PCS launches W2P platform for short runs

Richard Stuart-Turner
Monday, June 4, 2018

Plastic Card Services (PCS) has launched a new web-to-print offering targeted at customers with shorter-run plastic card orders.

The specialist in personalisation, data processing, mailing and fulfilment launched the platform, Plastic Card Hub, on Monday (21 May) after developing it with software specialists over the last 12 months.

The service enables customers to choose the exact quantity of cards they want, from 50 to 5,000, gain an instant price, upload or create a design from scratch – as well as include variable data, and buy online. Users also have the option to receive their printed cards within three working days.

Plastic Card Hub is the result of a £1m investment by PCS in new equipment and extended manufacturing space at its existing site in Macclesfield, Cheshire, which has doubled its production capacity from 80 million to 160 million cards per year.

Adam Unsworth, who became managing director of PCS last October, expects the service to appeal to gyms, restaurants, pubs and hotels as well as trade customers.

He said: “What we’ve seen in recent years is that well over 50% of our orders are for volumes of less than 5,000 cards. It’s a B2B site but we’ve designed it with a consumer feel in mind and the idea is that we will attract those small to medium-sized organisations who require short-run work and that it will look and feel like a consumer experience.

“When we came up with the idea we recognised that nobody else was doing this in the card market. We’ve been very ambitious with what we’ve tried to achieve – when we first set out we thought we’d keep things simple and build from there but then we thought we needed to do it properly to differentiate ourselves.

“When we first started researching web-to-print software, the overwhelming challenge we were faced with was, with so many variants between individual card orders, how could we find a solution that would work for every permutation?

“The answer was rather than restrict the options available to customers by sticking with a set platform, we would work with the developers to create something that was exactly what we wanted.”

As well as standard CR80 plastic cards, customers can choose from the card and fob format, 3-up fobs, hotel key cards with either mag stripe and DDA notches or contactless Mifare 1k chips, RFID shielding cards, and contactless smart cards incorporating Mifare 1k or Mifare 4 chips.

52-staff PCS was formed in 1993 and currently turns over £5.5m. Its international clients range from major retailers and FTSE 100 companies to public sector organisations.

The company’s equipment includes a five-colour KBA Genius 52 UV waterless offset press, an HP Indigo 5900 seven-colour digital press and a Svecia screen press with UV bridge.

Also, a Bürkle Smartlam CHK100/200 laminator, a fully automatic Col-Tec sheet collator, a MicroPOISE MK2 hot-foil stamping machine and a range of Oasys finishing kit.

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