Founded in 1899, The Entwistle Thorpe Group started out offering supplies to the photographic and printing industries. Over the last one hundred years the services offered have evolved, now catering for current trends in computer aided drafting, digital graphic products along with value added packaging and point of sale displays.
Entwistle Group operates at locations in Manchester, Bradford, and Warrington and holds substantial stock of all popular products for both traditional and digital printing. The company is committed to keeping its product range up to date and is driven by new technologies.
Jason Richards, Managing Director at Entwistle Group has been with the company for 37 years, Jason explains “As a company, there is not a business sector that we don’t deal with. The areas our customers operate in include event, pharmaceutical, nuclear, rail, education, and advertising agencies. A high level of service and quality is expected by our clients. Over our history, we have consistently invested in new technologies.” Jason continues “Print is a commodity, to differentiate ourselves from the competition, customers draw on our extensive knowledge and experience giving true cross media solutions. We project manage everything from digital media and website design to conventional and digital print.”
The smart newly completed Manchester site is a state-of-the-art 20,000 sq ft facility. The premises have been designed to be efficient for production. Much thought has gone into the design of the site, from energy usage to workflow within the building. Climate controlled storage of stock, separation of FSC and non FSC materials are just some of the measures taken to ensure a quality product.
The Arizona digital printer at Entwistle’s Manchester site was running close to capacity, so a decision was made to invest in further equipment to meet demand. An Arizona 2260XT was installed but this then brought its own issues in the digital finishing area. The existing digital cutter was limited to a size of 1600 x 1200mm. To make full use of the new printing facility, Entwistle Group needed to look at a larger digital cutter with routing capability.
“To justify bringing in a new cutter, any new machine had to be capable of being left unattended to complete work whilst an operator runs the digital print area in parallel. A new cutter had to be larger, faster, have a router and be capable of running everything we throw at it, from paper and vinyl to Foamex and Dibond.” says Jason. “When I saw the DYSS cutter email arrive in my inbox, we booked a demo with AG/CAD.“Within ten minutes of seeing the DYSS X7 run we’d already made the decision to buy it.” adds Jason.
With the added capacity in digital printing and cutting, Entwistle Group are looking to move more into the exhibition sector and will start offering materials such as polytextiles for interchangeable fabric banners. The DYSS rotary blade tool (RBT) is especially good at cutting porous textiles that cannot easily be vacuumed down. As with all DYSS standard tooling, the motorised RBT tool is plug and play, it can be added at a later date as new markets are identified.
Optical tool calibration
One of the most important features that Jason considered when deciding on a new digital cutter is the ability to calibrate tooling accurately. Jason explains “With our existing cutter, we rely on a visual/manual set, this is both time consuming and inaccurate. We are running a wide variety of materials requiring frequent tool changes, any new machine had to improve on the previous system.”
All DYSS digital cutters can be supplied with optical tool calibration. The sensors work by measuring the tip of a blade/router bit/ crease wheel as it passes through a light sensor. Readings accurate to one-thousandth of a mm are achieved. Having a properly calibrated tool means that precise cutting/routing/creasing depths can be achieved using the easy to set material profiles in the machine front end software.
The main digital cutter operators at Entwistle are Carl, with an exceptional 44 years at the company, and Ben with 3 years already under his belt. Both operators attended the initial DYSS cutter demo, and both were key in the decision to add the DYSS X7 to the finishing line up. The plan is for two additional members of staff to be trained as business picks up.
Added benefits to the sales department
The purchase of the DYSS X7 has added benefits to the profitability of Entwistle in many ways. Not only can the company manufacture materials that had to be outsourced prior to the installation in a faster, more efficient way, but prototyping new work is also much faster.
Entwistle has K-CUT Vision Pro software installed on the DYSS cutters dedicated workstation making the full KASEMAKE design suite available to the machine operator. “It now takes me longer to walk to the machine, than it does to set up a new material profile and get the DYSS ready to cut a pre-production mock-up.” Says Jason. He adds “We plan to use the dedicated training facility at AG/CAD to learn more about the capabilities of KASEMAKE. We can see that it is a powerful tool and want to utilise the parametric and 3D element. Having the facility to add artwork to virtual samples, email them as an interactive 3D PDF to customers for approval, will save hours or even days at a time.”
Unmanned production on the DYSS X7
Jason sums up “With the DYSS cutter, unmanned use has been proven. During the COVID lockdown period when we had fewer people on site, we were able to keep up with both print and digital cut production. The machine operator was able to multitask, running both the digital printing and DYSS cutter at the same time. The DYSS X7 is dependable, reliable, robust, well made and the backup, when required, has been spot on.”