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Stay safe with Protect Signs and new technology

Stay safe with Protect Signs and new technology

Protect Signs has made a business from public warnings.  It specialises in the design and manufacture of portable, temporary, traffic safety and signing products for the UK emergency services, public sector services, utilities, contractors and more.

In the world of portable road guarding, the Weston-super-Mare–based company is in the premier league. Owner and Managing Director David Lundy has been at the company’s helm since 1998 and his father was the inventor of the original roll-up police sign.

Mr. Lundy Senior had a sign factory back in the ’60s called Space Saver, which employed 25 people. The company changed hands over the years, but David Lundy Junior resurrected it as an independent entity. Protect Signs now has a staff of 28, some of whom have been with the firm since its earliest days.

Portable warning signs have continued to be its business mainstay. David Lundy explained: “You’d class that as anything from a police sign to a man at work sign, either rigid or a roll-up. We supply companies such as British Telecom, for which we’ve designed products to go into the back of BT vehicles that not only fold up very small but are also very lightweight in order to lessen the vehicle load and improve fuel consumption.”

During the last eighteen months, Protect Signs has started to broaden its scope. This in part is due to the versatility of the digital printing and finishing equipment it has recently installed, which sits nicely alongside its metal fabrication, CNC routing and high-frequency plastic welding.

David continued: “We’re moving more towards the commercial sector and investing in new technologies ensures that we stay ahead of the game; it helps in the development of new products and production techniques, whilst also bringing the benefits of lean manufacturing and increased productivity.

“With the acquisition of our latest equipment, we are well placed to expand our services into the private and commercial sectors as our increased manufacturing capability has further broadened the range of products and services we can offer to both new and existing customers.”

Last year, in addition to extra roll-to-roll capacity, Protect Signs installed a new Mimaki JFX200-2513 EX flatbed printer and an Esko X24 digital cutting table supplied by CMYUK.

The JFX200-2513 EX flatbed printer is the latest member of the Mimaki family of UV LED flatbed printers. It offers a choice of inks, including white and clear, thus extending the company’s creative opportunities by providing it with the ability to print onto a wide range of substrates, including banner vinyl, Foamex, Correx and Dibond amongst many others.

David opined: “The Mimaki flatbed is a well known, well-established workhorse, but what I really like is its simplicity; there’s nothing complicated about it. It produces great quality prints and does the job it was designed to do really well.  We work mostly with 8 x 4 ft. sheets so it fits the bill perfectly.”

The company has also installed an Esko X24 digital cutting table with a conveyorised bed and integrated camera registration system. The X24 came with the standard configuration of a MultiCut head with 1KW router, rigid material and kisscut tools. However, Protect Sign’s purchase qualified for a promotion that included a FOC copy of the i-CUT suite, a collection of pre-production software specifically designed for users of large format digital printers and/or finishing systems.

“We produce large volumes of repetitive printing onto banner vinyl and each of these rolls has to be cut into various shapes,” confided David. “We can now take printed rolls and put them on the Esko X24 for cutting with very little human intervention.  It’s really made our production a lot slicker, with less likelihood of error when cutting out different shapes.  It’s really living up to my expectations.

“I chose the Esko X24 because I’ve seen Esko tables that are over 20 years old still working, which is quite impressive and, when I discussed the purchase with Nick Reed at CMYUK and asked about maintenance, he said they simply don’t go wrong!”

The Esko X24 enables Protect Signs to offer its customers a better service. In the case of one of its bigger clients, large volumes of 50-metre rolls of pre-printed panels of varying size prints were supplied ready for the customer to hand-cut and apply to substrate. Now, thanks to the X24, Protect Signs provides pre-cut shapes ready for application, thus reducing client costs, improving productivity and future-proofing the services it offers.

David concluded: “No one knows what the future holds, but one thing is certain, in this fast-moving digital world, sign and print businesses must embrace and invest in new technology to ensure that it maintains the best possible service and delivery to all clients, both large and small.”

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