Time to pause for thought

Time to pause for thought

It’s one year since we first experienced lockdown, as the world reeled under the impact of Covid-19. With restrictions still largely in place and hitting many businesses incredibly hard, Aaron Klewchuk takes time to look back on a rollercoaster of a year, and how having the right equipment – plus a determined outlook – has put Ballyprint ahead of the game.

While many other companies have endured an enforced period of shutdown, Ballyprint has remained active – and in addition to providing our usual high quality print services, we’ve also taken the opportunity during some of the quieter times to upgrade our premises. Aaron explains, “We’ve refloored our whole production area – which was a bigger job than I could ever have imagined – to create a cleaner environment. We’ve also added an extra 1000 square feet of production space to house our latest investment, a 2.6m x 1.6m digital cutting table (pictured above), which joins our other equipment such as the 2 Roland TrueVis VG printers we recently added and a 3rd Heidleberg platen to allow us to increase our foiling capabilities.”

Featured recently on the cover of Irish Printer Magazine, Aaron spoke at length about the lessons he’s learned that have allowed him to adapt his business approach during these tricky times. While others have downsized, or unfortunately gone into enforced closure, Ballyprint continues to make significant investments, taking on the customer base of Belfast-based Fresh Graphics, as well as employing four new staff members. The company also gave something back when they gifted 3 and a half tonnes of surplus paper stock to local schools and charities.

There’s no sign of Aaron slowing down any time soon – “We’ve implemented a workflow system utilising Enfocus Switch with impressive results, and this will be integrated into our next significant investment – a new Management Information and Workflow System created by printIQ. We’ll be the first company in Ireland to partner with printIQ, which is really exciting, and will give us a massively streamlined and efficient automated end to end workflow.”

“And that’s certainly not the end of it! We have another two major pieces of kit arriving shortly which will see the launch of an exciting new business strand this summer. Watch this space… Ballyprint is only getting started!”

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We never stand still! We’re always looking for ways to stay ahead of the game by installing cutting edge equipment and technology to offer exciting new services and products to our customers. As part of that quest, we’ve spent years exhaustively investigating, researching and road-testing Management Information Systems from about 50 companies all around the world to find our perfect fit – and we’re happy to announce that we have a clear winner.

We love to be innovators, so we’re very excited that Ballyprint will be the first company in NI & ROI to utilise the amazing system created by printIQ, a global provider of management workflow software (far more than just an MIS) who have been reaching new markets in Europe over the last year or so. The solution offered by printIQ promises to be everything we need for our future in print – but if you’re not familiar with Management Information Systems you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. Most companies have some sort of MIS in place, for managing their workflow, invoicing customers, controlling stock and so on. We use our existing system to generate quotes for our customers and convert those into active jobs, inputting all the relevant information required to design, print and finish each job. However, printIQ differs greatly from other systems on the market. The others offer management information only. With printIQ we get a Management Workflow System (MWS), far more than just an MIS. This isn’t just semantics; they know that companies need a solution that covers their entire business, not just a part of it. That’s why printIQ goes far beyond the standard MIS functionality.

With printIQ as our MWS we will be able to do so much more, both for us and for you! With a brand-new Customer Portal, customers will be able to create their own quotes and orders, upload print ready artwork, track the production of their job, and pay – all online. Built in integration to our existing Enfocus Switch system means that artwork uploaded by customers will be checked to ensure that it’s ready for print, with any problems flagged immediately. Everyone at Ballyprint will also be using the system in the same way to produce quotes and create print jobs, but with many more facilities in place to make all of our systems more efficient and seamless. End to end automated production means less time wasted checking the specifics of each job, as all the relevant information will be logged in the system when the job is created, from print quantity and paper stock to finishing, packing and shipping requirements. With printIQ we can automatically handle outsourcing, inventory and purchasing – keeping track of our stock levels and reordering when we run low!

It’s yet another ground-breaking investment for Ballyprint – continuing to look to the future to make our business run more efficiently and effectively and to ensure that we offer the very best service to our valued customers.

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As part of the ongoing commitment to investment, Ballyprint is delighted to announce another groundbreaking addition to our growing roster of state-of-the-art equipment.

Newly arrived to our Ballymena premises is a brand new JWEI Flatbed Digital Cutter, now installed (our thanks to Alan Keane from askcnc.ie for his technical expertise!) and ready to streamline the existing finishing process, as well as creating a whole new world of production possibilities for both existing and new clients.

