A plastics and coatings company is to become a trade house for the printing and signage industry after snapping up a hybrid UV printer at Fespa in Amsterdam earlier this month.
The Signracer 2500 H-LED is due to be installed at Peerless Plastics & Coatings' site in Thetford, Norfolk, where a depot refurb has already taken place and a coating line removed.
Technical director Phil Little said: “Our core business is UV hard coating. In the last few years we have been increasingly coating over digitally-printed media for wall coverings and similar applications.
“We identified that many of the signage and printing companies around us required a direct-to-media printing service but perhaps not enough to warrant the purchase of their own machine.
“We could see a business opportunity and are now on course to become a trade house for supply to the printing and signage industry.”
He added: “We believe we are the only company who will be printing and protecting with UV curable hard coating at the same time under the same roof.”
Little looked at the EFI Vutek 2000 and a Jetrix machine but went for the Signracer on price and capability. The machine and software cost £112,000 and was commissioned last week.
“This is our first printer. The Vutek was beautiful but cost £250,000, which is fine if you have that amount of work, but we are entering a new market and the Signracer fit perfectly with our needs.”
Peerless Plastics & Coatings' 46 staff make a turnover of £1.5m and the new service could push this up to £2.3m within 12 to 18 months, Little said.
“Our aim is to extend the synergy between printed media and UV curable protective coatings incorporating silver ION.”
This would extend the life of the product with increased durability and provide anti-microbial hard coatings, he said. In the longer term protection would include a hydrophobic self-cleaning coat.
“We will also be looking to bring the printing aspect of the wall coverings business in-house with a view to becoming more competitive.”
Supplier SSE Worldwide managing director Scott Armitage said: “This is a unique installation. Peerless is moving into new markets.
“The Signracer's adjustable UV LED curing capability allows the printing of temperature sensitive substrates and enables companies to print onto a wide range of materials and objects.”