Contact Originators unveils new site as part of £5m investment

The new Dukinfield site is around five miles from the existing Bredbury facility
The new Dukinfield site is around five miles from the existing Bredbury facility

Flexographic plate manufacturer Contact Originators has kicked off a £5m investment in a new site and equipment less than a year after it suffered a serious fire at its Bredbury, Stockport facility.

The fire, in January 2020, destroyed one of the two buildings at its site and the company lost 40% of its production capacity as a result, along with ancillary services.

But following a swift recovery, with support from a number of its industry peers, the business is now moving to a new 2,650sqm leased site in Dukinfield, Manchester, around five miles from its current leased facility.

Contact Originators group chief executive Steve Mulcahy said: "Clearly the business has had a torrid time in 2020 with both the fire and Covid situation. And yet, we have had amazing support from both our teams and the industry. We would like to take this opportunity to once again thank everyone for their support."

He told Printweek the company had "spent a great deal of time" looking for new premises.

"We had to consider what the move would mean for employees and ensure the new site could accommodate everything we need, in terms of infrastructure and facilities, for the plans we have.

"The site includes warehousing space and mezzanine floors, offering a high degree of flexibility in how we will operate and a unique space to grow and diversify. It will revolutionise our business and enable us to deliver efficient and streamlined plate processing, while making sustainability a core focus of our processes."

The move is already underway, with new machinery and equipment being installed on site between now and January when full production begins. The business will continue to keep its Bredbury site operational until the full transition is complete, which Mulcahy said would likely be Q1 2021.

All 74 staff that work at Bredbury are moving across with the business to the new site.

"The impact on employees was a key consideration when looking at options for our new site. We haven’t furloughed or made a single person redundant since the fire and during Covid. We are actually recruiting people into the business," Mulcahy said.

He added further details on the specifics of the investment will be revealed as they are implemented.

Separately, Contact Originators and Netherlands-based AV Flexologic, which supplies hardware and software for flexo pre-press and mounting, have launched PrintHQ, their jointly developed automated digital shim printing technology for corrugated printers.

Utilising inkjet technology, PrintHQ applies individual print job information directly onto the flexo plate shim at the point of mounting, rather than having to manually label each one on site. This saves time and removes the need for labelling consumables, which are prone to damage, for print operators.

It also avoids human error, improves standardisation of shim information for ease of plate identification, and eliminates duplication of information.

Contact Originators has an exclusive contract for the PrintHQ technology in the UK and Ireland while AV Flexologic handles European sales.