Bespoke printer being built

CMS in bumper kit and sustainability investment

Robin Carruthers has joined CMS in a permanent capacity as its operations manager
Robin Carruthers has joined CMS in a permanent capacity as its operations manager

Central Mailing Services (CMS) has invested around £1m in total on a new bespoke continuous printer and solar panel setup, as it commits to be as close to net zero as possible by 2028.

The Birmingham-based mailing house is in the process of building a bespoke high-speed line that uses Domino heads.

In October, CMS revealed its £956,000 spend on a new JWR 20K paper wrap machine from CMC, which is currently being installed. The business also runs three other CMC One paper wrapping lines.

Outlining its new, additional £500,000 kit investment, Central Mailing Services director Richard Morrow told Printweek: “The JWR will increase our reliance on personalisation, so what we’ve got now is a three-way project to build a bespoke duplex continuous mono printer.

“It’s being undertaken by Domino, Shropshire-based firm Anscombe Engineering, and CMS. Anscombe Engineering [headed up by Tony Anscombe] are constructing a bespoke unit to hold two Domino K600i UV systems with two LED dryers.

“The really interesting part of this is that it’s a bespoke build which will feature control tension to enable high-speed continuous print, either simplex or duplex, and it’s going to integrate with our existing Hunkeler Unwinder UW6 and our CS6.

“Due to the control tension features that we’ve got and the software we’re developing, it’s going to print on anything from 90gsm to 200gsm, coated or uncoated, so it’s going to give us the best possible platform to maximise personalised printed output, which is growing hugely in the industry.”

He said the project required “a fair bit of software development”, which is being headed up by CMS’ new in-house development team, who are working together with Tony Anscombe and Domino.

“It’s giving our team a real opportunity to shine and learn a lot more about the industry.

“So much of the work that we see and sectors we serve [retail, travel, education, charities] require high-speed duplex work, so it makes sense to invest in that, and it’s just giving the business further capacity. It won’t just work with the JWR, but it will augment our existing laser fleet and just give us the ability to do business critical mailings at a very, very fast rate.”

Prior to reaching its investment decision, Morrow said the business carried out “an exhaustive process and talked to all of the main players in the marketplace”.

“But it became clear that there wasn’t anything off the shelf that would actually meet our requirements and working with Domino and Anscombe Engineering almost became the default option because everything else represented a bit of a compromise and we weren’t willing to do that.”

CMS said the new machine has a 12-14 week lead time and should be fully operational around late spring/early summer.

Separately, Robin Carruthers has joined CMS in a permanent capacity as its operations manager. Carruthers, who has been heavily involved in in the new bespoke printer project, has spent his whole career in printing, finishing, and mailing, including 22 years at Go Inspire (then Graphic Inline).

He most recently worked at Paragon, in a role which he was made redundant from last year. After spending a period with CMS as a consultant, starting in around October 2023, both parties decided it was a relationship they would like to make more permanent and Carruthers started in a permanent contract with the business last month.

He told Printweek: “This site is a very nice site, the staff are well looked after and there’s lots of scope for me to get involved in other things as well as just the normal production.

“So I’m working with the production management that’s already in place and I’ve sort of diverged into sustainability, carbon neutral, and looking at our strategy for the next five years. I’m trying to get our name out there, not just in a capacity as a production house but also as a leader of environmental and trying to reduce our carbon footprint.”

CMS’ drive to be as close to net zero as possible by 2028 includes various elements, including a separate investment of around £500,000 on solar panels for the roof of its premises, a project the business hopes will be complete by the summer.

It is working with partners including Aston University and Birmingham City Council to look at all areas of its sustainability drive. Other projects underway to help the business meet its carbon neutral targets include water conservation, reducing its general waste, and areas around efficiency and automation.

Operating across 6,000sqm of space, CMS also runs printers from manufacturers including Konica Minolta, Xerox, and Eagle.

The company employs just under 100 staff and is targeting turnover of around £17m for this year.