Awesome investment for ever-expanding merchandiser

Max Goldbart
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Awesome Merchandise has invested around £165,000 to bolster its screen printing and digital printing facilities.

The screen printer, a 12-colour M&R Sportsman, was installed last Thursday (25 May) and the new Konica Minolta bizhub Press C1100 arrived in Awesome’s Leeds premises two weeks ago. The Konica was worth just more than half of the investment. Awesome splits its factory 50/50 between screen and digital print.

The Konica is Awesome’s second C1100, replacing an older bizhub, while the M&R machine joins two other Sportsmans.

Managing director Luke Hodson said that together the two machines would add “significant capacity” to the operation in terms of volume. He said the Sportsman would boost screen capacity by around 40%.

Hodson said: “Because they’re both pretty productive machines they’re helping us do things a bit more quickly, so previously if something happened, if one of our faster machines went down, we were scuppered a little bit. So added capacity is good to keep things in motion.” 

The C1100 runs at a maximum speed of up to 100ppm (A4) at 600dpi resolution, taking paper ranging from 40gsm to 300gsm at a maximum size of 310x460mm.

Hodson added: “We went to Drupa last year and had a look at everything and frankly we’re not dabbling in B2 or litho and the 1100 is very cost-effective for speed. The other machines we were looking at were three or four times the price but pretty much doing the same thing.

“It’s super-fast and reliable and is pretty productive, if you’re doing short-run jobs with different kinds of substrates.”

The Sportsman is Awesome’s first 12-colour screen printing machine and has mainly been brought in to increase turnarounds on printed shirt orders.

“It gives us a bit more flexibility in terms of dealing with multiple high-colour jobs," added Hodson.

Formed in 2005 in Hodson’s university bedroom, Awesome Merchandise has grown to employ around 70 people, with staff levels almost doubling within the past two years.

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