FD Signs invests in Kongsberg X24 Edge from CMYUK

July 22, 2021
New in-house capability attracts new opportunities from the word go New in-house capability attracts new opportunities from the word go

FD Signs has installed a Kongsberg X24 Edge digital cutting table from CMYUK. In its first fortnight of operation, the Kongsberg has been responsible for over £20k worth of business for this West London sign maker.

Currently, the company is producing and installing hundreds of Perspex sneeze screens and desk dividers for a national telecommunications client in preparation for the return of staff to its offices in Scotland, Cornwall, Birmingham and Ipswich.

The response to our social media around this job has been immense, and as a result we’re getting phone calls every day about our Perspex work from both our existing and new customers. We’re definitely going to see an upturn in sales."

Fintan Delaney, MD

Already the company is seeing the savings that so many other Kongsberg customers can bear witness to. For example, regular work for a long-standing customer that involved the printing and cutting of 500 banners used to take a day and a half. With the Kongsberg that job now takes just 20 minutes

I ask myself, why didn’t I buy one before?” says Fintan. “The savings are huge, but it’s not only that – it’s the quality of work that we’re sending out. Every single one of those banners is the same size. If you’re cutting by hand – it doesn’t matter how good or skilled you are – by the time you get to 50 or 60 you’re going to get distracted. Now when you’re bundling them up, you can tell that each one is perfect. They are far easier to package and better to present.”

Lockdown driven

Landing a huge contract in the early stages of the first Lockdown to supply large volumes of interior and exterior floor graphics for London Underground stations led to the purchase of the Kongsberg X24 Edge.

It was just enormous, crazy and we really struggled to produce the numbers which was something like 7,000 per day and we did these using three vinyl roll cutters,” says Fintan. “We ran about trying to see if any other sign companies could help relieve the burden but so many of them decided to stay closed.”

FD Signs produced about 750,000 floor graphics that also included work for Tramlink, HS2 and Transport for London. “Word got around that we were doing these. We were working 24/7 and everyone was really piling the pressure on. It was at this point that we thought there must be an easy way of doing this if this happens again, and we realised it was time to take a step up,” he says.

The CMYUK human factor

Fintan had looked at Zund and Kongsberg technology but it was the human factor in the person of CMYUK Senior Digital Sales Consultant, Tim Boore that was the deal maker. Fintan had met Tim several months earlier, and had instantly gained a rapport with him, so when it came to buying a digital cutter, he instantly thought of him.

“I really liked Tim. He was very knowledgeable, trustworthy and memorable. I was also made really welcome at the CMYUK demonstration facility too. I was impressed with the company and what I saw,” he says.

The beauty of the Kongsberg X24 Edge is that it adapts to the needs of your business, featuring the ability to add new tools as and when required. FD Signs purchased the router, utility and kiss-cut knives and is running i-Cut software for optimised workflow efficiency. Since installation, the company has been flat out and not yet had the opportunity to really experiment with the equipment to fully explore its full functionality.

“We haven't had much of a chance to play about with the i-Cut software. The work we’ve been doing on it is fairly basic stuff – cutting out lots of squares – but as time goes on, we’ll become more experienced, ambitious and braver, and will be outputting far more complex things as well,” says Fintan.

Next steps

If the last 14 days are anything to go by, the arrival of the Kongsberg is going to dramatically impact FD Signs. Its speed has uncovered greater capacity in the business to take on new work, while the versatility of this digital cutter enables the company to expand into new application areas. With such a powerful workhorse on its premises, the company no longer needs to outsource any work, ensuring the tightest turnaround times and total production control.

Says Fintan: “The quality of what we can now produce will generate more work for us – it already has. We can create new revenue streams with new products, and by doing so have built-in real business resilience. If we ever get into a situation like we did at the start of the first Lockdown, we would be able to deal with this no problem and without having to work 24/7. We can also upgrade what we’ve been doing for existing customers by showing them fresh alternative versions that just look so much better.”

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