By Cassandra Balentine
New technologies are all about improving the bottom line and bringing in new and innovative work.
Established more than 40 years ago by David Lucas, the company has an unbroken trading history that started in 1972. “During this period, we have changed from screen and letter press into sheet-fed lithography. And, in the last ten years, have made digital printing the core of the business,” says Bob Garrett, business partner, Cardworks Ltd.
Cardworks Ltd. specializes in the design and production of printed packaging and point of sale (POS) material, produced mainly on cardboard.
The company’s core service is a three-dimensional (3D) design solution that leads to the production of printed bespoke and off-the-shelf POS and freestanding display units. Applications include showcards, multi-bay POS units, counter display units, DVD and CD holders, leaflet dispensers, hanging display packs, floor dumping bins, floor standing units, folding cartons and sleeves, software boxes, competition and suggestion boxes, pen pots and pads, wobblers and shelf strips, card engineered packaging, rigid and pizza style boxes, trays with lids and sleeves, posters, and premium promotional packaging.
Garrett estimates that currently 50 percent of its business is large format digital and the remaining 50 percent is lithography and small format digital.
Eye on New Technology
To stay ahead of the curve, Cardworks pays attention to the latest technologies. The company learned about Memjet printhead technology, and watched its development closely in the market for about a year in a half. In 2013, it purchased the Vortex 4200 printer from Reprographic Technology (RTI).
The Vortex 4200 wide format printer targets several print applications, including CAD, AEC, GIS, and POS graphics
Run by Memjet technology, it features five printheads designed for single-pass, wide format printing. The 42-inch device offers print speeds of up to 12 ips at 1,600×800 dpi. It is capabile of producing 9,168 square feet per hour.
“After careful consideration, we felt that RTI had made the most of the printheads inside of the Vortex 4200,” says Garrett. “We looked at each of the manufacturers of this type and size of equipment and believe that this machine offers us the most versatile use, allowing both roll- and sheet-fed material to be printed through it.”
In addition to the Vortex 4200, Cardworks runs an Agfa Annapurna UV flatbed printer as well as Xerox digital printing presses.
Prior to its latest investment, Garrett admits the company was originally in the market for a faster and higher quality flatbed to help with the heightened turnover and expectations its clients had for increased quality and turnaround times. “We were not able to find a flatbed that offers these properties without a dramatically high price point,” he claims.
Because Cardworks performs in-house mounting and laminating, the Vortex 4200 started to look like an interesting solution for both flat sheet work and POS. “After extensive tests, we were impressed with the speed and quality. That, combined with our existing equipment, we moved forward with the purchase,” says Garrett.
Since implementation, the shop has been able to greatly reduce the amount of lithographic printing required, and also reduced the use of the Xerox machines for its small format work.
With the Vortex 4200, Cardworks takes on larger POS jobs and no longer needs to rely on a large format lithographic printer for the sheets. “Our goal was to be able to achieve a price that would win the work and keep more of the margin in house,” says Garrett.
The company recently took on a POS job of 300 pieces. Using its in-house 3D studio, they created designs and sample units before it went into production.
All of the printed sheets were run on the Vortex 4200. The project was based on a similar job the company had done with the client before. In the past, they had to send the job to a lithographic printer with increased costs and slower turnaround time.
The 300 pieces were created in just five business days using the Vortex 4200.
Garrett notes that it was important that they keep up the level of quality throughout the entire job, meaning constantly checking for blocked printheads and lines.
Cardworks continues to invest in equipment that enables higher margins and happier customers. They are currently close to closing a deal on a new, automatic large format laminator.
Nov2014, Digital Output