Print secures strong showing in Queen's Awards


Several UK print businesses have been honoured in this year’s Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, which salute businesses that have excelled in innovation, international trade, promoting opportunity and sustainable development.

Global Graphics Software team at their Cambourne office in January
Global Graphics Software team at their Cambourne office in January

Print notched up a particularly strong showing in the innovation category.

Contra Vision secured it’s third Queen’s Award, after accolades for international trade in 2014 and innovation in 2015.

This time around the 18-staff, Stockport-based business was honoured for Innovation for its patented High Definition (HD) One-way Vision Perforated Window Film. Developed in the UK and manufactured in China, the film features 1mm perforations compared to industry standard 1.6mm-plus, enabling graphics to feature significantly higher levels of detail.

“The big thing for us, is that these Awards are across the board, all industries are included and other winners include organisation’s like Rolls Royce and BAE Systems,” said Roland Hill, Contra Vision chairman and founder. “So, this award is special.”

Discussing the current shutdown, Hill said that both the business’s UK warehouses remained well stocked and it continued to operate through the Covid-19 crisis to support its customers.

Another industry supplier, Global Graphics Software in Cambridge was honoured at the first time of asking for its ScreenPro screening software that corrects quality defects that occur due to the physics of jetting ink onto substrate.

Global Graphics Software managing director Justin Bailey said: “It’s fantastic recognition for the team. It gets a lot of attention and when you’re working in technology and you get an award like this that cuts across all technologies, it really gives you a sense of pride.”

“I’m also hoping it will help us in attracting even more talent to the organisation, because once we get out of this Covid situation we’re going to be looking to recruit.”

Global Graphics also continues to support its customers, predominantly international digital printer manufacturers, albeit with the majority of its staff working from home.

“But I have to say, I don’t think any of our customers have noticed a change, which is a big credit to our team.”

In total 66 awards were handed out for innovation in this year’s programme.

Other innovation winners from the sector included Photocentric in Peterborough which was lauded for its method of 3D printing based on visible light from LCD screens, and Manchester-based Duo UK, whose mailing bag was honoured for its easy release handle which remains in place throughout the postal system.

As well as honouring innovation, the awards also celebrate outstanding achievements in international trade, with 128 winners named.

Textile printer Standfast & Barracks secured its Queens Award for growing its overseas sales of premium printed fabrics for home furnishings by 69% over the past three years.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic the company has temporarily suspended production at its Lancaster, Lancs factory on 31 March and, as a result, no one was available for comment at the time of writing.

Other industry-related firms to be lauded for international trade were i2r Packaging Solutions in Telford for its recyclable aluminium containers and paper tulip wraps for food; Sheffield-based Loadhog for its returnable transit packaging solutions; and reconditioned photocopier and printer supplier Trade Copiers in Penrith, Cumbria.

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