Nottingham-based Sign Up Systems has invested in a Blackman & White Genesis V flatbed digital cutting system from i-Sub as it looks to speed up its finishing process, diversify its work and produce new products.
The company, which started out providing aluminium systems for the signage and graphics industry, first diversified into print in 2016 when it invested in a dye-sublimation machine and a 3.2m UV roll-to-roll system. A few years later it installed further large format printing equipment; a move which opened up a host of potential new avenues, but also left the company needing to upgrade its finishing options.
"Finishing was definitely the bottleneck in our business," explains Sign Up Systems' Managing Director Jon Bromhead. "We could print a lot of work; we just couldn't finish it. We realised that what we needed was that missing link - and, as it turned out, that was the Blackman & White Genesis V cutter."
Jon Bromhead and his team were initially in the market for a used cutting machine, but quickly realised that only a new one would meet their needs. Then followed a conversation with the UK Blackman and White graphics' distributor i-Sub and it was quickly confirmed that the Genesis V system would provide the best option.
A subsequent demonstration on the system with Emma Plant at i-Sub confirmed the Blackman and White Genesis V was the best solution and offered everything and more Sign Up Systems required, allowing for further growth and opportunity.
Jon Bromhead states: "Due to the pandemic, we felt it was better to go with a machine manufactured in the UK. It offered a better price point too, so seemed to be the right fit for us. We put the machine through its paces before we purchased it, running some tests using different substrates and cutting tools. We were happy with the results and decided to go for it!"
Sign Up Systems already had a relationship with i-Sub, having purchased a dye-sublimation machine from the company in 2019. "i-Sub have always been really helpful, and we knew that we would get really good service from them," adds Jon Bromhead.
Following installation, Emma Plant, Sales Director at i-Sub, commented: "We were delighted that Sign Up Systems invited i-Sub to work with them and guide them to the best solution for their new finishing requirements. They are a very forward-thinking business. This was demonstrated by their decision to invest in new technology to grow the business and ensure their client's needs were met whilst offering the best quality products and service available.
"The Blackman and White cutter also offers peace of mind for future growth as the machine has the capacity for further production volume, ensuring Sign Up Systems not only has the confidence to take on more business and win new work now, but also to adapt to the changing needs of its customers in the future."
The Genesis V, which arrived in Nottingham in early June 2021, has a maximum cutting speed of 1200mm/sec and can cope with materials up to 50mm thick. Tool options allow cutting, creasing, routing, v-cutting and cardboard engineering which enables Sign Up Systems to finish packaging and marketing materials as well as branded workwear for staff.
Jon Bromhead explains: "It allows us to offer much more when it comes to print as finishing is key to the final product. It gives us a bigger product range and helps us to diversify as well as allowing us to finish and produce a lot more products in-house.
"Rigid board, banner, paper, vinyl, fluted board, display card, textile, composite materials finishing and more mean we can now look into completely different areas that we couldn't even consider before; there are so many possibilities, we've only just scratched the surface of what it can do."
All of this comes on top of the company's traditional signage and graphics work. Naturally, the pandemic has had a dramatic impact on this sector, but Jon Bromhead remains bullish: "It's obviously been a challenging 18 months and we decided that we wanted to invest during the pandemic rather than be passive. The whole industry has changed, and people are having to be more dynamic and think in different ways.
"This machine gives us a competitive edge that we didn't have before."