Installed in mid-February for a £30,000 investment, the new machine expands the Lincoln operation’s portfolio to bring a number of its previously outsourced promotional printing jobs in-house.
Products that will come out of the A2-size ValueJet include notepads, pens, USB sticks, coasters and mousemats, all sold through Visual’s e-commerce website, which launched in July 2018 and now offers more than 1,000 products.
Following the introduction of its new device, Visual is in the process of interviewing for a new marketing manager, as well as beginning the search for a business development manager and an apprentice for production coordination.
Managing director Graham Hunstone said: “We decided to bring these processes in house so we could turn jobs round a bit quicker. Lead times were usually 10-14 days but some of our clients wanted shorter runs faster and now we can go as far as to offer an express service that dispatches same-day or within 24 hours.
“Though we shopped around with Roland and Mimaki, we decided to go with Mutoh due to our existing relationship, as we print large-format products like banners and pop-ups using another Mutoh machine. We can really see how customers will benefit from this tech.
“Our e-commerce site is going very well. It is a competitive market out there, but our pricing structure is good and only getting better. We will push that further this year.”
The ValueJet VJ-626UF is a six-colour (CMYK, white and varnish) desktop A2-size flatbed LED-UV printer with integrated vacuum bed, printing on media sizes up to 594x483mm on a wide variety of flexible and solid materials up to 150mm thick.
Visual will move forward from the install with a 2019 defined by expansion and improvement.
Its 325sqm floorspace is set to double as the business renting the first floor of its building is set to move out, which will give the firm the space for a full production floor downstairs and office space upstairs. Alongside the new hires, the company’s apprentice production coordinator Charlie Hartley has recently qualified and taken on a full-time job as production coordinator.
With a turnover of £1m that Hunstone seeks to grow by “£150,000-200,000” this year, Visual Print & Design currently employs 10 members of staff.