East London-based Park Communications has invested around £750,000 to set up a new wide-format division, Park Display.
Equipment purchases began in July, with construction of a new mezzanine and staff training taking place in August. Once everything was in place, testing took place in September and the first customer orders were taken towards the end of that month.
Park Display is intended to to comprise around 25% of Park’s sales within three years, and Park’s management are already anticipating launching night shifts for the division, which is aimed at a range of client sectors, including galleries, museums, fashion brands and banks.
The spend mainly comprises the extension to the 650sqm unit, which Park already owned, along with the purchase of a 3.2m-wide Vutek GS3250LX, Fujifilm Acuity LED 1600 II, HP Latex 570 and various finishing kit. It will also be providing installation services.
“This basically came from customers who approached us and asked if we could take on large-format jobs,” said Park managing director Alison Branch.
“They explained to us that quality is important, but particular challenges are the multiple elements that need to be controlled, lots of project management involved and production and also where a lot of people were falling down was on installation and site surveys. We’re known for our project management ability and if we say we do something we do it well.
“Some customers already had display work, but they were finding it difficult to manage and of course quite a few, like Four Graphics, smaller, maybe more flexible printers have gone down.”
New Park Display manager Nick Spain advised on the kit purchases, having joined the £13.5m-turnover business from wide-format printer Four Graphics, which went into administration and was acquired by two different companies last May. It comprises six staff, with another joining from Four Graphics and the rest coming in externally, along with utilising Park’s pre-press staff on larger jobs.
Spain opted for the Vutek as the division’s “heavy duty” piece of kit, while the Acuity was purchased to provide support as it handles both roll and hard substrates, can be used to provide overflow capacity and also prints at a higher resolution than the Vutek.
The Vutek uses EFI’s 'cool cure' technology and prints at up to 223sqm/hr at maximum 1,000dpi resolution, while the Acuity prints at 33sqm/hr in fast mode at 1,200dpi resolution. On the finishing side, Spain advised on a 3.2m-wide Dyss X7 and a Kala Arkane 1650 laminator.
He said: “It’s a very exciting venture and we have already successfully printed and installed multiple projects, with many more in the pipeline. I can only see Park Display going from strength to strength."
Park Communications recently invested in a second highly specified KBA Rapida 106, part of a two-year long investment plan that has also seen it purchase an HP Indigo 7800 and various other items of finishing equipment.