Stika invests for the future

Darryl Danielli
Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Stika has completed a £100,000 wide-format reequip to support its diversification and growth plans across its core B2C and B2B markets.

Smith (left) with operations director Tim Cadar
Smith (left) with operations director Tim Cadar

“Last year when Covid hit us we suddenly had a year’s worth of sales in three months, and probably created more new products than we ever had before,” said managing director Alex Smith.

“The levels are normalish now, but our business is constantly about product development, which these investments support.”

To back the business’s post-Covid strategic growth plan, at the start of the year the six-staff Weymouth-based outfit installed a GCC X380 Laser Cutter, while last month it further bolstered its firepower with a 1.6m-wide HP Latex 700 W roll-to-roll printer and Summa S2 160 T vinyl cutter.

The £500,000-turnover business, which is a Nettl partner, operates under two brands; Stika, which focuses on the promotional products and B2C gift markets, and 3signs.co.uk, which specialises in occupational health and safety signs for businesses. Around 95% of its sales come from Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and the like.

According to Smith, the focus of the £50k spend on the 960x610mm format GCC laser cutter was to diversify the business into new product areas by enabling the inhouse production of jigs for its Roland DG flatbed to speed up product development.

The water-cooled CO2 laser was supplied by Grafityp and financed via a bounce-back loan.

While the circa £45k print and cut spend with Colyer Repropoint was more about boosting productivity, flexibility, output, and quality, particularly when it came to white ink.

The firm’s 1,200dpi, 10-channel Latex 700 can run up to seven colours CMYK plus lc, lm and double hit white as well as Latex Optimizer and Overcoat. Flat out it's capable of 104sqm/hr single pass or 21sqm/hr in six-pass production mode.

While the 1.6m-wide Summa tangential cutter, which features barcode job recognition, can cut at up to 1.4m per second diagonal at an accuracy of 0.2% of movement or 0.25mm, whichever is greater.

The pair replaced an HP Latex 365 and a 1.4m-wide S2 cutter, with the former traded in and the latter sold on.

“We’ve worked closely with Stika for many years advising them on different new printer and finishing technologies that enable them to be forward-thinking in developing the products they sell and also improve efficiency,” said Oliver Gosden, divisional director at Colyer Repropoint.

“HP’s new Latex 700 W does this perfectly with white ink, faster production speed and improved print quality; these were the key factors for Alex.”

According to Smith, who started the business initially from his home just over eight years ago, the firm’s next investment, perhaps next year, is likely to be in the flatbed cutting arena.

“But the focus right now is making good tracks with everything we’ve got.

“We’ve essentially maxed out our 75sqm space, so I’m already going to have to say goodbye to the pool table to fit anything else in.”

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