Signature installs i300 in new factory

Max Goldbart
Monday, September 26, 2016

Personalised gift supplier and manufacturer Signature Gifts has taken delivery of a Canon Océ VarioPrint i300 in its new purpose-built factory in Wigtown, Scotland.

It is one of the first UK customers to install the machine, which was launched in late 2015. The machine was installed at the end of August and was signed for at Drupa

It joins Signature’s all-Canon print department, as it currently has two Canon Océ VarioPrint 6250s and two imagePresses – one has been traded in and the other will be used as a backup to the i300.

Speaking at Canon's Commercial Printing Business Day in Munich, Signature co-owner Kevin Spindler said: “We moved to Canon five or six years ago when we first bought an imagePress. When we got into kids books we went into the imagePress arena and as our volume has now built up to around 300,000 personalised books a year we need the extra capacity.

“When you order a book there is no reason you can’t have it tomorrow. The only reason we couldn’t provide that before is because the 6250s, which are old toner-based machines, make the paper very very hot so you have to let it settle down and cure.

“The machine is quite a leap forward for us in terms of commitment and it just about pays for itself on the volume we’ve got. It will come into its own as our volumes increase.”

The i300 was the first B3 sheetfed inkjet press to come to market and retails at £750,000 depending on configuration.

It prints at speeds of up to 300 A4 images/minute and takes paper with weights ranging between 60 and 300gsm.

Signature relocated production to its new purpose-built 1,400-sqm factory in Wigtown at the end of July.

It was previously using a factory near its headquarters in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, but Spindler said he wanted to move nearer to the 4,600sqm-warehouse it also owns in Wigtown that contains its newspapers archive. Signature uses these newspapers when it produces its personalised historical commemorative books. 

“The i300 will do everything,” added Spindler.

“At Drupa we signed up because at the same time we were building the factory. We were looking at other manufacturers but the factory would be configured around which technology we would commit ourselves to for the next 10 years or so and going for the i300, we configured the print room in this particular way.”

Spindler also praised the sales support provided by Canon in Signature's new rural location.

“It is one thing having a plant in London or Hertfordshire where you know there are millions of service people around but being in a very rural location is a lot more challenging and costly for the companies providing that service,” he added.

Last year, Signature turned over just shy of £8m, 75% of which was made up from selling books. It has a second plant in Stoke for manufacturing personalised ceramics. 

Canon announced at its Commercial Printing Business Day that it has now installed more than 1,000 continuous-feed inkjet printers worldwide since 2008.

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