Prosign Print & Display has invested more than £200,000 in wide-format digital cutting and 3D printing to boost its offering and sustain growth after sales temporarily trebled last year as a result of an influx of social distancing work.The Nottingham-based business has installed a Zund G3 cutting table with the optional ARC automatic router bit/tool changer for faster set-ups.
The heavy duty 2XL-3200, which has a 2.7x3.3m bed, joined a smaller S3 Zund and means the business can now cut a much wider range of materials to help it move into markets including permanent display work.
“We were that pleased with the S3 and its performance that the G3 seemed like a natural path,” said managing director Steve Hardy.
The 25-year old business has also moved into 3D printing and installed a Stratasys F370 industrial 3D printer to predominantly support its display graphics projects and, in the future, perhaps dip a toe into 3D bureau type work.
“Everything we build in display graphics is bespoke to the client’s requirements and before sometimes the desire to make something perfect is ruined by not being able to find the perfect fixing or part, now we can make them,” said Hardy.
Both machines, which were installed mid-autumn, formed the lion’s share of the circa £220,000 investment which also included various software upgrades to boost productivity.
The nine staff business offers a range of services inhouse from commercial large-format, point of sale and signage to packaging and prototyping through its battery of Canon and Mimaki roll-to-roll and flatbed wide-format engines. It works with partners for small format work.
“We’ll tackle everything from business cards and order forms through to display, signage and corporate fit outs,” said Hardy.
“I like to be able to say to clients, and I know it’s a little cheesy, ‘the answer is yes, what do you want’. But that’s the kind of business we are.”
He added that the also firm has a sharp focus on sustainability and tries to steer clients down that route wherever possible.
“But at the end of the day if the client says it wants to use Yeti hair, we’ll go out and hunt Yetis for them,” he quipped.
Last year, when overnight it went from a full order book to nothing on the schedule as a result of the first lockdown, within 24 hours the business pivoted to produce PPE and subsequently Covid related graphics and signage and screens.
Hardy said that as result of the Prosign team’s agility through the first lockdown and beyond sales went “ballistic” and the business hopes to almost triple the prior year’s £800,000 sales when it closes the year in April.
“The was a lot of 24 hour working, and working with partners, so we knew it was not likely to be the same next year if we stayed the same. So, the choice was to take the money now and make my wife happy or invest it back into the company for the future and that’s what we’re doing,” said Hardy.
To support the firm’s growth strategy, as well as the kit spend Hardy also made his 23-year-old son Connor a director and his business partner around November.
“He brings a new energy to the business and different things to what I bring, we make a good team,” said Hardy senior.
Hardy said he and the team learned a lot in 2020, having repeatedly pivoted the business as the challenges evolved. And while the firm’s ‘normal’ work had recovered by December and was looking good going forward, there was now an element of Groundhog day after the announcement of lockdown 3 on Monday, however Hardy said he remained upbeat.
“There are still areas that need our help and we’re working on other projects now. We’ve got big plans, and I’m confident for the future of the business and we’ve always been innovative, there’s nine of us, so we’re not a big ship to turn, so we can always steer towards new opportunities,” he said.