Tag: Rollem

Rollem to exhibit at IPEX 2017

Rollem will be exhibiting at IPEX 2017 on stand F150 next to the PICON pavilion from Tuesday 31st October to Friday 3rd November 2017 at the NEC in Birmingham, UK.  Rollem will be demonstrating a number of their print finishing systems at the show, further details will be released next year.

IPEX is one of the world’s longest established exhibitions for the print industry with a heritage that dates back to the 1800’s. It is the UK’s largest and most prestigious print solutions event and will attract some 20,000 visitors and 400 + exhibitors.

The next edition will focus on PRINT IN ACTION. IPEX 2017 will showcase the full spectrum of working print equipment with the latest technology and innovations in production and applications on display.

http://www.ipex.org/

Digital Age Opening up Markets for Rollem

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Exports account for 95 per cent of print finishing equipment experts Rollem’s sales.

The United States is the company’s biggest market, but the company also exports all over Europe and is seeing interest from Canada and the Middle East.

It is also open to applications outside the printing sector, in food, horticulture and construction, for example.

“We get some off-the-wall requests,” says managing director Stuart Murphy.

The company has been approached by a Greek company that makes sheets of plastic pots that are filled with seedlings to make a perforator that would allow garden shop customers to tear off as many or as few individual pots as they want.

There is a company in France that makes sheets of communion wafers and needs a machine to cut them into individual squares or punch them into circles.

And there was a medical supplies company that wanted a machine to cut labels out of a special material that would then be stuck on to surgical instruments and consumables to make it easier to ensure they were all accounted for before and after use in an operating theatre.

New markets – like the market for photocards, personalised calendars and photobooks – have opened up thanks to the arrival of the digital age and Rollem believes it has only ‘scratched the surface’ so far.

“This business is very good at making things work for customers,” says Stuart Murphy.

The company has the engineering and manufacturing skills to develop products from scratch or adapt existing technology.

It has also established a relationship with one well-known digital printing equipment manufacturer that now offers Rollem products as add-ons to one of its ranges.

“We know where the market is going, what our customers are asking for and how to make the solutions work. Our problem is marketing. We are a small company that exports 95 per cent of what it makes, but how do we get to the point where we can get our name in front of the eyes of any print company, anywhere in the world that is saying: Wouldn’t it be nice to have a machine to do this or that?”

Needless to say, with a company like Rollem, it’s a problem that they are already well on the way to addressing.

Playing their cards right

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From decks of cards to communion wafers and Pokemon cards to plant pots – there’s plenty of business for Tankersley-based Rollem to do.

Rollem specialises in equipment for the finishing end of the print industry, slitting, perforating, punching and collating what comes off the presses and digital printing machines.

Nine out of every ten playing cards used in Las Vegas casinos will have been cut, had their corners rounded and been sorted into decks on machines made by Rollem which produce a full deck every 1.5 seconds.

Every ‘legal’ Pokemon card, all Monopoly’s Community Chest and Chance cards, Trivial Pursuit cards, Panini football trading cards and most of the Top Trumps decks will have been processed on Rollem equipment, too.

But it doesn’t end there, for the company is currently seeing increasing orders coming from companies in the burgeoning photobook, personalised calendar, post card and greeting card market.

Quality and accuracy, combined with technology and providing tailor-made solutions to customers’ problems have been the key to Rollem’s success.

“We like to build very robust, very reliable equipment,” says director and co-owner of the business Colin Pears.

“It has the advantage that we can send our machines around the world without it going wrong. The downside is that you won’t need to replace one of our machines after a few years.”

Half of the Rollem machines around the world are 40 years old and the company can also point to one of its machines that has been producing post cards in Finland every day for the last three years without missing a beat.

“Our machines are very, very popular for trading cards in Japan because of the quality of the cut and the fact that our machines won’t scratch or mark the cards. Japan simply won’t accept scratches,” adds managing director and co-owner Stuart Murphy.

Accuracy is just as important and the computerised electronic alignment innovations Rollem has introduced are particularly popular in the digital print market where the registration – or alignment – provided by the presses is not as good as that offered by traditional equipment.

Rollem’s innovations mean that its equipment will cut and perforate in the right place time after time even if the image has wandered slightly in the page and isn’t always the same distance from the edge.

Rollem’s technology makes it easy for companies to print different jobs of different sizes for different customers on the same sheet, reducing wastage, while ensuring one customer’s job does not get mixed up with another’s.

The Tankersley firm has also responded to a culture change in the printing industry, which has seen the arrival of the “Mac Jockey” – graphics designers who handle their own printing and expect everything to be controlled by computer.

“Ten years ago, all the machines needed a traditional guy with spanners to adjust and maintain them, but now people have come from the other end of the business and they don’t expect to have to adjust a cutting blade by hand before running a new job,” says Stuart Murphy.

“We are completely customer led. We have always got customers saying they want this or that and we solve their problems.”

That’s why, although Rollem has a range of machines with specific capabilities, no two machines will be the same and it is also why Rollem isn’t too bothered about hedging its innovations with patents.

