ESP trebles in size following £2m investment over a year

Simon Nias
Friday, January 11, 2013

ESP Colour has trebled in size following an investment in digital and wide-format printing and creative design and web services late last year.

The Swindon-based printer has taken the lease on a 3,900sqm unit next to its current 1,300sqm factory following a 12 month spend that has topped £2m.

ESP’s new premises, The Colour Hub, houses its creative and web-to-print services as well as its new Kodak NexPress and Océ Arizona powered digital division.

The original factory will continue to house the press hall, albeit containing just the three presses as the eight binding lines have also now moved to The Colour Hub.

Managing director Anthony Thirlby said the investment had partly resulted from ESP’s client base "pushing us to have large-format capability and a better digital facility".

He added that the firm previously had a Konica Minolta Bizhub, which was only producing around £250,000 a year worth of print due to the fact ESP famously goes down to runs of 200 on its litho presses.

However, with the NexPress on board, ESP will increase its cut-off for digital runs from 200 to 300 and will also add personalised brochures and mailings. Thirlby said that this would help digital revenue to grow to more than £750,000.

"We’re already running the NexPress on double day shifts, five days a week. I’d be very surprised if we didn’t have a second machine in by the end of 2013," he added.

As with its litho work, ESP has been busy identifying how many standardised products it can produce on its new wide-format device, for ordering via its Fusion2 web-to-print platform.

Thirlby said: "We are going to spend the first six months exploring pretty simplistic work, because this is new to us and the waste costs are disproportionate to everything else that we do."

Ultimately, the firm will look to exploit the capability of its Arizona press to print on a wide range of substrates, including ceramic, aluminium and glass, with those jobs likely coming via the design side of the business.

Recent contract wins with franchise networks Matt Fiddes Martial Arts and The Defence Lab, as well as the UK’s leading golf operator Crown Golf, are testament to ESP’s investment in both wide format and web-to-print.

Thirlby said the company had tailored its web-to-print platform towards B2B and franchise customers rather than taking the B2C route, where the large number of competitors – including giants such as Vistaprint – drive down margins.

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