Wallace Print has spent more than £500,000 on a raft of new machinery and updates to its premises as it continues to grow.
Late last year the Rochester, Kent-based firm took on a SwissQprint Impala UV flatbed printer, supplied by Spandex.
Capable of printing CMYK plus up to five additional colour channels, Wallace Print’s machine was specified with the ingenious board option, which holds oversized panels and difficult roll media firmly in place under full-power vacuum during the printing process.
When the printing beam reaches the end of the table, a feed system takes over and advances the substrate automatically and printing continues as soon as the substrate is positioned exactly at the new zero origin.
“It’s an absolutely fantastic piece of kit and the extension allows us to print 4x2m boards, which we’ve not been able to do before,” said managing director Gary Wallace.
“The quality and speed of the machine has allowed us to hit the £4m turnover mark.”
The SwissQprint machine replaced a Fujifilm Acuity flatbed, which was sold on privately.
At around the same time Wallace Print took on a welding machine from Solent and an Esko Kongsberg X44 cutting table, supplied by CMYUK.
“We had an existing CAD cutter but this has a router incorporated. We can now rout substrates such as acrylic, plywood and 10mm PVC,” said Wallace.
“It’s also opened us up to FSDUs, which we now have the various tools to design in-house. And we’re looking into soft signage now, which I believe is an emerging market.”
He added: “Our versatility now is incredible, we’re doing things such as Dibond, which we print direct and then laminate and cut if we need to. Huge markets have opened up for us.”
The delivery of the new equipment was followed by the formation of a new installation and fitting department at Wallace Print around three months ago.
“We were spending a few hundred grand buying in fitters and we had to remain competitive so decided to hire ourselves,” said Wallace.
“We approached guys who we’ve had a relationship with for a long time and it has paid dividends; we’re now just about to take on a third guy for the department.
“People want the pain taken away; they want to give you the job and for you to quote it and do the whole thing from concept to application. It’s brought us in so much more work.”
Additionally, the business has overhauled its 1,160sqm premises, with restructuring work to the shop floor and new accounts offices, kitchens and restrooms. Full LED lighting has also been installed at the site.
Also operating two Fujifilm flatbeds with roll units and finishing kit from Summa, Aristo, Graphtec and Seal, Wallace Print employs 28 staff and serves end users, agencies and print management companies across a diverse range of sectors.
Wallace’s son Kamen started in a sales role at the business earlier this week, joining his sister Leonnie, who has worked in the accounts department for the last two years.
“We’re growing at a prolific rate. We get between 100 and 150 brand new enquiries a month through our website, reflecting the SEO that we have spent,” said Wallace.
“If somebody phones you up with an enquiry, you should convert it over to a client, and that’s exactly what we do.”