By Rhys Handley, Monday 12 March 2018
McGowans has kicked off pre-Brexit expansion at both its Dublin and Belfast bases with two new large-format Durst Rho machines.
The investment, worth around €850,000 (£756,000), will upgrade and strengthen the firm's offering on both sides of the Irish border.
At the Dublin headquarters, a new Rho 512R Plus – launched at Fespa last year – will replace 312R Plus to enhance the quality and production levels of the Irish operation. The 5m-wide UV dual- and triple-roll printer went in just before Christmas.
In Northern Ireland, a 1.6m-wide Rho P10 160, which prints in six colours plus white, took the place of an Inca Spyder in December. The two machines will open up markets in mesh, polyethylene and fabric UV printing for McGowans.
“Our Belfast operation is built to fulfil our quicker turnaround requests from customers and short-notice work, while Dublin does the heavy lifting on projects that may require longer lead times,” said managing director Mal McGowan.
“We took a look at the marketplace when we knew we needed new tech and we have a great relationship with Durst. They engineer equipment really well and it is the most reliable digital technology I have ever worked with.
“Though this tech represents a small investment to stay up to date, we are aware of the continued discussions over the Irish border – there is an unspoken understanding that there will not be a hard border but if there is then we are in a fortunate position to have bases in both Ireland and the UK and could work to expand them both in that case.”
Employing 130 people across both its bases, McGowans is targeting growth in turnover at a rate of 25% each year in Belfast and 20% each year in Dublin.
Its Durst complement now comprises five Rho machines, including a fully-automated 1330, a three-quarter automated 1312 and a P10 3.2m roll-to-roll with white machine. The firm also operates an EFI Nozomi C18000 corrugated printing line, which was installed last year.
Its 1,860sqm Belfast plant houses more than 15 employees while its Dublin base takes up 9,290sqm for more than 85 staff members.
McGowans’ offering takes in jobs both large- and small-format, on 20 printing machines and 15 finishing machines.