Outsourcing usually works fine until the volume grows and you start to add up the costs. In a world of instant turnaround, it can add time to a job too.
Elsewhere this month we look at how POS-Pack is offering a useful trade service of gluing and assemblingpoint-of-sale displays and similar materials to packaging companies that find outsourcing works for them. Here we examine the other side of the coin, where Manchester Printers has found that installing an in-house digital cutting table is paying off in terms of costs and time savings.
Gavin Page founded Manchester Printers in its current form in 2012. He is managing director and also handles sales. Page says he got into printing “by accident” 30 years ago after a chance conversation at an M1 service station. This led to a sales job at Canon UK.
His company is based in the big Trafford Park industrial area in Manchester and offers a range of general commercial and wide-format printing services, including business cards and stationery, folders and leaflets plus wider- format print work such as self-adhesive stickers, banners, roller banners and posters.
“We are a total B2B business, covering every sector you can imagine,” says Page. “We solely run digital presses, Heidelberg Versafire EP plus two Konica Minolta 1060/1070s. We also have Mimaki 1.3m and 1.6m roll-to-roll wide-format printers with in-house laminating and foiling.”
Web-to-print ordering was introduced in 2013 using a locally developed system, but the company now uses a Vpress system. “We have 75% of our top ten customers using a branded portal from it,” Page says.
“Our aim going forward is to find another ten companies that need this system, which offers a massive benefit to them and sets us aside from our competitors.”
At the end of 2018 Manchester Printers acquired Flintshire-based print management firm Berkeley Business Forms (BBF) and now employs 20 people across the two businesses. BBF’s premises have been retained, helping to extend the companies’ sales reach across north-west England and north Wales.
An investment drive in late 2018 and early 2019 saw the acquisition of the Heidelberg Versafire EP digital press, a B2 guillotine from Ideal, a Duplo DBM-150 bookletmaker and a Vivid Matrix Omni-Flow deep-pile feeder to serve its Matrix MX-370 laminator, plus a second hand Morgana DigiFold creaser-folder.
The digital cutting table was installed in July 2019. It is a DYSS X7-1624 conveyorised model, built in South Korea and supplied by AG/CAD. Previously higher-volume work had been outsourced, while cutting some banners was done manually in-house, says Page.
What’s a DYSS X7?
DYSS is a South Korean manufacturer whose digital cutter range is distributed and supported by AG/CAD in Winsford, Cheshire. There are three models: the X5, in seven sizes for sheets from 1,300×1,000m up to 1,600×3,000mm; X7, with 11 sizes for sheets from 1,350×3,090mm to 3,350×3,400mm; and X9 in seven sizes from 1,640×2,800mm to 3,240×3,580mm.
The difference isn’t just in formats, but in the motors and materials capabilities. X5 is mainly intended for smaller-format work on relatively lightweight materials, while the X7 can handle tougher, thicker materials up to 50mm thick. The X9 uses essentially the same construction, but with a new motion control system that combines higher speeds and routing abilities with very precise positioning.
With the X7 there’s a choice of twin or triple tool heads, to perform several functions in the same pass without stopping for changes. Manchester Printers has opted for the twin head. There are tools for cutting and creasing materials from paper through to card, thin plastics, foamboard and corrugated, plus an optional heavy-duty router for wood, metals and acrylics.
Manchester Printers chose the conveyor bed option, which supports roll-fed materials as well as sheets. “We looked at auto sheet feeding too but because we are only roll-to-roll with the Mimaki it was not a requirement,” says Page. “We also looked at the delivery table but we were up to our budget.”
He also chose the optional K-cut Vision camera-based registration system, plus AG/CAD’s own KaseMake software which has CAD tools for designing packaging, corrugated boxes, POS displays etc, with 3D previews.
Why choose it?
Page says he considered alternatives such as the Esko Kongsberg X20 as well as options from Mimaki and Summa. He looked at the DYSS X5 too, but felt that the X7 best suited his requirements.
“The build quality was of a high standard, solid and robust,” says Page. “Also we are still looking at moving and one of the big selling points of the DYSS is that AG/CAD were prepared to move it free of charge within 12 months of installation. That sealed the deal.
“We went to AG/CAD for the demonstration and were all very impressed. They have been brilliant, very easy to deal with and they had everything that we needed. Training was also excellent – we’ve got nothing but good things to say about them.”
How did adoption go?
“The two operators who run it were very excited for it to be delivered,” Page says. “They both had previous experience of cutting tables but not on the DYSS.
“Because of the tight space it had to go in, the whole machine had to be dismantled straight off the lorry bed and walked through the building in pieces. From start to finish it took three full days to get it operational. Then it was a case of ironing out all the little details of making it level and straight. The operators found it straightforward.”
How has it been in practice?
“Life saver!” says Page. “It has saved us hundreds of lost hours. It’s allowed us also to go into the lower end of the packaging world, producing prototypes etc.
“We have one contract which involves 150-200 roller banners, up to 150 A0 magnetics and 150 A0 greyback posters per month over 120 different stores from artwork to fulfilment. Doing this manually became impossible in the timescales we had to deliver into store. The DYSS X7 has taken days out of the production timescale.
“We are also able to print, crease and die-cut folders. Because we have the extended feed on the Versafire press, this has opened up another market where we are competitive now because we don’t have to buy in a cutting forme for cylinder work.”
The roll feed and conveyor bed are also valuable, he says. “We can now leave a 50m roll running overnight on our Mimaki printers, whether it’s greyback or PVC, load that on the DYSS when we come in the next morning and let it run and cut out until a new roll is required to go on the end of it.”
“None apart from the cutting table cloth being accidently cut by one of our operators. It was easily repaired at low cost inhouse after been shown how. Always make sure the cutting tool is calibrated to the correct depth of the material, is my advice.”
Page adds that “Service has been top class. If we are unsure of anything we can ring AG/CAD and one of their remote support team log into the computer or software and set it up for us and explain what we need to do for next time. We haven’t needed any major callouts yet, only aligning the bed to be level after a period of time for settlement. Next-day service is guaranteed.”
Would he recommend the DYSS X7 to others? “Yes without doubt, and I already have done, to a major player in the print market.”
Working area 1,650×2,450mm
Sheets Up to 1,700×2,800mm
Formats 11 bed and chassis sizes for sheets from 1,350×3,090mm to 3,350×3,400mm
X7 working area 1,650×2,450mm
X7 max sheet size 1,700×2,800mm
X7-1624 machine footprint 2,500×3,250mm
Registration K-cut vision camera
Control system PC running DYSS K-cut software
Price About £100,000 for Manchester Printers’ spec including KaseMake
Contact AG/CAD 01606 863344 www.dyss-uk.com
Manchester Printers is a wide-ranging business-to-business print services provider based in Trafford Park, Manchester. It is planning to move to larger premises nearby this year. Web-to-print ordering is offered to regular customers. It is an all-digital operation with Konica Minolta and Heidelberg digital toner presses and a Mimaki roll-fed inkjet, plus design facilities and finishing equipment. It employs 20 people in its Trafford Park and Flintshire sites, and is aiming for a turnover of £10m.
Why it was bought…
The DYSS X7-1624 digital cutting and finishing table was installed to automate the cutting of large-format rolls as well as smaller sheet work without the need for metal dies.
How it has performed…
Page calls it a “life saver”. The DYSS X7 has enabled sheet and roll cutting work to be brought in-house, saving on outsourcing times and costs. It is fast enough to handle regular work of hundreds of items per month. It can also handle folders, saving on the time and cost of metal dies