Potts Print aids short lead times with investment
With a history that dates back to 1875, Potts Print (UK) has ability to deliver litho as well as personalised digital print solutions, along with bespoke packaging and direct mail.
In 2015, Potts Print (UK) wanted an entry into large format print and acquired Digital XL Services, a long term supplier that had the expertise, equipment and understanding of the large format sector. By integrating the two businesses, the Northumberland company is able to tap into the ever expanding demand for large format work. Since its inception, Digital XL had steadily grown and invested in the necessary printing and cutting equipment to service its customers, but as soon as the company became part of Potts, the investment and growth truly took off.
The company has invested heavily in its large format division with the arrival of two Fuji Acuity F 3 metre by 2.5 metre large format flatbed digital UV printers.
To support the expansion of the large format division, the company needed to make sure its cutting equipment could keep pace with the substantially increased print capacity. Director for the Large Format Division, Keith McHugh, said: ‘We already had a Dyss X7-2230C digital cutting table from AG/CAD, but our workload has increased a lot and become a mixture of volume production and small batch, fast turnaround work. It just wasn't feasible for just one cutter to handle all this work, despite us running a two shift pattern. We needed another cutter and, based on the performance and reliability of the existing machine, another Dyss was the obvious step.’
To support the growth of the division, Keith wanted to upgrade the existing X7-2230C as well as bring in an additional machine. ‘Our existing X7 has been a great machine, but we wanted to upgrade to the latest K-Cut Vision system and Kasemake design suite to maximise the potential of the machine as well as streamline our processes. The AG/CAD team came on-site and completely refurbished the eight year old machine to an as-new condition with a host of modern upgrades. The engineers changed the PC controller, the software suite, added the latest K-Cut Vision system and camera, changed the machine conveyor transport, upgraded the cutting tooling and also improved the extraction system.’
‘The eight year old machine was still performing very well and was extremely reliably, but like all equipment of that age, the option to upgrade components to enhance the machine needed to be weighed up. The X7 is an extremely well engineered and sturdy bit of kit, as we could see when it was being installed originally and during the refurb. This made the upgrade a very worthwhile exercise giving us clear productivity and efficiency advantages on a machine that we expect to see out another 10 years easily. An inferior build machine wouldn't have been worth us trying to upgrade.’
Alongside the upgraded machine, Potts has now also installed a new X7-1630C. With one machine allocated to regular production runs from 1000 to 5000 and the other specified for low volume work as well as adding production capacity, the balance is now perfect. Keith commented, ‘As a business, we are committed to turning work out with a fast turnaround. Almost 70% of our large format work is on a two to three day lead time. This immediately eliminates the ability to design, manufacture and use cutting formes to die cut conventionally. We do have high volume production runs with a one to two week lead time and we occasionally use cutting formes, but this depends upon what we already have going through on our two Dyss cutters.’
Like the previous machine, the X7 incorporates a SuperHead configuration that has two interchangeable tool slots accepting reciprocating and static heavy duty knife tools as well as creasing tools to enable folding of card media. The SuperHead also comes with a high precision routing tool for milling tough sign and graphic materials that sits alongside the two tool slots. This flexibility enables Potts to handle everything from paper, vinyl, Correx (corrugated plastic) through to complete creasing and cutting of packaging and displays, to router cutting of more robust rigid materials such as acrylic, Dibond and thick Foamex PVC.