Futurform launches digital print brand

By Max Goldbart, Friday 14 July 2017

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Business services provider Futurform has launched a new digital print operation and filled its premises with a raft of new kit, most recently a Konica Minolta digital press.

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Oliver (right) with Futurform director Keith Oliver

Phroom Print, based in Frome, launched in April and has since installed a Konica Minolta AccurioPress C2060L in late May and an Epson SureColor SC-40600 large-format printer plus a raft of finishing kit from Ashgate Automation in April, with total investment topping the £50,000 mark.

When first discussed last December, Phroom Print was initially intended as a print management service but the Futurform management decided margins would be better if it set up its own print shop.

Futurform sales and marketing director Darren Oliver said: “The idea behind it when going to development with the site was that it was going to be a managed print model with no production in-house. But as soon as we started doing the pricing that decision was made.

“In December when we started looking at the website we were going to carry on outsourcing but when you look at the competition, unfortunately we couldn’t compete at the levels we needed to without people doing it in-house themselves. We couldn’t make money out of it basically. In terms of turnaround and everything else we wanted to be able to control it."

Oliver added that as soon as three-staff Phroom hits a “set benchmark” in terms of turnover, Futurform will be investing between £70,000 to £100,000 to double its kit capacity and double the size of its 80sqm premises, which is on the same site as Futurform’s. This is likely to take place within the next two years. 

The C2060L machine runs at a maximum speed in black and white mode of 61ppm. It takes paper without long sheet feeder at a maximum size of 330x490mm, weighing up to 350gsm and printing at 1,200dpi resolution. It has a 4,250 sheet maximum paper capacity for long press runs without interruption.  

“They’re good machines, we’re really pleased. We knew that some of our suppliers were using it in the first place, had looked at HP Indigo, but didn’t see how we could operate at that price point,” added Oliver. 

The 1.6m-wide SureColor, which was supplied by Epson reseller Colourbyte, runs at up to 58.4sqm/hr and features Epson’s PrecisionCore printhead technology, running Ultrachrome GS3 inks.

From Ashgate, Phroom purchased a Kasfold Sprint 3000 bookletmaker with TR2 trimmer, a GMP Q-Topic laminator, an EBA 4860 guillotine and a Maxit RP adhesive coater, all for around £24,000.

Oliver said the laminator in particular was the “pièce-de-résistance” in terms of very few companies having the product.

“It opens the doors to a lot more value added where you can do variable foiling and things like that,” he added.

35-staff Futurform has sales of around £4.8m. It offers a variety of other services, including office supplies, office furniture and campaign work.

The name Phroom Print emerged from a Futurform employee misspelling Frome. 

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