“Patents are an odd animal,” says Stuart Murphy.

“They require a lot of administration to put together and there are huge costs if you end up fighting an action in court. They are a nice marketing tool, they add credibility and there is some protection because they can put an imitator off.

“There is a company in Shanghai that copied our machines. They tried very hard to sell them, but they didn’t succeed. They weren’t good at providing pre-sale engineering knowledge and after sales hand-holding.

“Anyway, by the time someone copies one of our systems, we are making something else.

“It’s not competition that is our problem, it is getting cost effective, realistic solutions to the problems customers are facing.”

It has also established a relationship with one well-known digital printing equipment manufacturer that now offers Rollem products as add-ons to one of its ranges.

“We know where the market is going, what our customers are asking for and how to make the solutions work. Our problem is marketing. We are a small company that exports 95 per cent of what it makes, but how do we get to the point where we can get our name in front of the eyes of any print company, anywhere in the world that is saying: Wouldn’t it be nice to have a machine to do this or that?”

Needless to say, with a company like Rollem, it’s a problem that they are already well on the way to addressing.

Factory Move to Boost Turnover

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Rollem began life as a brass foundry in High Green, 84 years ago.

It’s founder, Joseph Mellor, gave the company his name – but in reverse – and started to build up a business making components for other firms.

Although Rollem continued to run a sub-contracting business for a number of years, it rapidly discovered where its future really lay when a local printer approached Joseph Mellor.

The printer needed to perforate some of his output and wondered whether Mellor could make a machine to do it. Joseph said ‘Yes’ and designed and made a machine.

By the late 1930s, perforating machines had become the company’s main line of business – to be joined later by slitting machines and punches.

Life had some downs for Rollem. The company’s first factory burnt to the ground in 1942 – not through enemy action, but because the cinema next door caught fire.

The company moved to Ecclesfield and by the 1950s had been acquired by Sheffield-based marking machinery manufacturers Edward Pryor.

With finances looking none too happy, Pryor’s sent in design engineer Jim Hill to see if he could turn around the company, which had just six employees at the time.

Hill made a start, but the company was still £10 million in the red in the mid-’50s when Pryor cut its losses and Hill demonstrated his confidence in Rollem’s future by acquiring the company.

Rollem’s fortunes did, indeed, improve. By the 1960s the company was well enough advanced and known to start protecting its inventions against imitators by taking out patents.

Then, in 2006 the company was acquired by its management team – managing director Stuart Murphy, who joined Rollem in 1999, and director Colin Pears, who started with Rollem straight from school in 1979.

Their acquisition has sparked a new drive for growth, backed by bankers HSBC.

The foundations for accelerated growth, at what is now a 30-employee firm with a £2 million turnover, were laid earlier this year when the company moved from what had become exceedingly cramped premises at Ecclesfield to Tankersley in a deal involving Aldi.

The German low cost supermarket group was keen to acquire a site in Ecclesfield and, with HSBC’s help, Rollem was able to move factory while retaining ownership of the Ecclesfield site and redeveloping it for Aldi to occupy.

“If we had remained in Ecclesfield, our turnover would have stayed at £2 million,” says Stuart Murphy.

“Moving to this factory will enable us to increase that to £10 million. Since we have moved, we have taken on two apprentices and our aspiration is to have near to 40 people here by the end of next year.”

Rollem moves to a new 22,000 Sq Ft Site

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Acting on behalf of JPB Holdings, the Industrial Agency Team at CBRE’s Sheffield office has completed the sale of Unit 3A Wentworth Industrial Estate in Tankersley, South Yorkshire.

The 21,931 sq ft unit, which benefits from a high profile position on the well occupied Wentworth Industrial Estate equidistant between Sheffield and Barnsley centre’s, was sold for £650,000 to print finishing equipment specialists Rollem.

Roger Haworth, Senior Director of Industrial Agency at CBRE Sheffield, said; “This established industrial location has proven popular with occupiers due to the ease of access to the M1 via Junction 36 and its access to the major conurbations of South Yorkshire. The accommodation was a perfect solution for Rollem as it also offers a high specification warehouse including fully fitted office accommodation. Once again, South Yorkshire demonstrates its attractiveness as an industrial base.”

Stuart Murphy, Managing Director of Rollem said “We have worked with CBRE for a number of years they advised us on the relocation to the new premises and the redevelopment of the premises at Ecclesfield, enabling both to run smoothly and getting the best possible outcome for the future of the business. The new premises at Tankersley have doubled the floor area allowing the company to look to future growth and expansion and have already taken on two apprentices. Having the additional facility of the fibre optic digital region throughout the premises has enabled us, as we export over 85% of our business, to now host international video conferences with customers and potential customers and we have set up a demonstration area in the factory so using webcam technology we can show customers the full capability of our machines without having to travel around the world.”

Email: [email protected]
Phone: +44 (0)1226 745476
3a Wentworth Way,
Barnsley,
S75 3DH,
United Kingdom

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Rollem Patent Products Ltd
Registered office address: 3a Wentworth Way, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S75 3DH
Registered in England and Wales
Company no. 00374392

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