PCS talks up Scandi success following major contract win


UK card manufacturer Plastic Card Services (PCS) and its Scandinavian sales agent LogoCard have continued their export success in the region after securing a new contract to produce more than 21,000 e-Passport shields for Danish insurance and banking company Alm Brand.

The e-Passport shields, which will feature the Alm Brand logo and colours, use patented shielding technology from Voyager Blue (VB) to prevent the skimming of information from passports.

The shields are placed inside a passport and the technology blocks the signals that RFID readers use to access data on biometric passports, keeping the user's details secure. This technology can also be used in any plastic card that does not contain a chip or magnetic data and/or as a standalone product.

As well as manufacturing the shield cards, PCS will send out personalised mailings to Alm Brand customers, who have taken out travel insurance, in batches of around 3,000 per time. These mailing packs will be printed and collated at PCS’ manufacturing facility in Macclesfield, Cheshire and mailed directly to customers’ home addresses in Denmark through a specialist postage provider.

The cards are printed on a five-colour KBA Genius 52 UV waterless offset press and finished with Oasys collating, laminating and punching kit before personalisation is carried out using Canon Océ laser printers. Kirk Rudy attaching lines and Bell and Howell inserters are used to complete the process.

The first batch of mailing packs were sent out in September and PCS sales director Adam Unsworth said the company has already quoted for a reprint.

“At the minute Alm Brand are sending one pack or shield per insurance policy but they’re now looking at sending two as a sort of ‘his or hers’, which is good for us as it would be double the amount that we’re sending.”

“If somebody pops the card in their passport then every time they go away during the life of the passport, which is eight to 10 years, they are going to be reminded of Alm Brand. They’ve been very pleased with it and also wanted to offer it to their staff at a discounted rate.”

He added: “We’re impressed with the type of business that’s gone for it and the potential leading to other work. It’s also export work, which is always good news.

“We’d specifically targeted UK insurance companies with this product for a 12-month period but didn’t have a great deal of impact so now that we’ve got one insurance company on board we’re hoping that we can revisit that market and that it will spur on other work.

“Our Danish agent has already been approached by another insurance company who saw the mailing and thought it was a really good idea.”

Unsworth added that the Brexit vote had proved a mixed blessing for the company.

“We buy our raw material - our PVC - in euros and US dollars so we have been hit by Brexit in terms of the exchange rate. But the flipside of that is that we have been active in exporting to Scandinavia. We’d like to export further afield but we’ve got a really good agency agreement with LogoCard in Denmark.”

He added the Danish export market is particularly successful for the company at the moment because the value of the krone against the pound is currently very strong.

“A couple of weeks ago we also secured another three-year contract with Coop Denmark – the country’s biggest supermarket – which has got a huge loyalty scheme. I don’t know how much of that was related to the strength of the krone against the pound but it certainly didn’t do us any harm.”

Plastic Card Services produces more than 50 million cards a year for clients including major retailers, FTSE 100 companies and public sector organisations.

The business, which has 50 staff and a turnover of around £5.7m, invested more than £85,000 earlier this year in a Natgraph UV drying bridge for its Svecia screen press as well as a selection of Smart 70 dual thermal printers.

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