Simon Talbot, Director, and Charlotte Smallman, Operations Director, Kazoo Print
Kazoo Print has invested in a Kongsberg X24 Edge digital cutting table from CMYUK to boost efficiency at its production facility in Staffordshire. Set up 17 years ago by owner MD Simon Talbot, this business caters for major high street brands, servicing trade and direct clients in a 70/30 split respectively, offering both small and large format digital print solutions.
The Kongsberg X24 Edge joins a plant list that includes an EFI VUTEk GS 3200 and EFI VUTEk QS2 Pro, also purchased from CMYUK, plus a Zund digital cutter amongst others.
“Everybody I speak to in the trade always mentions Kongsberg, lots of people say that it’s the one to go for. I had purchased my VUTEk printers through CMYUK, so I went directly to Jason McNulty [Senior Digital Sales Consultant]. There were some good deals on the Kongsberg and it was cheaper than the Zund for the same kind of package. It just seemed to fit because it offers me something a little bit different to the Zund,” says Simon.
The X24 Edge was purchased to relieve post printing bottlenecks. The increased volume of work was the consequence of the company’s Lockdown activity where a great deal of legwork was done to bring new clients onboard.
“I took the gamble of installing the EFI VUTEk GS 3200 in March last year, ready for that influx of work that I was expecting. In the middle of 2021, it all kicked off as I thought it would and we were super busy. The second six months of last year we matched our pre-COVID turnover, and this year we’ve exceeded our pre COVID figures by a long way. Our latest VUTEk printer is 10 x faster than the one we swopped out, while our first VUTEk was 6 x times quicker than its replacement. We’ve had lots of print going through and the Zund just couldn’t keep up with it all,” says Simon.
Cutting edge cutter
The Kongsberg X24 Edge can handle any type of application for signage, display, and packaging with high production speeds, exceptional cutting quality, and is fully upgradable. Kazoo Print opted for the model with the MultiCUT tool head offering milling productivity, a camera for accurate registration, plus QR code support enabling automated workflow for enhanced efficient throughput.
The QR code functionality is unique to the Kongsberg cutting tables. Its onboard camera scans a QR code that has been printed onto the artwork. This automatically opens up the correct cut file and assigns the correct material profile too. QR codes are printed in four corners of the artwork, so if a design has been placed the wrong way on the table, the camera will read one of the other codes that contains the same data, and rotates it to the correct orientation.
Kongsberg QR code automation has allowed staff to progress to new roles within the business. Two new staff members – pickers and packers – with no machinery experience who wanted to work with the new cutter were included in CMYUK’s Kongsberg training.
“They jumped onto it easily. The QR code automation allows them to cut all day long. It’s really quite hard to make a mistake,” says Simon.
During Lockdown the company revived an old website mainly for COVID-related products. However, while new items have been added, Kazoo is not an online printer, its website functions as a general introduction designed to attract the attention of new customers.
“What we’re trying to do is reach out to new clients – so if anyone’s searched on Google or wants to find us, they see a general overview of what we do. A lot of our work is very bespoke and high end so it’s quite hard to show that on a website. We just try and put general things on the site that we can sell nationally. When we get new customers on board, we can then show them the behind-the-scenes story where they can really understand our capabilities and what we can offer,” says Simon.
Kazoo Print has been carbon offsetting for over three years now, and through its supply chain is linked to the Woodland Trust, which gives it the opportunity to replant approximately 100 sq.m of new trees every quarter commensurate with its CO2 consumption. It has been working hard with its suppliers too, to ensure that it can provide green equivalents for all the traditional materials it offers.
The company is facing a positive defining moment, underpinned by significant growth that will determine the next chapter of its history. By the end of this year, more will be revealed, but until then, the updated line up of world class production equipment will help drive continued growth and ambitious vision.
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