Thames Graphics is a business that has kept pace with the trends and developments of the large format print industry since the company was founded in 1984. At the start of the new millennium, the High Wycombe company was moving toward digital print. However, it was the acquisition of the business by husband and wife team Alex and Ivan that really drove the company through its most successful decade of growth.
A recent investment of over £450,000 has enabled the family business to extend its premises and invest in a 3m by 2m Jetrix KX7R large format flatbed printer and a slightly larger DYSS X7 2230C digital cutter from AG/CAD.
Arriving within a month of each other, both machines were originally identified by Thames at the Sign & Digital exhibition. Highlighting why the Buckinghamshire business went down this route, Company Director, Alex Povey says: “We found most of our time was spent printing self-adhesive vinyls and then mounting them onto various substrates. To reduce our time and costs, we wanted to print direct to substrate and this is why we acquired the Jetrix. Cutting large boards was also an increasing challenge which meant we were either turning work away or subcontracting it out to external suppliers. We knew that a digital cutting machine would open new doors for us.”
When discussing why the company opted for the DYSS cutter, Alex continues: “We looked at a number of machines and found that several well known brands were very expensive in comparison and offered no additional benefits to the DYSS. Others had poor build quality and weren’t particularly robust or had challenging software! For us, the DYSS from AG/CAD was the only ‘complete package’. The robust frame of the DYSS X7 combined with the sturdy Super Head 3-tool cutting unit and professional KASEMAKE software ensures that we can not only knife cut, crease and router cut a multitude of medias, we can also easily create virtual 3D designs and rendered visuals for our clients.”
Thames Graphics specified the DYSS X7 machine with a roll feeding facility for cutting the batch-runs of posters that come from its roll-fed printers. As Alex continues: “We do a lot of roll media print runs and the DYSS saves us the equivalent of one full-time member of staff by automating our cutting process and is more accurate and consistent than hand cutting.”
As the summer season is upon us, Thames Graphics will be inundated with work for music festivals, with no fewer than seven regional festivals already placing orders with the family business. As Alex confirms: “So far, we have orders for over 400m of 1m wide banners and also 700m of correx boards. These orders vary from stage banners and stand graphics to local signage. Previously our team would struggle to get this work finished at all, but this year the DYSS enables us not only to eliminate the hand cutting and the back-log associated with this bottleneck but also meet tighter deadlines.”
Whilst the music festival season will come and go, the bread and butter business for Thames Graphics includes graphic walls, posters, presentations and point of sale displays to create brand awareness for their direct customers and also for the trade.
What does the future hold?
With the DYSS reducing labour requirement, eliminating bottlenecks and allowing Thames Graphics to take on more work, the next step is to target new markets. As Alex concludes: “We are now making customers aware of our enhanced capabilities in a drive to attract more diverse work and grow our business organically. We are also aiming to attract larger corporate clients and we will be taking on a salesperson to sell our capacity to this market. The KASEMAKE software with the DYSS machine will give our salesperson an excellent platform to pitch to the corporate audience.
The arrival of the KX7R large format flatbed printer and the DYSS X7 digital cutter has enabled us to increase our turnover by over 15% in the few months since we bought the machines. We are working towards trebling the size of our business over the next two years and anticipate most of this growth to result from our investment in the DYSS and the flatbed.”
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