New laser cutting machines revolutionise printing process for Rollem
Sheffield-based print company Rollem draws on over 80 years’ experience to create innovative printing solutions for a global market. They design, manufacture, install and maintain machines for the print industry. The application range varies from high quality gaming and playing cards to brochures, lottery tickets, events tickets, coupons and bespoke greetings cards. Approximately 90% of their production is exported, including 60% to a demanding US market.
The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project with engineering experts from Sheffield Hallam University helped them develop new laser cutting machines that can cut paper precisely without leaving any scorch marks.
Adapting to a fast-changing print market
Rollem wanted to use their opportunity with Sheffield Hallam to create a more dynamic and flexible laser cutting machine. Their aim was to introduce and embed state-of-the-art electronic control systems and apply them to the design of integrated print finishing machines for web-to-print applications.
In a rapidly changing printing industry, there’s a growing demand for mass web-to-print capability for products like business cards, greeting cards and shelf edge labels. To respond to this developing market, Rollem needed to innovate across the whole printing production process and embed skills in electronic control system design. Rollem knew that Sheffield Hallam could offer the specialist expertise required to develop their tools. Having gained approval and funding support from Innovate UK, the partnership began the selection process for a KTP associate. Sherif Ibrahim was identified as the best fit candidate.
Filling a knowledge gap
Rollem’s previous control system development required considerable support from external suppliers, which they found both time consuming and inflexible. The KTP provided a solution to this through the recruitment of an enthusiastic graduate who had the knowledge, and the academic support of Sheffield Hallam experts to help develop it.
’We wouldn’t be able to create something from the ground up without the Knowledge Transfer Partnership.’
Stuart Murphy, Managing Director
New tools for the job
Through the KTP Rollem has developed a cutting machine that will not only cut shapes, but also cut round corners. The developments allow Rollem to print paper and card to different formats with more complex shape requirements, with a high rate of production. Rollem has high hopes for this excellent new equipment, which they will be offering to their global audience in the near future.
The impacts of the project are huge for Rollem, allowing them to develop a market presence and expand production and sales by responding to the needs of a rapidly changing industry, as it moves from traditional wet ink processes to digital bespoke production.