All that glitters is gold

Digital technology has had such a big impact on the industry to the point where companies that had used litho presses for a number of years are now switching over to new kit. Although some remain loyal to litho, others are taking on digital machinery in order to take advantage of new opportunities made possible by this kit.

One side of the Molineux Subway is dedicated to the football club, while the other highlights the city’s university.
One such company is Crescent Press, a commercial printing business located in Solihull in the West Midlands. The firm supplies printed work to a wide variety of customers throughout the UK, including high profile clients such as Premier League football club Wolverhampton Wanderers.

It was a recent project with Wolves that threw Crescent Press into the spotlight of the media. The firm was asked by the club to refurbish the Molineux Subway—one of the main walkways towards the team’s Molineux Stadium—as part of a wider initiative between the football club, Wolverhampton City Council and Wolverhampton University.

Andy Matthews, managing director of Crescent Press, comments: “The subway was refurbished by panelling the interior walls and applying the graphics on site. The one side is a fantastic time line of the history of Wolves and the other side is an insight to life at Wolverhampton University.

Tens of thousands of fans pass through Molineux Subway each matchday in Wolverhampton

“Both entrances were also refurbished and the illuminated signage at each end reflects all the parties involved.” Tens of thousands of fans will pass through the subway this season on their way to Molineux, which is hosting Premier League football for the first time since 2012.

Let’s get digital

The subway project marked the latest highlight in what has been a successful 2018 for Crescent Press. Earlier in the year, the firm took the brave decision to replace its Heidelberg litho press with a new HP 12000 Indigo digital press.

Matthews said the press fits in with the company’s varied service offering, which includes full point of sale, exhibition graphics such as single banners and fully branded exhibition stands, posters, corporate brochures, leaflets, folders, small-format digital including business stationery, as well as variable data files and personalised print jobs.

In addition to taking on the HP machine, Crescent Press opted to install a range of new finishing equipment o further boost its production offering.

Matthews explains: “We have always offered stitched brochures but with our PUR binding machine we now offer larger brochures and books including landscape format.

“With today’s environment leaning more towards print on demand, we have received many new opportunities that would not have been possible with our litho presses”

“The transition from litho to digital has been a big learning curve but with today’s environment leaning more towards print on demand, we have received many new opportunities that would not have been possible with our litho presses.

“Using the latest large-format digital printing machines we’re able to print onto a wide variety of different substrates for retail, education and leisure uses.”

Using the latest large format digital printing machines we’re able to print onto a wide variety of different substrates for retail, education and leisure uses”

Golden effort

Crescent Press’s sporting pedigree stretches further than nearby football club Wolves, with the company having been involved in one of the UK’s most famous print jobs in recent years.

During the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Royal Mail selected six UK printing companies with the honourable task of producing a commemorative stamp to celebrate each gold medal won by Team GB. Crescent Press was one of the lucky firms to be invited to work on this project.

The 2012 Games proved to be a huge success, with Team GB taking home a host of gold medals, which in turn meant a busy few weeks for the Crescent Press team.

Matthews explains: “We had to be ready to begin production within one hour of every British win. A photographic image from the event was selected, artwork was created and sent to all six print firms, which then had to send a proof back and confirm that presses were manned and ready, before production started.

“Finished sheets were then packaged for individual post offices and collected in the early hours of the following day to enable stamps to be purchased the very next day. All waste had to be deposited in locked containers, provided by Royal Mail, to deter robberies from rogue philatelists.”

Crescent Press’s central location meant that the firm was handed the role of the default production facility, should any problems arise at the over five print sites. Matthews explains that this happened once on ‘Super Saturday’, where Team GB scooped no less than six gold medals.

Jessica Ennis secured gold in the women’s heptathlon, while Mo Farah claimed victory in the 10,000, final and Greg Rutherford in the long jump. There were also gold medals for the men’s coxless four and women’s lightweight double sculls in the rowing, as well as the women team pursuit in the cycling.

Matthews recalls: “A monumental effort by all the team at Crescent ensured that over £25m worth of stamps were printed, trimmed, bagged and collected by 5am on the Sunday morning.”

Exciting enhancements

Having enjoyed a successful 2018 so far, and the new HP press working hard on a range of jobs, Matthews sees a positive future for Crescent Press, with more digital kit to be installed soon.

“We are very excited about the future, we are looking at other finishing options to complement our HP 12000 along with some very exciting digital enhancement kit,” Matthews says.

“Once this arrives we believe our digital production facility will be future proof and set us apart as a leading supplier of both large-, and small-format print and packaging.”

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