04 June 2017 Print Companies

PCS installs HP Indigo for first move into digital card production

Macclesfield’s Plastic Card Services moves to digital to deliver the short runs that customers are seeking and open new opportunities.

Plastic Card Services has installed its first digital press, opting for an HP Indigo 5900 to expand its ability to cope with shorter print runs as customers control the numbers that they order.

“This is a step change for the company,” says managing director Rob Nicholls. “Print runs are getting shorter and shorter and we see that also in the inquiries we are getting. We analysed these and watching what the sector is doing and realised that the equipment we currently have isn't fully reflective of where the market is going.”

The investment has also included a Coltec collator and Buerkle laminator at the Macclesfield company. “This is recognised around the world for providing the very best quality in card finishing,” says Nicholls. “The finishing equipment has been chosen very carefully.”

The finishing line can be switched to production of conventionally printed cards in a few minutes, automation also reducing the manpower requirement. “It means we can double production of conventional cards and that’s what we need for the future to keep us responsive, rather than just standing still.” The investment will add up to more than £1 million once all the bills are settled.

The Indigo is specified as a seven-colour press and is specifically designed for card production in mind. It will run alongside a KBA Genius 52UV, also developed for printing on plastics. It also runs a Svecia screen press. This has given the business capacity to produce 80 million cards a year, all finished within the same 2,000m2 plant.

The cards cover applications in membership, loyalty and gift cards, hotel and other key cards, ID and security cards. It has more recently introduced a shielding system for contactless payment cards and e-passports to prevent unauthorised downloading of data they contain. At the end of last year this was rewarded with an order for 21,000 units from Denmark, a country where PCS has enjoyed strong success.

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PCS' choice

PCS' choice

PCS has chosen an Indigo 5900 to be the main plank of its investment into digital production of plastic cards. It is accompanied by investment in collator and lamination line that can also service litho card production.

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