The installation of a Summa F Series flatbed cutting system has cut turnaround times dramatically for graphics company Grafx, including reducing some hours-long processes down to just a few minutes.
Based in Clitheroe, UK, Grafx is a family business with roots in motorsport. It evolved around twelve years ago from a car prep company into solely a graphics producer, and in 2019 moved to larger new premises that could accommodate more work and bigger vehicles like lorries. It has also grown its workforce exponentially, to seven members of staff.
"We have expanded but we're still a small team so we're always looking to improve efficiency," says Grafx Director Andrew Potts, who owns the business with his son Charlie. "We have a good reputation, and our lead times were already fast, but we wanted to speed things up even more, so bought the Summa F Series as an extra piece of equipment last summer.
"It's an extremely useful labour-saving device. We often do batches of small signage - A4 or A3 - and used to cut them to size and then print. Now we can print the whole lot on Foamex or Dibond on our HP Latex printer and then cut them all out at once. Similarly, we can cut lots of small stickers on the Summa's throughcut function. It's significantly quicker than our previous manual processes."
The new Summa has had a notable impact on the production of banners: "Producing a standard order of twelve 2m banners would take five to six hours to trim manually," says Andrew. "It now takes us ten minutes on the Summa."
Available in five sizes and with numerous integrated functions and optional add-ons, the professional F series flatbed cutting table from Summa is designed for the fast and efficient finishing of signage, displays, packaging and other applications. As a business offering practically every type of signage, as well as a substantial amount of vehicle graphics, Grafx and the Summa F Series are an ideal partnership.
The Summa F Series and Grafx's second HP Latex printer were installed by ADAPT's Reading-based team, who also provide maintenance and repairs - which Andrew calls 'absolutely amazing'. With an extensive range of roll-to-roll and flatbed printers, cutters, laminators, and RIP software amongst its offering, ADAPT provides end-to-end digital printing solutions and has safety continued to run business as normal throughout the COVID pandemic.
The access to such reliable support is especially important during difficult trading conditions. Andrew explains that Grafx's work was essentially on hold for the first five or six weeks of the first lockdown last year, but soon sprang into action producing around 2,500 screens for the healthcare and beauty sectors. The ongoing lockdowns have kept the team busy as they adapt to the changing demands of customers in a unique period.
"The first few months after the first lockdown we were busier than ever making signage," Andrew says. "We've developed with slightly larger customers, for example those ordering fleet graphics, and we were actually booked up until Christmas. Despite the challenges to come I'm very positive for the future."