Plastic Card Services (PCS) has invested more than £1m in setting up a new digital card production facility that will enable it to handle short runs more efficiently.
The digital facility is sited at a new leased unit – the firm’s fourth – at its existing premises in Macclesfield, taking its total space up to 2,165sqm.
The £5.6m-turnover company has kitted out the digital unit with new equipment including an HP Indigo 5900 seven-colour digital press, a Bürkle Smartlam CHK100/200 laminator and a fully automatic Col-Tec Sheet Collator, for accurately assembling the various elements that make up a card.
The new machinery was installed in stages over the past few months and the digital service was launched at the start of May.
“Over 50% of our enquiries are for less than 5,000 cards. We’re still getting the medium- to high-volume enquiries as well which is excellent, and that’s not suffering, but there was a very real demand for low-volume work. It also gives us the flexibility in terms of variable personalisation as well,” said PCS sales director Adam Unsworth.
“We’re always looking to move forward and to reinvest and this was the one string of our bow that was lacking. We’re hoping this will open up a lot of doors for us in terms of trade custom.”
He added: “We could have used our existing finishing equipment in reality, but we felt that if we were going to do it, we needed to do it properly. So we went the whole hog with the new unit and all the new equipment.”
Unsworth said the company, which has 50 staff, is currently recruiting in both production and administration to help manage the new digital service, which it is hoped will account for around £500,000 worth of sales within two years.
“In terms of the quality and consistency of print and the flexibility of material that can go through the press, as far as we were concerned it was a no-brainer to go with the Indigo 5900 – it was the right choice for us,” said Unsworth.
“And the Bürkle laminator is a step up for us and it’s flexible in terms of sheet size so we can utilise it for our litho production as well.”
PCS also operates machinery including a five-colour KBA Genius 52 UV waterless offset press, a Svecia screen press and Oasys finishing kit. In March the business demonstrated its new personalised video gift card in public for the first time at PrintWeekLive!