KEP Print Group’s origins are a traditional story of a storage startup resulting in far higher issues. 40 years in the past in Tamworth, a household workforce purchased a printing press and put in it of their residence storage.
Kenneth E Plowman (therefore KEP) was initially an indication author. His spouse Irene, son Mark and Mark’s spouse Anita determined they might capitalise on his expertise by buying a printing press so he wouldn’t want at hand write duplicates for a number of signal orders. To assist pay for the press Mark and Anita visited native companies, canvasing for small jobs. The work took off and KEP Visuals was in a position to transfer into extra spacious premises and proceed to develop.
Now named KEP Print Group, as we speak’s firm employs 115 folks and turns over greater than £14m. It handles a variety of economic in addition to point-of-sale printing. This 12 months it greater than doubled its out there ground space with the acquisition of a further two models on the Two Gates Buying and selling Property. That is just some metres from Watling Avenue, the traditional Roman Street that passes by way of Tamworth.
KEP continues to be owned by the Plowman household, with Mark as managing director and Anita as director and firm secretary. Nicole Plowman, daughter-in-law of Mark and Anita, is advertising and marketing and technique director. “Due to the big selection of our tools and repair choices, we’re in a position to accommodate quite a lot of clients,” she says. “We concentrate on retail campaigns, XL giant format print, and have litho, digital, and display presses in home. We even have graphic designers, a cardboard engineering division, collation home, and warehousing on-site.”
The top of final 12 months noticed a £115,000 funding in a Genesis-V digital reducing desk made by UK producer Blackman & White. This joined a variety of equipment together with a five-colour Manroland 900 XXL, a 10-colour perfecting Manroland 710, an HP Indigo 7900, an HP Scitex 11000 industrial flatbed and a Lamina Blackline 1620 laminator. Different ending capabilities embrace semi-automatic taping, reducing and die-cutting, gluing, guillotining, stitching, folding, drilling and collating. Esko Artios CAD software program is used for cardboard engineering and packaging design.
What’s a Genesis-V?
Blackman & White was the topic of certainly one of Printweek’s Better of British profiles of UK producers in Could. It’s a 55-year-old firm primarily based in Maldon, Essex, that has been making computer-driven cutters since 1974.
Most of its merchandise are heavy-duty CNC industrial cutters, however the Genesis-V was particularly developed with the graphics sector in thoughts. It’s out there in width choices of 1.6m, 2.2m and three.2m, with a alternative of 1.5m or 3m lengths. KEP has a 3.2m-wide mannequin.
All fashions use a conveyor belt for media transport however can function as mounted flatbeds. They will take supplies as much as 50mm thick, together with paper, card, foamboard, acrylics, aluminium composites, in addition to woven textiles and composites. There are twin drop-in instrument stations that take knife, crease, router and laser reducing instruments in addition to plotting pens.
The twin-gantry twin instrument stations permit reducing and creasing to be dealt with on the identical run. Digital camera registration is optionally available, however was essential to KEP’s alternative. The utmost reducing velocity is 1,200mm/second, with a most transfer velocity of 1,250mm/second (and as much as 1G head acceleration).
At Fespa in Could the Genesis vary was expanded with the Genesis-Z mannequin, that includes quicker 2m/second operation and new options together with a ‘digital fence’ dual-zone security system, which is able to robotically decelerate after which pause the machine if folks or different obstructions get too shut.
Why select it
KEP already had a 1.68×3.2m mattress Esko Kongsberg digital ending desk and a few platens used for full-scale reducing and creasing work.
“The Genesis is changing an older sampling desk,” says Nicole Plowman. “We nonetheless use the Kongsberg for manufacturing. For us, this choice was much less about what it might do this the Kongsberg couldn’t. It was essential to us that this was a decrease price machine, had print recognition not like our older sampling desk, and it was made within the UK with all elements manufactured within the UK, so repairs take a shorter period of time.”
