Thames Card Technology has signed an exclusive agreement that allows it to offer a ‘greener’ alternative to PVC cards for its customers.
The deal, signed last week, was agreed after Coventry headquartered Nu:Agencies approached Thames Card Technologies (TCT) a number of months ago about getting its more environmentally friendly product, Nu:eCard, onto the UK market after it successfully rolled it out in the US, predominantly in the hotel sector.
According to the manufacturer, which is part of stationery firm Nuco International, Nu:eCard is a chalk-based substrate made from reclaimed and renewable materials and polyethylene while its manufacturing process uses reduced energy and CO2 and doesn’t need water, acid, alkaline or bleach. The material is manufactured at two sites, one in Taiwan and one in China.
TCT managing director Paul Underwood, called the product “a true alternative to PVC” and with no increase in cost, clients are able to switch with no price increase.
He said: “We very much see this material as a really credible option for customers that are looking for an alternative to PVC and want an eco-friendly solution.
“The beauty of this material is that it allows us, as a high-volume plastic card manufacturer, to use exactly the same equipment and settings as we already do on traditional PVC cards, so we will continue to print lithographically and screen print and finish with the holograms, for example, that we currently do. We don’t have to change our processes at all.”
The business currently produces around 250 million plastic cards a year, carrying out the full production process of cutting, printing, finishing, personalisation and mailing from its manufacturing site in Rayleigh, Essex.
Among the many types of cards it produces are gift, membership, loyalty and hotel key cards as well as various cards for the banking sector. Underwood explained that the firm’s initial sales focus would be into the retail and hotel markets and that pushing the Nu:eCard in the banking sector would come further down the line.
“It is our plan to eventually gain accreditation to offer these to the banking sector but with the higher technology involved such as the chip and pin and dual interface properties embedded within them, there are a number of levels of certification the card has to go through before we can offer it to that market.”
Underwood said the firm had yet to start production using the new material as talks were currently underway with numerous clients that were interested in moving away from PVC. Underwood said he planned to market the Nu:eCard in Europe as well as the UK.
“We are busily talking to a lot of clients and a lot have actually approached us to discuss this new material; we believe in a short amount of weeks we’ll be producing high volumes,” he said.
Commenting on the deal with TCT, managing director of Nuco International, Keith Matthews, said: "This partnership with Thames Card Technology is further confirmation that our decision to invest in developing Nu:eCard was the right one.
“This product is gaining global momentum through our partners both sides of the Atlantic and it won’t be long now until consumers across Europe also have greener cards in their pockets."
The deal with Nu:Agencies follows a bumper 2016 for £15.9m-turnover TCT and so far a very busy 2017, which has seen the completion of a major management restructure, appointing a chief executive, a new operations director, finance director, head of retail, technical manager and business development manager.
The reorganisation was followed swiftly by a major £2m investment in a raft of new kit at the 3,770sqm Essex facility that the 176-staff company reported upped personalistation capacity by 60%.