DCB Group/Aspen Corporate heralds its Kongsberg X24 Edge from CMYUK

Alex Rennie and Kevin Hart from Aspen Corporate with a Kongsberg X24 Edge from CMYUK
Alex Rennie, Operator (left), Kevin Hart, Production Director, DCB Group, Aspen Corporate

This digital cutting table has been a life-line throughout Lockdown, and promises to help the company expand its offerings as we all emerge from restrictions

Buying the Kongsberg X24 Edge from CMYUK last summer enabled DCB Group/Aspen Corporate to successfully navigate its way through Lockdown. It also provided this Manchester-based print company with the ability to attract new customers, and provide additional services, thanks to the capabilities and sheer versatility of this digital cutting table.   

“The Kongsberg X24 Edge opened up a whole new world of work that we couldn't do before. It enabled us to go for jobs that in the past we would have lost out on,” says Kevin Hart, Production Director, DCB Group/Aspen Corporate.  

The purchase came about because of a need for automated finishing to cope with COVID related work coming in, which included safety posters and floor graphics. 

“There were only two of us working because of the flexible furlough, but we were finding because we didn’t have the right machinery, we needed more people to do the jobs. Doing a cost analysis, it was quite clear that the finishing was causing us an issue,” says Kevin. 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) 

The company took advantage of the CBILS government scheme to buy the Kongsberg digital cutter. This scheme which finishes on March 31st this year, offered all Covid-affected businesses that have a £45m turnover or less, with a government backed loan that required no personal guarantees for loans up to £250,000, plus no interest payments for the first year. 

“The CBILS deal made it very easy for companies to borrow money and invest. Although there have been quite a lot of printers that have gone to the wall, there’s been a number that have invested in technology, which they may not have done before,” says Kevin.

DCB Group/Aspen Corporate is looking to upgrade all its printing equipment in the next few weeks, and will be taking advantage of either CBILS or the Replacement Loan Scheme (RLS), the latest new government backed finance business package that comes into operation on April 6th. 

“The worst thing you can ever do in any crisis or any lockdown is not invest and stand still, because you've got to get back out there,” says Kevin. 

Job wins and new clients

With the installation of the Kongsberg X24 Edge, productivity hit new heights. What had previously taken a week to complete was instead, being finished in two days. Furthermore, DCB Group/Aspen has been able to pitch and win more work because of its new in- capabilities.

“We’ve never been able to control the price of doing the finishing, and if you can't control the price of a full product, you're never going to win a job,” says Kevin.  

Traditionally DCB Group/Aspen Corporate services the hospitality, entertainment and leisure sectors along with clients that include JCD, high stalwart Timpsons,  specialist photo printing service chain Max Spielmann, Manchester United FC, and Manchester City FC amongst others. 

With these sectors hard hit by the pandemic, DCB Group/Aspen has needed to widen its reach. The installation of the Kongsberg cutter has led to new local authority work, as well as the opportunity to tender for a large hotel group. 

New services and a focus on online 

The installation of the Kongsberg X24 Edge allowed DCB Group/Aspen to offer new products immediately such as shaped foam boards, acrylic panels and personal Covid screens. However, recognising the amount of money being spent on-line, the company began to build a new website, which is focusing on the personalised consumer market. 

The X24 Edge has allowed the company to exploit the many online trends such as producing personalised FIFA boards, and customised Spotify plaques with scannable codes, the latter of which has become a huge gifting product after trending on Tik Tok.  

In addition, the company is also offering a range of sublimation products including T shirts, mugs, coasters and phone cases. 

“It's just offering all extra little bits. What I want is customers to say 'can you do this', and we say ‘yes’, because once you look elsewhere, it's not the only thing they look at.  That does happen, but obviously not with your main customers, because we like to create relationships,” says Kevin. 

CMYUK and Esko functionality

Before committing to the Kongsberg, Kevin had looked at several digital cutting brands. In the end however, he spoke to old contact Sue Hayward, Sales Director at CMYUK. 

“I sat down and had a real look at the Kongsberg and asked myself will it service the work we've got?  Will it create the added value allowing us to do, what we don't do now? It ticked all the boxes, and it was £40k cheaper than the main competitor,” he says. 

Sue arranged for Kevin and his production team to visit the CMYUK Training and Demonstration Centre at Shrewsbury, where the X24 Edge was put through its paces. 

“No one else had seen it other than myself,” says Kevin. “The lads got to see how it would work with the day-to-day print that we normally do, and how the finishing was going to look compared to what we'd been doing. They loved it, so I decided to go for it,” he says. 

The Kongsberg X24 Edge is a highly versatile piece of equipment, designed to grow with customers’ businesses. Tools can be added as and when to handle new materials and applications. DCB Group/Aspen’s X24 Edge was purchased with a , kiss cut and crease tools, and a 1Kw router.  However, what really impressed Kevin was the integrated i-Cut software, which facilitates faster and smarter working, eliminates material wastage, manages short runs intelligently, and optimises equipment output. 

Says Kevin: “That's the thing for me, with something like a cutting table, if the software doesn't make it more automated or doesn't give you the element of ease, then it doesn't matter what you've got, because it's just not going to work.” 

JWEI Cutting Tables  |  Materials  |  News