Like many family owned businesses, Tailor Made Signs & Embroidery was set-up as a home based business that has flourished over its 20 years of existence.
Joanne Pawlett started a small embroidery business from home and after husband Lee later joined the company and the couple got their first industrial unit and printer in 2002 - the growth ever since has been exponential.
The Daventry company expanded rapidly from its core embroidery market into print, vehicle wrapping, joinery, stickers, signage, graphics, design, stationery, exhibitions and much more. With print work becoming an ever more prominent part of the business, Tailor Made Signs & Embroidery recognised a bottleneck in its production, something it overcame with a double investment in a Jetrix flatbed UV printer and a DYSS X7-1630C digital cutting table from AG/CAD.
The issue for Tailor Made was that it was utilising a solvent printing machine to print onto roll media which was then laminated onto a solid substrate base. With a solvent printer that would take upward of 24 hours to ‘out-gas’ each print, the entire process would take up to two days to process a relatively simple job. Another issue with this process flow was the alignment of the printed media with the substrate base and the precision of hand cutting or routing. Commenting upon the situation, Tailor Made Director, Mr Lee Pawlett says: “The bottleneck with printing and cutting was considerable. We knew we had to invest and we opted for a 3 by 2.5m large format Jetrix UV printer and the DYSS X7-1630C 3.2m by 1.6m cutting machine. Now, we can print direct to substrate and cut a job with high precision in less than 30 minutes.”
Driving the Investment
With a joinery shop and a number of routing machines, the exhibition and stand building market seemed like a natural progression for the 15 employee business. However, with its traditional methods, Tailor Made Signs & Embroidery couldn’t always compete on price. Where the company could compete, the extended lead-times also put pressure on the business. “We identified a significant growth area, but we needed to invest in technology to create a foundation for our growth. We knew we needed a flatbed printer that could print direct to substrate and we needed a digital cutter to complete the process. I comprehensively investigated all the options at the Sign & Digital exhibition and the DYSS machine from AG CAD really stood out for me,” says Lee Pawlett.
“The DYSS had a solid and robust build quality as well as flexibility with its combined routing, creasing and a variety of knife cutting tools. Furthermore, the changeover between the tools is only a matter of seconds. The deciding factor for me was undoubtedly the K-CUT Vision System. The camera system automatically locates the registration marks on the printed board and creates a cut-path according to the location of these points. This ensures that every job is cut with exceptional precision levels.”
“The machine really was a ‘no brainer’ for me. I had demonstrations from five companies, but I liked the ‘look and feel’ of the DYSS and I even preferred the colour of the machine compared to the others! It had everything we needed and the technical demonstrations were far superior.”
Realising the Benefits
Like most customers that acquire a DYSS digital cutting table, Tailor Made identified a need for the technology, but didn’t fully realise the level of market opportunities, cost savings and potential of the machine until after the installation. As Lee continues: “We rapidly found the DYSS can process virtually every material we work with or might want to work with. We are cutting everything from stickers and vinyl through to foam board, cardboard, Perspex, acrylic, plywood and MDF, aluminium composite and much more. The DYSS X7-1630C has a high-frequency spindle that rotates at very high speeds and what this has given us is improved surface finishes. For example, our acrylic work used to be cut, cleaned and flame polished – a process that could take upwards of 10 to 15 labour hours every week. The surface finish with the routing tools and high-speed spindle on the DYSS has slashed hand finishing to a matter of minutes and in most instances; no hand finishing is required at all.”
Reiterating the importance of the K-CUT Vision System, Lee says: “The ability to cut precisely to match the print is a factor that has reduced our job handling and re-setting, it’s eradicated waste and the scrapping of parts, and it has improved accuracy and overall quality. Also, the system has enabled us to actively pursue the exhibition stand building market that we previously couldn’t get a foothold in. We are now producing designs, boards, fixtures and complete stand designs for 2 to 3 exhibition stands every week. This is a major boost to our business as any work we previously undertook in this segment was time consuming, labour intensive and we often had external subcontract costs for the work we couldn’t do in-house ourselves.”
Another major growth opportunity presented via the DYSS machine is through the KASEMAKE CAD software. As Lee says: “The KASEMAKE software is also an excellent addition to our business. It has hundreds of standard templates available for us to create bespoke boxes to package our customers’ products. The personalised packaging is easy to create and it demonstrates our quality and customer commitment. However, the off-shoot of box production is that we can now produce small quantity batches of boxes – adding another service to our portfolio. Additionally, the KASEMAKE software has a rendering feature that allows us to create 3D PDFs of any packaging or PoS work, or even exhibition work that we are quoting for. This software is getting more business over the line for us.”
“The final area of growth for us is the PoS market. Knowing we didn’t previously really have the capability in this area meant that we only took on a little work, and we often used subcontract companies to produce pop-up boxes, business card holders and other small jobs. With these subcontract costs every month, there was little incentive to investigate this market. Now we have the DYSS, the KASEMAKE CAD software can produce PoS cut paths and also generate a 3D mock-up for customers. After then winning a job, the production process is relatively straightforward – giving us another revenue stream. Our business has grown by at least 30% in recent years and I would confidently say that the combination of the Jetrix and the DYSS have contributed at least 15% to our growth in only a very short period of time,” concludes Lee.