Rollem strengthens its new printing division with a new kit and recruits

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Rollem Group, the UK manufacturer of finishing equipment for the playing card industry, is focusing on investing and recruiting for its new Top Deck printing division as business booms.

Based in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, Rollem is a leading manufacturer of finishing machines for the playing and playing card industry, such as Top Trumps, Pokemon, playing cards and football cards. Panini.

“During the lockdown, we started receiving phone calls from UK commercial printers who needed their cards to be completed and were unable or unwilling to travel to China or Europe,” said Rollem CEO. , Stuart Murphy. “So we started using our showroom fixtures to do the finishing for them.

“We started getting more and more finishing requests, and then the conversation shifted to print. So we went looking for quotes, but in such a specialized area, which is necessary, they were really expensive with long lead times, so we decided to set up our own printing division, ”said Murphy.

He first bought a Xerox Versant digital printer from Zerographic about three months ago and started processing the soaring print jobs. But he quickly realized two things: they needed more space and they needed a more powerful printer.

“Our first big customer, Elanders, who makes a lot of flashcards for kids learning to read, basically dropped 20 pallets of paper in the workshop and we thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we need one more. large space, “” he said.

Murphy initially occupied an additional 100m², but soon followed with another 550m² facility, five minutes from Rollem’s existing 2,230m² manufacturing facility, one dedicated to printing Top Deck and the other to its print finishing operations.

He spoke to Zerographic again and decided to take a Xerox Iridesse digital camera as the main printing press, about a month after the Versant, changing the latter for use as a backup device.

The Iridesse is a six-color inline sheet-fed dry toner device that prints at 120 ppm and offers in-line embellishments. It can handle weights of 52 to 400 g / m² and lengths up to 1200 mm with 1200 x 1200 x 10 bit tear and 2400 x 2400 x 1 bit imaging.

“Stuart quickly realized that although it was a great machine, the Versant was just too small for the workload. He looked at the Iridesse and was blown away, ”said Andy Rabone, Zerographic Sales Manager, Professional Printing.

“The Iridesse registration is really tight which is so important for this application and also for the special colors and materials it allows. What makes it unique are the inline colors, the ability to run color mixing, and the ability to use fluorescent ink to create spot colors. The device really gives it the resilience it needs, ”added Rabone.

“Our order books are jam-packed,” said Murphy. “It’s mostly work from the Far East that would normally have gone to China, but we have some big names in Britain we’re talking to.

“They are desperately trying to bring their prints back to the UK and we only process FSC paper, we don’t use plastic and travel is minimal, so that’s what they’re looking for in terms of environmental considerations,” he added.

Once printed, the cards are sent to the Finishing Division where Murphy has made a series of additional investments over the past six weeks, including a Matrix machine from Vivid Laifying Technologies, for gilding and laminating, a Heidelberg Foilmaster for die-cut boxes, gilding and embossing, an Ideal guillotine and a second Lotus flatbed laser cutter to produce prototype boxes.

Before the pandemic, Rollem had been making £ 2million a year for a while, Murphy explained, but with the addition of Top Deck’s printing and finishing operations, the group is expected to break through the £ 4million mark. pounds sterling this exercise.

“I don’t see that we’re going to develop the manufacturing business any further because I think it’s at its peak now, but Top Deck is going to do really well next year,” Murphy said.

The Top Deck business has hired five printing and finishing employees, with 12 more slated for 2022, Murphy said. Additionally, with full order books for Rollem until 2023, he planned to expand the equipment manufacturing team by at least six next year.

“We went into lockdown not knowing what we were going to do and it totally surprised us,” Murphy said. “Our order book is three times longer than before, we have created the printing business, the finishing business and we have recruited staff. It’s absolutely awesome.

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