Atlas adds Xerox Versant and Polar for post-acquisition boost

Atlas Direct Mail has taken on a Xerox Versant 180 and a Polar 58E Mk II guillotine to round off an £85,000 investment period following its acquisition by ADMail last year.

Based in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, Atlas was bought by the specially-created ADMail in October alongside Aldershot-based Apex Direct Mail to create a dual-location direct mailing entity.

Atlas was acquired along with six members of staff and over the first half of 2018 has been transformed into ADMail’s mechanised, automation-based operation.

The Xerox Versant 180 cost £30,000 and was delivered earlier this week to aid with the printing of personalised items such as postcards. The Polar cutter, received last week for £8,000, was brought onsite to cut down SRA3 sheets to A4 size for use on the Versant.

General manager Chris d’Entrecasteaux said: “I have previous experience with Xerox equipment and I know what the Versant can do. Compared to similar machines, it is light on cost and great as an entry-level option.

“With this new printer, which replaces two Riso presses, we can perform personalised jobs for our clients in a single pass, whereas before they had to ship printed jobs to us for personalisation.

“It will allow us to provide a service at high speed and high quality without the headaches of getting the printed products back to us, which should bring costs down too.”

Xerox’s Versant 180 is a four-colour production printer running at 80ppm on stocks up to 350gsm. The Riso printers will be transferred to sister site Apex.

Boasting a hydraulic knife and optical cutting line, the Polar 58E Mk II guillotine has both a cutting width and a feed depth of 580mm. The used machine was provided by Heidelberg, who d’Entrecasteaux said he chose because he “has a lot of trust in them”.

Across its 10 months under new ownership, Atlas has spent a total of £85,000 on a wide gamut of equipment – other additions include a Bell & Howell envelope inserter, a Sitma 75 polywrap line and an AMS Accufast tabbing machine for one-piece mailers.

Equipment will be upgraded in due course, though d’Entrecasteaux said the initial step was to gain the capabilities onsite at Atlas’ 840sqm premises before building upon them.

Parent company ADMail was established in October last year when Apex Direct Mail owner Peter Lawrence decided to retire and offered to sell the company to his production manager Carl Pickles.

In turn, Pickles brought onboard Karl Butler and d’Entrecasteaux – who had worked with Pickles at Apex 20 years previously in IT and front-end client services respectively.

The trio founded ADMail and proceeded to acquire Atlas alongside their takeover of Apex. 

Apex, which has just achieved ISO 27001 data security accreditation, predominantly offers hand-fulfilment services to go alongside Atlas’ technology driven offering. A third company, Aldershot's VDP Direct Mail, was acquired at the same time and rolled into the nearby Apex.

Atlas now employs eight members of staff, with a view to make new hires in IT, machine operation and account management. The business had sales of around £400,000 prior to be acquired by ADMail, with d’Entrecasteaux anticipating the figure to reach £1.2m next year.

“It is a cheesy, romantic story about how the three of us came to where we are now,” he said. “We wanted to run things like we used to at Apex all those years ago. We have hit the ground running and not stopped since – it is a completely different world.”

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