Engraving firm invests in latest technology to grow UK operation

Standex Engraving Group Manchester (SEM UK) has invested around £200,000 in digital transfer technology (DTT) and a specialist Innovation Technology Centre to allow its UK operation to better compete in European markets.

The new plant technology from Germany has been installed in the company’s South Manchester manufacturing site.

It is a major step for the company and will allow clients requiring textured rollers in various markets, greater flexibility, accuracy and consistency of etching and a much quicker turnaround process. DTT is also a far cleaner process and much more energy efficient.

SEM UK currently serves 18 different industry sectors including all major tissue companies in UK and Europe, many leading branded flooring and vinyl firms, household and automotive businesses.

Its services can be applied to any industry where there are products needing a textured finish. By using wax instead of ink DTT marries traditional skills with new ones and allows engravers to use bespoke software and digitised designs to print onto rollers directly and onto moulds via a carrier. It also allows engravers to use the firm’s extensive artwork library on much larger rollers than before, up to 1000mm diameter and six metres long.

The firm already has extensive capacity working with rollers weighing up to 20 tonnes and measuring up to nine metres.

“DTT is an integral part of the future for our industry as it is so clean, quick and efficient,” explains general manager Jim Fletcher. “Almost all of our existing clients can benefit immediately and we hope to convert 30-40% of our order book to the technology by the end of 2014.

“It gives us access to a large Europe-wide market for the first time. We will be offering the technology to the wider international group which operates in 30 countries worldwide. It will be marketed in all geographical locations.” DTT makes SEM of particular interest for R & D departments in large branded businesses who will now be able to test run a new texture for an interior of a vehicle on tissue paper or flooring in hours not days.

“The firm has always been forward-looking.  Now we can offer our services in a cleaner, more efficient way, fit for an environmentally conscious 21st century customer. But we are still using the know-how of expert technical engravers here with well over 150 years combined experience.

“When we get close to the target turnover for this technology we will need to look at an around the clock service so more jobs and apprenticeships are a definite possibility in the UK.” The technology will be housed in a new Innovation Technology Centre at SEM UK to provide customers with a creative textured design solution. It will be headed by Matthew Wadsworth and Mike Miller, both with 20 years’ experience in technical sales and project management, predominantly in the automotive sector, working with worldwide original equipment manufacturers on programmes across multiple sites. They will have the support from the Roll-Tech Division of Mike Henshall (RT division manager) and Steve Baguley  (RT operations manager)