The corporate did have a look at different tables, she says. “Clearly Kongsberg, since we have been acquainted with them. We have been launched to Blackman & White by way of a reference to their PR workforce who heard we have been on the lookout for a sampling desk. They have been seeking to break into the print market and a dialogue was struck from that.”
How is it performing?
“The set up was carried out by Blackman & White and it was very fast – solely a few days,” says Plowman. “Ours is an ex-demo mannequin, as they needed to improve the one that they had on web site.
How did the operators discover it? Tony Kilgallen, design and improvement supervisor , explains that “as a result of they have been used to the Kongsberg, there was a little bit of retraining”.
Kilgallen was instrumental within the choice and buy of this piece of kit and is the first consumer of the desk. “It operates very equally to the Kongsberg,” he finds. “It might be very straightforward emigrate from one to the opposite with a small quantity of coaching.”
The Genesis suits in properly, he says. “We discover the software program to be very intuitive. We now have discovered it very straightforward to make use of. Device changeovers are faster than the Kongsberg. The software program may be very intuitive, it feels very apparent to arrange and work. Setup occasions are akin to the Kongsberg.
“In our expertise, it’s a bit slower than the Kongsberg, however we didn’t purchase it for that purpose. It’s a greater machine than what we anticipated – with the digicam software program and print recognition software program, it’s turn into a way more versatile machine than we have been anticipating. Fairly than only a sampling desk, we might, in reality, use it for manufacturing runs.”
Nonetheless, being the primary purchaser for a print utility, KEP discovered that the Genesis-V wanted some tweaking. “As a result of the machine hasn’t been developed initially for the print business, we’ve labored along with B&W to provide suggestions for setups and instruments,” Kilgallen says. “Their response has been excellent and they’re eager to get our suggestions. Once we’ve had points, we’ve had very fast response. If any issues, we’ve had an engineer on web site inside 24 hours each time with out fail, which is essential to maintain the machine working.”
Total, adopting the Genesis-V has been successful, Plowman says. “We’re very pleased with the completed high quality of the product that comes from this machine. Having a second machine has been instrumental for our success. By protecting our Kongsberg out there for longer runs, we now have elevated its capability. And this reducing desk is now available for the samples we produce for our purchasers.”
Good and dangerous factors?
“Ease of use is the perfect half,” says Kilgallen. “I believe in print, we all the time need a machine to be quicker! But it surely does every part we anticipated it to do and extra. For different patrons, it’s essential to know that this can be a standalone reducing system and ours shouldn’t be built-in with the usual design and reducing software program suites.”
So, would they select the Genesis-V once more, given a 12 months’s expertise? “Sure, completely,” says Plowman. “This machine additionally actually opens up the chance for smaller companies who’re unable to afford a dearer machine to buy a reducing desk and enter a brand new market.”
KEP Print Group is a 40-year-old family-run firm on the outskirts of Tamworth within the Midlands, providing basic business print in addition to large-format signage and POS show companies. It employs 115 folks and turns over greater than £14m. Manufacturing tools is a mixture of litho, large- and small-format digital and display course of with a variety of ending equipment. Massive-format reducing is primarily dealt with by a Kongsberg digital desk. The latest Blackman & White Genesis-V desk is basically employed as a pattern cutter.
Why it was purchased…
KEP needed to replace its sampling capabilities and was approached by Blackman & White whereas assessing its choices. The Genesis-V is a CNC desk geared toward graphics purposes, with twin instrument functionality for reducing, creasing and different features. The vacuum zoned desk has a belt transport system. A digicam registration head is optionally available and utilized by KEP.
The way it has carried out…
“Due to this machine, we’re in a position to create manufacturing samples nearer to preliminary idea from the start,” says Nicole Plowman. “The previous reducing desk didn’t have print recognition, so now we’re in a position to make an impression with samples which are very near precise manufacturing spec. Including this machine has made our manufacturing run smoother as a result of we will unencumber our Kongsberg for manufacturing runs, creating real looking samples faster than earlier than. This has positively made our lives simpler and we now have gained gross sales on the again of it.”