SwissQprint grows UK business as standalone

Jo Francis
Tuesday, September 14, 2021

SwissQprint has reported a buoyant performance at its UK business, despite its first year of operation coinciding with the harshest pandemic restrictions.

Neon inks: coming soon to a UK customer
Neon inks: coming soon to a UK customer

The wide-format printer manufacturer switched to a direct sales model in the UK in autumn 2019, with a transition period with former reseller partner Spandex running until the end of April 2020. 

SwissQprint UK managing director Erskine Stewart said that consumables sales had been “an interesting barometer” of the industry over the past 18 months. A number of the firm’s existing sign and graphics customers were focused on producing work for the retail and exhibitions markets, which were effectively shuttered for long periods.

“In the beginning, consumables sales were impacted but they’ve certainly climbed back to levels beyond where we were expecting to see, so that’s good,” he noted. 

Equipment sales have also proved resilient for the Switzerland-headquartered manufacturer, with SwissQprint expanding its reach to target adjacent markets such as packaging and industrial printing. 

“From a new equipment sales perspective, we sold more machines in 2020 than we did in 2019 so we are happy we didn’t go backwards,” Stewart said.

“And this year we’re already 60% above 2020’s full year numbers – the team has done an amazing job to capitalise on all the opportunities we’ve had and we’re really happy that our customers and prospects have chosen to invest.”

SwissQprint UK managing director Erskine Stewart


Erskine said a number of investment drivers had emerged since the pandemic hit. 

“There are three trends that I’ve seen driving investment: the need to increase capacity – some of our customers with direct-to-consumer models have flown through it and they needed to invest in additional capacity. We’ve seen other customers looking to differentiate themselves, and then we’ve also had some non-core industries outside of sign and graphics in industrial printing who are converting from screen printing to digital now.”

The firm has also sold its first neon unit to an as-yet-unnamed UK customer, with testing underway and installation slated for November. 

The new neon ink kit includes can be retrofitted to all existing SwissQprint LED roll-to-roll and flatbed printers. The inks are also fluorescent in black light for applications such as nightclubs. 

The neon offering will form part of SwissQprint’s exhibit at Fespa Global Print Expo, which opens four weeks’ today at the Amsterdam RAI. 

It will also showcase the high productivity Karibu roll-to-roll printer with the latest option for automatic double-sided printing. 

Separately, SwissQprint is investing in a new subsidiary in Benelux, mirroring what has already taken place in the UK. This means the firm will end its existing arrangement with Spandex Benelux by mutual agreement. Its new Benelux operation will come into effect on 1 October. 

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