The firm went public with its plans at this week’s Fespa show in Munich.
Family-owned Durham Box is based in St Helen Auckland in County Durham and celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. It employs around 75 staff and has turnover of £12.5m.
The company has acquired an adjacent property as part of a major £3m-plus investment in the expansion.
“The new unit is 46 metres long and 25 metres across, and couldn’t be a more perfect size for the Nozomi,” explained joint managing director Daniel Morris.
Durham Box plans to produce premium packaging, point-of-sale and display work and other corrugated products on the Nozomi single-pass LED inkjet, which can print at up to 75 linear metres per minute and handles a maximum sheet size of 1.8x3m. It will be configured with four colours and dual-lane printing.
“We read about Nozomi in the trade press so it was on our radar,” Morris explained.
“Then we looked into it and we were excited straightaway. We sent EFI test files that we considered to be our most challenging jobs, and the results were staggering – we were blown away with the quality,” he added.
“It also gave us confidence that so many other people have invested in Nozomi in a short space of time.”
The deal was signed in March and installation begins on Monday (20 May), with the new facility set to be up and running at the beginning of July.
The Durham Box team visited the EFI booth (B5-E10) at Fespa to announce the buy.
EFI vice president of marketing for inkjet Ken Hanulec commented: “We are seeing two big trends: customers looking to take costs out, and customers looking to do things they can’t currently do – this is a great example of the latter.”
Durham Box has around 500 clients and produces a range of products on its four flexo production lines including shelf-ready packaging, protective and promotional packaging. It deals with clients in a number of sectors including food and drink, medical and industrial producing runs from 200 to 20,000.
At present it outsources a small amount of point-of-sale work. “What we currently do in a year we could probably put through the Nozomi in a week!” Morris quipped.
Durham Box has an existing digital offering using a single-pass Wonderjet WD2000 single-pass inkjet, which Morris described as “a toe in the water” that the firm would now build upon with the new dedicated digital facility.
He said the business would initially target its existing customers with the new packaging and point-of-sale offering on the Nozomi, and expected to produce runs of “50 upwards”.
The expectation is that the work mix on the Nozomi will be 40% premium packaging, 20% point-of-sale, and 40% other corrugated packaging.
“We will be getting the message across to our customers that there is no rigidity anymore like there is with flexo, and it will be interesting to see where it goes,” Morris said.
“I think we will exit 2020 with an enhanced run rate of another £400,000 a month.”
Durham Box is the first UK packaging printer to invest in a Nozomi.
Robert Frost, EMEA Nozomi sales specialist at EFI, said: “This is a proper, family-owned sheet plant and is a perfect installation for us.”
Around 15 new jobs are likely to be created, and Morris said he was also considering developing a new brand for the digital offering.
Picture shows, left to right: Ken Hanulec, Daniel Morris, joint managing director Michael Morris, Durham Box business development manager Richard Turnbull, and Robert Frost.