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In this year of the London Olympics, businesses in the United Kingdom are taking the motto ‘faster, higher, stronger’ far beyond the sports stadium. At UK based Bridgeshire Packaging & Display, the motto also aptly describes the motivation for expanding the company’s digital printing capabilities. Seeking faster turnaround capabilities, higher margins and a stronger customer offering, the company was the first in the world to install an HP Scitex FB7600 Industrial Press.
Founded in 1993 as a corrugated sheet plant, Bridgeshire now offers a wide range of cardboard POS, free standing display units (FSDUs), pallet displays and off-shelf merchandisers to a large customer base. The company purchased its first digital printer five years ago as orders for short-run four colour work increased and it became too costly and time-consuming to depend only on screen printing.
Since then, Bridgeshire has increasingly focused its growth plans on the higher margin POS market, while still maintaining its traditional packaging offering. As its POS business expanded, Bridgeshire saw it needed to increase its digital printing capacity even further, so it installed the HP Scitex FB7600 Industrial Press in November 2011.
“This was an integral part of our decision to buy the HP Scitex FB7600 Industrial Press,” recalls Rob Booth, Managing Director at Bridgeshire. “We chose the press to increase our printing capacity and speed as customer buying habits are changing and we are expected to deliver orders much quicker now.”
Winning new business
Even before the new press was fully commissioned, Bridgeshire and its customers were already seeing benefits. Anticipating its soon-to-be-available enhanced digital printing capabilities, Bridgeshire took on a particularly large pre-Christmas FSDU order for Morrisons supermarket chain. A long-time customer of Bridgeshire, Morrisons needed two FSDUs for each of its 400 stores every week for eight weeks (a total of 6,400 FSDUs). Bridgeshire outsourced the first part of the job to a company with two HP Scitex FB7500 Industrial Presses. Then, once the HP Scitex FB7600 Industrial Press was commissioned, it moved the job over to the new press.
“The Morrisons job was the first that we did on the HP Scitex FB7600 Industrial Press and it definitely met our expectations,” says Andy Whittle, Production Design Director at Bridgeshire. “By working three shifts every day, we were able to deliver a high quality product under extremely tight deadlines.”
Now, less than six months later, Bridgeshire has moved almost all of its POS jobs, and some smaller runs (approximately 300 sheets or less) of its traditional flexo packaging, to the HP Scitex FB7600 Industrial Press. Recently, the company also created 250 FSDUs for Lego Company Ltd. with the new press – a job that would have traditionally been outsourced to a litho printer. “We can now do these kinds of jobs in-house with fast turnaround,” says Whittle.
Bridgeshire has also gained substrate flexibility with the new HP industrial press, which offers an advanced ink system and the ability to print on a wide variety of media up to 25 mm thick. “We print 90% of our POS on corrugated materials, and the new HP press handles these materials really well. In addition, the superior ink adherence has opened up a wide range of additional options for us in regards to shop signage and POS banners that we could not do before,” says Whittle.
“Without a doubt, the HP Scitex FB7600 Industrial Press has enabled us to strengthen our relationship with existing customers, and we are also gaining new customers through referrals due to the speed and turnaround we can now provide.”
Following up its recent press purchase, Bridgeshire has ordered a fully automatic Esko Kongsberg XP digital cutter. With the combined capabilities of the HP Scitex FB7600 Industrial Press and the Esko Kongsberg XP digital cutter, Bridgeshire can enter into new markets such as the semi-permanent display market.
Andy Whittle concludes: “Having full onsite capabilities gives us a lot of added value over our competitors. We can control all aspects of our offering and provide faster turnaround and in this way, we are able to commit to deadlines and stand by them.”