Interprint has invested around £500,000 in its fast-growing digital department following an explosion in demand over the past 12 months.
The investment, which includes two new Ricoh Pro C9110 printers, a Pro C901 and some internal building works to accomodate the expanded digital department, follows a doubling in digital turnover at the Swindon-based business.
"Digital has grown from nothing four years ago to 15% of turnover last year and it will be circa 30-40% this year," said managing director Andrew Hatcher. "This year has really been the springboard for the digital business – we’ve already got the new machines filled up and if we win anymore work we’ll have to invest in more equipment and break digital out into its own unit."
Interprint launched its digital business with a C901 and a black-and-white C907 in 2011 and later added a C900 that is now being decommissioned to make way for the three new devices.
"We started the digital business four years ago with a C901 and a C907 and since then it’s been a digital explosion. We added a C900 a few years ago and then a second C901 around three months ago, which gave us around 16,000 impressions per hour across the four machines," said Hatcher.
"With the two C9110s we’ve now got capacity for around 30,000 impressions per hour on top of which we’ve gone to a double shift, so we’re going from 120,000 impressions per day to 450,000 and we expect to fill that capacity up pretty imminently.
"Our digital business is quality and service driven and its all geared around getting the finished product out of the end of the machine, in a box and out the door. Unlike litho, there’s no guillotining or collating required, and the bulk of the work gets finished either in-line or near-line and is ready to go."
Interprint's digital spend, which was supported by RGF funding, follows an investment by its sister company 4Max Graphics in a new EFI Vutek GS3250 LS Pro 3.2m wide-format printer around the middle of last year, although Hatcher stressed that the group, which employs 25 staff and has a turnover of around £2.2m, was cautious when it came to capex.
"We’re always very careful in terms of investment – if we get the opportunity in terms of new contracts then we will invest in the technology to make production as efficient as possible, but we don’t buy a press and then say right we need X thousand pounds of business to fill it up," said Hatcher.
He added: "Business is going very well. It’s all very positive and we’ve certainly seen the feel-good factor coming back into print – that’s something we’ve noticed happening over the last few years and that’s helped us flourish as a business."