Kolorcraft has installed the first Bickers Tapejet outside of Germany and France ahead of the machine's official launch at Fespa 2015 next month.
The POS specialist is in the middle of a £2.2m capex programme that included a £1m spend on two Durst wide-format printers, a Durst 1030 and a Durst P10, which were installed last autumn.
That investment was followed by a £600,000 spend on two Bickers machines, the Tapejet and a Gluejet automated hotmelt and cold PVA gluing machine, which were installed at the end of last year.
The final piece of the puzzle will be a VLF cutting machine for handling materials such as corrugated board and paperboard, which the company is in the process of finalising an order for at the moment.
Kolorcraft managing director Phil Findley said that the new Dursts would run alongside an existing Inca S40 and extend the firm's existing digital wide-format print capability, while the automated gluing, taping and cutting tables would help reduce hand finishing costs.
"I'm not planning to lose any staff on the back of it – in fact we've taken on more people as a result of the two Dursts – but it means people are going to be freed up to focus on more interesting things than taping 100 displays," said Findley.
He added that the new automated finishing kit would reduce lead times and that the entire digital upgrade was designed to dovetail with the £25m turnover business's end2end online collaborative workflow suite, which is used by brands and retail chains.
This has been in continuous development since its launch five years ago and currently includes modules for automated artwork, creating and updating individual retail store profiles (including the retail floor area, number and size of windows, ceiling height, what goods the store sells, etc), and an eShop for ordering posters, decals, hanging signs and other in-store display items.
"Store managers can also access video clips on how to install things like window decals," added Findley. "The system is designed to help keep everyone on brand while keeping things as simple as possible for the people in the store who may have to install the POS material themselves."
Findley said that Kolorcraft was made aware of the Tapejet ahead of its launch after ordering the Gluejet and enquiring whether Bickers had any plans for anything similar to do automated taping.
"They said they had something they'd been working on for some time and I think we've got the first fully fledged, post-beta machine," he added.
Finance for the Bickers machines came from HSBC asset finance, while Lombard provided the funding packaging for the two Dursts, which were supported by Regional Growth Fund money in the form of a grant from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership's Business Growth Programme.
Kolorcraft employs around 200 people at its facility in Ossett, West Yorshire where it was founded more than 35 years ago.