McGowans is aiming to dramatically increase the amount of display work it produces for UK and European customers on the back of its investment in an EFI Nozomi C18000 high-speed inkjet corrugated press.
The firm installed the Nozomi in an additional unit at its Dublin site last year, becoming the world's first user of the device in the point-of-sale and display market.
The huge Nozomi, which is 37 metres in length, is now bedded in and has been running for around five months.
Speaking yesterday (11 April) as the company hosted a delegation of international trade press journalists, McGowans chief executive Mal McGowan (pictured below by the Nozomi) said the press had a real “wow” factor.
“The quality is so different from any other flatbed technology,” he said. “Customers are now saying to us ‘can we have a Nozomi print’ – they really want that wow factor.
“All the operators want to run it, it’s like a Ferrari,” he added.
The Nozomi is a single-pass sheetfed inkjet press for corrugated board of up to 1.8mx3m in size. It uses high-gloss inks and prints four levels of greyscale at 360x720dpi, with a top speed of 75m/min. Although EFI is targeting the packaging market, McGowan was quick to spot its potential for large-format displays.
The machine’s speed represents a vast increase in throughput for McGowans on certain types of work. “It has allowed us to compete on longer runs. The quality and fast turnaround puts us in a strong position to compete in the UK and Europe, and obviously Ireland,” McGowan stated.
The company is currently running the press for around four hours a day, but McGowan expects to be running it around the clock by this time next year, driving a substantial increase in sales at the €20m (£17.4m) turnover, 130 employee business.
“We are looking to become one of the major suppliers of display graphics in Europe. My target with the Nozomi is to increase sales by €5m-€6m and I’m confident we will achieve my targets,” he stated.
Although the firm’s initial focus for the Nozomi is displays, McGowan is also planning to target the packaging market through the production of high impact corrugated boxes that can carry printed graphics on both sides.
It is producing quantities as low as 100, and into the thousands. The typical run length currently is 500.
McGowan also pointed to Brexit as being a major opportunity for the business, which also has a site in Belfast.
“Brexit is going to be a bit confusing. Lots of brands are managed out of London, but they will need suppliers that can work with them in Europe. With factories in Belfast and Dublin we’re in a strong position with British companies wanting to sell into Europe,” he said.
McGowans has also just added a further two colours to the Nozomi’s original four-colour configuration, to allow the firm to match more Pantone colours using the Hexachrome colour gamut.
The business runs a raft of other digital kit including printers from Durst, Canon Océ, HP, Agfa and Xeikon, as well as extensive cutting and finishing facilities.