Commercial SME InPrint diversifies into packaging

Darryl Danielli
Friday, October 30, 2020

Commercial and wide-format printer InPrint Colour is investing £500,000 to expand into packaging to further diversify and future-proof the business in the post-Covid landscape.

InPrint well versed in the art of diversification
InPrint well versed in the art of diversification

As the first part of the investment, the Malton, North Yorkshire family firm is set to install a Heidelberg Diana GO 85 folder-gluer in just under two weeks' time. This will likely be followed by a die-cutter at some point in the future.

The circa £150,000 Diana GO 85 has a maximum standard speed of 250m/min and handle carton boards from 200-600gsm and corrugated up to F-flute.

It can run a wide range of carton styles such as straightline and lockbottom as well as document wallets, envelopes, CD sleeves and some special applications, depending on the size of the product and the number of folds.

According to managing director Paul Coulson the business first looked at boosting its packaging offering two or so years ago, around the time it swapped out its two B3 Speedmaster SM 52s for a B2 XL 75.

In the intervening period it has built up the packaging side of its business, using partners to support finishing when needed, to get the critical mass of work required.

“We’ve been nibbling away for a couple of years, since we got the XL 75, which has no problem printing packaging,” said Coulson.

However, the impact of the pandemic, which resulted in a major drop-off in work from its tourism clients and the business running at around 50% of its previous level, accelerated the InPrint’s diversification plans.

“Work is starting to pick up more now, but we just thought with things the way they way are we would diversify and go into packaging properly,” said Coulson.

So, Coulson, who runs the business with his son and fellow director Lee, went over to Heidelberg in Germany a couple of months ago and signed the Diana deal on the spot.

“We chose Heidelberg as they are the market leaders in finishing equipment for packaging. We have been using Heidelberg equipment for the last 30 years and they have given us unparalleled customer service,” said Lee Coulson.

The business is targeting predominantly SME clients with smaller runs to suit its kit line-up and because the local area is, according to Coulson senior, the “food capital of the north” with significant numbers of craft brewers and food producers. The firm has already secured several new business wins in advance of the folder/gluer’s arrival.

The move into packaging is not the first time the commercial print business has pivoted to achieve growth, having previously added wide-format to its product mix and more recently direct-to-garment printing.

“We don’t stand still; we got one of the first Ricoh flatbeds and then the garment printer. We’ve always tried to keep investing,” said Coulson.

The business is currently running with 12 staff, having had to cut three roles as a result of the pandemic. However, a leaner team was also factor in opting for the Diana, according to Coulson.

“All I’m looking for right now [in investments] is automation, we want to automate as much as possible and this folder/gluer can really shift.”


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