuously investing in new technology to reach the point we’re at today.”
That point is one of the UK’s leading names in large and super-wide format print, with the tools to operate across almost the entire range of wide-format sectors, including interior design, textiles, dye sublimation, one-piece wallpapers, event and exhibitions, backdrops, rigid display panels, PoS, construction hoardings, wayfinding signage, H&S signage, self-adhesive products, Lightbox fabrication and more.
Backing up its slogan ‘Think Big, Print Bigger,’ Super-Wide Digital serves a really diverse range of markets. Luke Drogan explains: “We do that by producing everything in-house; not outsourcing a single element of our printing and finishing. This means that we never lose control of any part of the process, which helps us to produce our work in a reliable and trustworthy way.”
In terms of the technology Super-Wide can call upon, in its 21 years the company has invested in systems from just about every big name the industry has to offer. This includes, but isn’t limited to, HP, EFI, Agfa, Durst, and MTex.
“We’re always interested in the latest tech,” says Luke. "During lockdown we invested in 5m digital cutting technology, which services our four 5m printers superbly. We also invested in laser cutting technology for handling all of our 3m x 2m acrylic work. In the next few months, we should be announcing further investment in both print and finishing equipment, increasing our capacity and our ability to service the industry to the highest standard.”
These won’t be the only improvements the company makes in the coming months. “We’re working on improving our automation,” Luke Drogan continues. “We’re in the process of implementing a new MIS and workflow system right now. There are a lot of products that we work with that aren’t so easy to automate, requiring significant input from the studio and our artwork teams. But if we can automate a range of our standard products, for example specific banners, posters or wallpapers, then they can spend more time engaging with our clients and assisting on their large projects that might be more intricate.”
On the MIS side, Super-Wide Digital is aiming to build a platform which will allow customers to order products directly without having to call up or email artwork. Luke expands: “This will integrate with our artwork automation engine and speed up the process for a lot of our customers, who know what we do, and want it done with the minimum fuss.”
Another trend on Super-Wide’s horizon includes sustainability, where the company is making great strides.
“Our target is to be a leader in the industry. We want to be a beacon for others when it comes to operating in the right way and using sustainable materials wherever possible.
“We already have very strong relationships with a range of material manufacturers. One of particular note is Manchester-based Soyang Europe who we work with on product testing and evaluation before their products make it to the end-user market.
“Right now, we’re in discussions with Soyang about more eco-conscious alternatives, and we’re seeing great results on their latest PVC-free products,” adds Luke.
The company, which already operates a comprehensive recycling scheme, including for PVC, has a concrete goal of becoming carbon neutral within the next 18 months. It has also been using solar panels for over six years now but will be adding even more solar capacity over the next year, whilst investigating further renewable alternatives.
“We are driving towards a sustainable future and trying to actively encourage our customers to join us,” Luke Drogan concludes. “We’re an ambitious company. We want to be able to say to anyone looking to buy large or super-wide format print, that yes, we can produce the work they want, that we can do so in a sustainable manner, and that we can handle every step of the process.”
Certainly, it’s a company that never seems to be standing still, so watch this space…