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East Midlands Chamber News

Investment continues at Little Eaton print firm

laminatorLittle Eaton-based Mercia Image Print has invested £100,000 in new machinery.

Phase two of its development programme - phase one was seven years ago when the firm invested £0.5m in premises and machinery - has seen the addition of three new pieces of specialist equipment.

The machinery includes a fully automated B2 Foliant Laminator which will significantly increase the company’s capacity for in-house laminating. The machine can laminate nearly 24,000 A4 sheets an hour.

Mercia is also buying a Pitney Bowes Inkjet Addressing System and Mail Crafter. Personalisation and Direct Mail are an integral part of Mercia’s business and over the past few years have seen significant growth.

Although personalisation has always been done in-house, mail folding, stuffing and stamping had previously been outsourced. This new equipment will ensure Mercia can offer a full in-house service printing and mailing-out service for clients.

The third new piece of equipment is an Agfa fully-automated plate maker.

Aluminium plates have to be made for each colour separation for printing (four for every page printed in full colour) and plate-making has always been both costly and time-consuming.

The new machine makes and loads 100 plates at a time at a higher technical specification than previously available. It also creates the plates through thermal imaging instead of acid etching which makes the process more environmentally friendly and removes the need to handle hazardous chemicals.

Amanda Strong, Mercia’s Managing Director, said: “We are already on target to hit budget increases of nearly 20%, so we expect this investment to put the icing on the cake. Our customers know that we already provide a premium service but with the enhancements and efficiencies in time and money our customers will benefit all the way.”

Over the past twelve months staff levels have increased by 20% and Mercia has made a huge commitment to the apprenticeship scheme, both internally and externally.

It has appointed apprentices, one of whom was runner up in the recent Chamber of Commerce Young Business Person of the Year award, and it has invested significantly in the When I Am programme with Derby College.

Amanda added: “Our commitment to our staff is very apparent. The majority of our senior staff have been with us for nearly 25 years in business. We are hoping that our investment into youth also pays off and we get more and more younger people into the industry.”