The arrival of an HP Scitex flat bed printer in 2019 meant a huge increase in the speed with which we could output large format jobs, with the printer laying colour directly onto foamboard, corriboard, and other substrates. By adding the new digital cutting table to our facility, we can now take production to the next dimension – and beyond.

Aaron Klewchuck, owner and managing director of Ballyprint said; “Not only can we trim boards to size in a fraction of the time it takes to cut them by hand, but this new cutting table can cut a huge variety of materials to ANY shape quickly and precisely! This switches our production up to a whole new level, allowing us to accurately and quickly route shapes out of foamboard, corriboard, aluminium composite, cardboard – practically anything! We’re very excited to find out just what we can do with this new kit!”

Taking pride of place in a newly upgraded section of our premises, the digital cutter certainly looks impressive, and as it swings into action it’s reminiscent of something from a sci-fi movie! A compressor kicks in to create suction and ensure the board being cut doesn’t move, while the cutting head moves back and forth at remarkable speed, guided by laser and connected to a dedicated computer where the artwork file is set up.

And Aaron is keen to stress that cutting and routing is not the limit for this new equipment – “We don’t want our customers to think that this is just a one trick pony! Cutting, routing, kiss cutting, creasing and even plotting are all available to us, opening up a vast range of new production options for our customers.”

“We have often printed a company logo on foam board and cut it to shape to make a decorative feature for offices, or cut a logo to shape on adhesive vinyl, and the new cutting table will make that an easier process for us. But it’s the new possibilities that we’re all excited about, such as packaging, where we can apply our customer’s logos and branding to bespoke cardboard boxes. Usually branded packaging requires the customer to order in bulk at great expense, but we can offer you a made to order product in small batches with pricing to match!”

“I’m very proud of Ballyprint’s track record of innovation – when we became the first printing company in Northern Ireland to acquire Xerox’s Iridesse 6 colour digital press, we invested time and imagination into investigating the limits of the new technology so that we could really push the equipment to new limits. With our JWEI Flatbed Digital Cutter we will definitely continue that innovative approach to find new processes and new products that we can offer to our customers. As ever, Ballyprint aims to be THE one stop shop for printing in Northern Ireland!”

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As part of that initiative, we have installed a fantastic automation system – Enfocus Switch – which will take care of some of the fiddly and repetitive tasks that slow down our workflow. The really great thing is that we can add more processes ourselves, and edit them so that they are tailored specifically to our needs. As an example, we can now drop supplied artwork into Switch, which checks the files to ensure they are print ready, and can fix common issues by flattening the artwork, adding bleed, and much more.

We’ve already noticed a huge increase in productivity through not having to manually adjust files, and as the Switch system grows and evolves with our needs, we’re sure to see continued improvements in efficiency! The chart below illustrates a typical Switch workflow, but the Ballyprint version has already been extensively modified to work specifically for us.

Check out the testimonials here to see how this powerful system has been making massive differences for printing companies globally.

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Ballyprint gives something back!

Ballyprint gives something back!

We do what we can – all of us – every day, to try and help each other and our communities through these really tough times. Here at Ballyprint we found ourselves with a huge stockpile of paper that was surplus to our requirements, so we came up with a way we could make use of it to help others. We offered 8 pallets of paper to local schools and community projects, and yesterday we were out getting them delivered! It was terrific to see so many happy, grateful faces!! We are sure that during this unprecedented pandemic, when schoolchildren – and particularly the kids of key workers – are finding it difficult to keep up with homework and projects, they will find a great use for this paper to help out with arts and crafts projects – or just to let off steam with some scribbling! Our thanks to everyone who took part in our recent giveaway – and happy crafting!!

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Aaron on the cover of Irish Printer

Aaron on the cover of Irish Printer

Aaron is the cover model for this months Irish Printer Magazine! Ballyprint is thrilled that our hard work and commitment has been highlighted by our MD, Aaron Klewchuk, in the latest edition of Irish Printer magazine. In his interview, Aaron discusses the massive impact that Xerox’s new Iridesse 6 colour digital press has had on our business, allowing us to push beyond the boundaries of commercial printing with the addition of dazzling metallic and white finishes. In addition, Aaron talks about the huge demand for large format printing during the ongoing pandemic, and how Ballyprint has stepped up to provide signage for companies far and wide to allow them to continue trading while complying with ever changing legislation. There’s no doubt that 2020 has been – and continues to be – hugely challenging for everyone, but here at Ballyprint we continue to face the challenge head on! Contact us today to find out how we can help you do the same!!

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