Brydian Cards expects to double its gift card output to 100 million a year and “put us nearer the big boys” after investing £800,000.
The company in Bridport, Dorset has invested across the business, spearheaded by the installation earlier this month of a five-colour Genius 52UV anilox press, which took the majority of the spend.
Brydian Cards plans to more than double its turnover to £5m by 2019 from its trade service offering everything from low-volume proofs and one-off card designs to runs of millions.
The company, founded in 1998 by Steve Dixon and Grahame Johnson, also specialises in the design and manufacture of plastic cards such as membership, loyalty and gift cards.
Brydian Cards' 27 staff aim to turn over of £2.3m this year as the company completes the first year of a five-year plan to hit the £5m mark, said sales manager Vicky Wright.
“The new Genius will run alongside an existing Presstek 52DI,” she said. “The Presstek was running 24 hours a day and could not keep up with demand.
“We needed something a bit more beefy to help us with larger runs and to take the pressure off the 52DI.”
The Genius 52UV, supplied by KBA UK, has UV coater, can handle substrates from 0.1mm to 0.8mm and prints on materials such as carton, paper, lenticulars and wood as well as plastics.
It can run waterless, analogue or digital plates and has a print quality that has been compared to photogravure. The press runs at 8,000 sheets per hour.
Semi-automatic plate change enables five-minute makereadies with typical run-up waste of fewer than 12 sheets. The anilox system boasts vibrant colours and sharp dots, said Wright.
Brydian Cards’ managing director Grahame Johnson said there were no ink keys to be adjusted, no water or alcohol and the image quality was controlled at pre-press.
“We invested in finishing kit to support increased production and the new Genius will run alongside an existing Presstek 52DI.”
He first saw the Genius in Paris five years ago and went to KBA in Germany last year. Johnson looked at buying another Presstek press, but was won over by the quality and colour consistency of the Genius.
“The decision to step up to the Genius was also a strategic move,” said Johnson. “We were nearing the point where we were running the Presstek 24 hours a day, which is a vulnerable position.
“We wanted something to handle longer runs because our customers are demanding larger volumes. Where once 100,000 cards were being requested, we are now being asked for 5 million.
“Several operations lead in card production because they can handle higher volumes. We have been associated more with mid-length runs, but the Genius will put us nearer the big boys.”
The ability of the kit to print on 800mic card was another important factor, he added. The Presstek handled 400mic but Brydian Cards was seeing more demand for thicker options.
“We hope to get a more print punch work on non-laminated card. It also opens up market segments using polycarbonate. Substrate flexibility was important, so we could offer more choice.”
The new press was commissioned in the first week of October. The gift card market is 75% of the company's work but customers have been asking for cards that have backing carriers.
“We can also look at spot varnish, silvers and golds, and more challenging print finishes such as lenticular. Customers are looking for something that is different; they want added features.”
KBA UK managing director Andrew Pang said: “Experts tell us the way forward for businesses is to expand their offering and develop relationships as a respected partner with challenging ideas.”