Peterborough based commercial printer GP Print have invested in a full suite of finishing equipment over the course of 2021. Starting with the PFi Blade B3+ digital cutting table, DBM-350 Digital Booklet System with DSS-350 square spine module, DC-646 automatic slitter, cutter, creaser and a DB-290 single clamp binder all tied in with the Ultimate Impostrip software. Many of their products are on display as soon as you walk into their building – you’re faced with a veritable “Aladdin’s Cave” of print and merchandise!
The move comes as various strategies pushed the company to both increase capacity and automate many of the processes that needed skilled operators to do – now with only 4 staff all producing commercial and promotional print, short run packaging, printed garments and much, much more. It is surprising to see so much equipment manned only by a few professionals running some excellent automation throughout the business.
Peter Martyr, one of the Directors of GP Print said “The Ultimate Impostrip software was purchased initially to create the cutting files for the PFi Blade B3+, as it takes a time intensive and high-pressure task into a more relaxed and streamlined process. But now 90% of our entire workflow goes though the Ultimate Impostrip software – it’s just drag and drop for most files. It has tied in our presses, booklet maker, digital cutting tables and the multi finishers. It was easy to see the benefit of doing this and has made our productivity reach new levels.”
Peter expands upon working with Duplo and the machines he’s purchased. ”GP Print’s first purchase from Duplo was back in 2009 for a Konsberg i-XE cutting table. Once comfortable with Duplo and their service engineers, it was followed quickly by our first multi finisher, the DC-645. We found an incredible amount of value in shape cutting. It’s helped get us into packaging which really helped throughout the pandemic. Some of our biggest customers simply stopped promotional print so we made the shift into the short run packaging and stickers for our existing customers which lead to a host of new customers. We found ourselves supporting small local businesses through design or supporting products. With that shift in mind, we went for the PFi Blade B3+ cutting table. The automation was key – building bespoke short run boxes is incredibly time consuming, so the software was a major factor in the decision. Its an incredible investment for the price, and it made print exciting again. Its breaks from the normal everyday print jobs that our customers know, the creativity that it allows makes a real difference across the board.”
GP Print started in 1999 with just a 2-colour GTO. Peter joined in 2004 leading the business to new strengths with that moved into bigger premises and purchased a second GTO with four colours in 2005, progressing into their current premises in 2007 and upgraded GP Print’s lithographic presence with a Presstek Di for the increase in automation it had to offer. They’ve also added digital to litho, so make readies only took 15 minutes instead of the 2 hours on the older presses.
Peter continues, “We purchase machines that are built to last. We look for high quality and reliability in both our machines and our suppliers. We’ve had the DC-645 for quite a while now but it’s still so reliable and we put so much through it that I really didn’t want to run it into the ground. So, we purchased the newer DC-646 to take over, while the older machine now runs as back up. We’ve seen how Duplo have upgraded the DC-646 from the older generation through touches that go a long way in real world applications. The pile is higher, it’s faster, the registration and bar-code reading are superb and the automation – load it and leave it – Duplo calls it, is such a labour saver. We are able to get more out of the machines then perhaps Duplo intended but it’s refreshing!”
“Let’s face it, digital print is a lot cheaper, and the quality has improved so much that it makes the decision to move to digital much easier. We run the Presstek approx. once a week, but our Xerox Versant 4100 is running constantly, with another Versant 80 running as back-up. This set up means that we are getting the most out of our DBM-350 Digital booklet system. Since the print is already collated the DBM-350 takes everything we throw at it. We especially loved moving from staples to wire stitching, but the icing on the cake is the DSS-350 square spine. It gives our booklets an incredibly polished and professional look. The DBM-350 came at the most opportune time because it allowed us to take a major contract when we would have had to look at outsourcing. We’ve had a lot of equipment and any printer will tell you that each machine has its limitations, has it’s little quirks, this isn’t the case for the DBM-350, it’s consistent, easy to use, fast – it’s a lovely bit of kit.”
The top floor mezzanine level is dedicated to GP Prints direct to garments manufacturing. Started in 2015 with their promotional and work wear printing, they have an Epson large format printer, along with direct to garments printers and embroidery machines. Peter said, “Internet orders made us diversify our products and we’re currently improving our online shop to make it easier for customers to be able to customise more of the products we offer.”
Rob Thurston, Head of Sales at Duplo UK explains how it started. “I initially started speaking to Peter about automation and how the Impostrip software could help him with his capacity issues, this quickly developed into him discovering everything that we had to offer and jumping straight into it. It didn’t take long before he had a strategy in place for all the machines he needed. Seeing the difference Duplo automation has made at GP Print is astounding – and proves that the full eco system is commercially viable.”
Peter finishes with, “Our customer base is both B2B and B2C, we cater to everyone with everything possible. Our primary marketing is through referrals, and we must be doing something right because customers keep coming back and generate many new ones. We do put a lot of emphasis on customer service, and the need for a great experience when dealing with us is key. We end up looking over every aspect of a customer’s marketing project. With this in mind, the future of GP Print will rely heavily on this experience. I’ll be building a meet and greet lounge where I can discuss projects with customers – to get to the bottom of what they want to achieve and what their objectives are – gone are the days of simply printing leaflets or brochures for clients when we can fulfil a strategy that the customers can understand.”