Iberian sees the light with DYSS X5 digital cutter investment

Rolls of Lampshades Processed on the DYSS X5

As a commercial print and signage company, Iberian Digital is a company with a difference - it's also known as one of Europe's leading bespoke industrial lighting manufacturers.

To serve two industry sectors with distinction, the Iberian Group invests in production equipment that has the flexibility to handle the requirements of both sectors, and this is why the East Sussex company opted for a DYSS X5 digital cutter from AG CAD.

Prior to the arrival of the DYSS X5 in September, the St Leonards-On-Sea business was either cutting its specialised fabric, card, paper and vinyl materials by hand or with a guillotine, whereas more complex designs were sent to an external subcontractor. Whilst the DYSS has slashed subcontract costs and lead times since its installation, it was the winning of a large lighting contract for a hotel chain that sealed the decision to invest in a digital cutting machine.

The 24 employee Iberian Group is growing at a rapid rate with the existing facility being trebled in size from 11,000sq/ft to over 33,000sq/ft. The expansion will accommodate the recent year-on-year growth rate of 20% whilst facilitating its ambitions to accelerate its future growth to beyond 40% annually. The arrival of new long-term projects is helping to underpin this growth strategy. To help evolve at such speed, the company has invested in new wide format print equipment. However, without the arrival of the DYSS digital cutter, the additional printing equipment would have created a downstream bottleneck in the cutting and finishing department.

As Iberian Lighting's Managing Director, Mr Les Allitt recalls: "We had just won a two-year contract from a hotel chain for over 20,000 light shades that consisted of over 10 different variants. We realised we couldn't have managed the order with our previous printing machines and cutting the shades by hand. We invested in a new high speed Mutoh wide format printer that is 6 times faster than the previous printer. This helped to solve the print bottleneck whilst the DYSS X5 eliminated our reliance on a third party contractor for cutting the lightshades. The result is that we can now turn out bespoke digital print projects and bespoke lighting in 7-10 days and remain in full control of the production process. This lead-time was previously in the region of 2-3 weeks."

As well as reducing the lead-times on projects by up to two weeks, a core benefit for Iberian is the ability to bring the work in-house and regain complete control over its production process. As Mr Allitt continues: "Prior to the arrival of the DYSS X5, we had one member of staff cutting by hand full-time with more complex work sent to an external supplier. The DYSS has enabled us to re-distribute our labour resource and eliminate a major external cost. The saving in the cost of subcontract cutting will pay for the DYSS in less than two years. In fact, we are using the DYSS flat-out for five days a week, so it will probably pay-back faster than we realise."

At present, Iberian estimates the DYSS X5 is cutting more than 2,000m of material every month. The type of material being cut on the DYSS has evolved from fabric and card to more diverse materials, as the South Coast company has realised the potential of the machine. As Mr Allitt says:

"Initially we bought the DYSS to eliminate bottlenecks and our reliance on subcontractors. After its installation, we realised additional benefits such as reduced labour requirement, better cut quality and precision and also an ability to process new materials. We've even reduced our material stock holding by over 20%. But it is the realisation that we can cut all types of material that has really excited us."

"Since the DYSS was installed, we've already added wallpaper design and production to our portfolio. We had the design expertise in-house, but it's the ability of the K-Cut vision system on the DYSS to cut with impeccable precision that is permitting us to manufacture our own lines of wallpaper.

This example of diversification is now allowing us to challenge our design team to develop new concepts and market sectors for our business. Being near the coast, we are also cutting more vinyl graphics for boats, cars and vans. The next step is the PoS industry. Our new-found ability to rapidly make samples in-house will position us well for exploiting this market. The in-house designers are already using the KASEMAKE CAD software suite from AG CAD to create cartons and boxes for new customers. In fact, the DYSS X5 and the KASEMAKE CAD suite are the tools that now allow our designers to turn concepts from on-screen designs to physical samples," concludes Mr Allitt.