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The Entwistle Thorpe Group eliminates Its finishing bottleneck

The Entwistle Thorpe Group eliminates Its finishing bottleneck
Originally founded in 1899, when it serviced the needs of the photographic and printing industries, the Entwistle Thorpe Group has since evolved to produce digitally printed graphics, plus value-added packaging and point of sale displays.

Operating at locations in Manchester, Bradford, and Warrington, the company holds substantial stock of all popular products for both traditional and digital printing and is driven by new technologies.

Jason Richards, the Group’s Managing Director, who has been with the company for 37 years, explained: “There’s not a business sector that we don’t deal with. The areas our customers operate in include events, pharmaceuticals, nuclear, rail, education, and advertising. Print is a commodity and in order to differentiate ourselves from the competition, we use our extensive knowledge and experience to provide true cross-media solutions and project manage everything from digital media and website design to the provision of both conventional and digital print.”

Much thought has gone into the design of the company’s newly completed 20,000 sq.ft Manchester site in order to maximise its efficiency. Everything has been considered, including energy usage, production workflow, climate controlled stock storage and the separation of FSC and non-FSC materials in order to ensure a high-quality end-product.

 However, one of the most important elements of Entwistle’s deliberations , was the decision to purchase a DYSS X7-1624C digital cutter from AG/CAD.

Jason Richards continued: “When we decided to expand the digital printing facility at the Manchester site we knew we had to do something about the bottleneck that was forming due to our Oce Arizona printer getting close to full capacity. Accordingly, we installed an Arizona 2260XT but this brought its own issues with regard to finishing. Our existing digital cutter was limited to a size of 1600 x 1200mm and in order to make proper use of our printing capabilities, we need to find a larger digital cutter with a routing capability.

“We had quite exacting criteria. Firstly, we needed the new machine to be able to run unattended whilst the operator ran both the digital print and finishing areas in parallel. In addition, the new cutter had to be larger, faster, have a router and accommodate every substrate we are ever likely to throw at it, from paper and vinyl to Foamex and Dibond. Happily, while we were debating all of this a DYSS cutter e-mail arrived in my inbox, so we immediately booked a demo with AG/CAD and, within ten minutes of seeing the DYSS X7 in action we decided it was the right machine for us!”

With its increased printing and finishing capacity Entwistle Group is now looking to move into the exhibition sector and will begin to offer materials such as polytextiles for interchangeable fabric banners. The DYSS rotary blade tool (RBT) is especially good at cutting porous textiles that cannot easily be vacuumed down. As with all DYSS standard tooling, the motorised RBT tool is plug and play and can be added at a later date as new markets are identified.

 One of the most important features that Jason considered when deciding on the new machine is its ability to calibrate tooling accurately. He confided: “With our existing cutter, we relied on a visual/manual set, which was both time consuming and inaccurate and, since we are running a wide variety of materials requiring frequent tool changes, any new machine had to offer a vast improvement over this system.”

All DYSS digital cutters can be supplied with optical tool calibration. The sensors work by measuring the tip of a blade/router bit/crease wheel as it passes through a light sensor and readings are accurate to one-thousandth of a millimetre. Having a properly calibrated tool means that precise cutting/routing/creasing depths can be achieved using the easy-to-set material profiles in the machine’s front-end software.

The main digital cutter operators at Entwistle are Carl, who has clocked up an exceptional 44 years service with the company, and Ben who already has three years of experience under his belt. Both operators attended the initial DYSS cutter demo, and both were key in the decision to add the DYSS X7 to the finishing line up. Now, the plan is for two additional members of staff to be trained as business picks up.

The purchase of the DYSS X7 has added benefits to the profitability of Entwistle in many ways. Not only can the company now manufacture materials that had to be outsourced prior to its installation in a speedier and more efficient way, its new prototyping work is also much faster too.

Entwistle has K-CUT Vision Pro software installed on the DYSS cutters dedicated workstation, making the full KASEMAKE design suite available to the operator.

Jason observed: “It now takes me longer to walk to the machine, than it does to set up a new material profile and get the DYSS ready to cut a pre-production mock-up.

“We plan to use the dedicated training facility at AG/CAD to learn more about the capabilities of KASEMAKE. We can see that it is a powerful tool and want to utilise the parametric and 3D elements. Having the facility to add artwork to virtual samples and then e-mail them as an interactive 3D PDF to customers for approval, will save hours or even days at a time.”

Jason concluded: “With the DYSS cutter, unmanned use has been proven. During the COVID lockdown period when we had fewer people on-site, we were still able to keep up with both print and digital cut production and the operator was easily able to multitask, running both the digital printing and DYSS cutter at the same time. The DYSS X7 is dependable, reliable, and robust and the backup, when required, has been spot on too. We couldn’t be happier with our investment.”

 For further information on the Entwistle Thorpe Group, visit:

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