BCA Group finds new revenue streams with Duplo's digital cutter

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BCA Group

Brian Cottee Associates have installed the UK’s first PFi Blade B3+ digital cutting table from Duplo and started producing billable work within the first few days on it going in. The PFi Blade B3+ was installed towards the end of August in compliance to full government social distancing guidelines.

At the end of last year Mark Cottee, Managing Director of BCA Group had been asked to do a job for one of their customers, a local security company for a specific type of finishing. “The quantity they required was for a total of 8 copies and required 40mm circular holes to be cut throughout, but they had to have the quality finish as this was a presentation for a large contract. I mentioned to our customer that I would need to make a die and have them punched out conventionally so he suggested he had a small hobby craft cutting device that he used to create samples with and said that we could borrow it to cut the holes on his presentation. This proved successful as we only needed to produce 8 copies. After the order was completed we looked for other hobby craft cutters and decided to purchase a CriCut Maker Hobbycraft cutter. It was a desktop cutting machine that has some technological similarities with the Blade, but it was clear we needed something more robust and built for more commercial usage.”

“Then in February 2020 I first saw Duplo’s digital cutting table at the Packaging Innovations Show at the NEC. and was completely blown away by the machine. Both the ease of use and how the machine operated, and how it produced intricate designs on the stand, you could definitely see the potential of it. Then the first lockdown happened, and everything went into freefall.” 

“After a physical demonstration we sent in a few jobs to test the machine out and decided to purchase immediately so we could be ready when lockdown eased. Duplo’s product specialist Andy Cuff was really helpful and gets really creative with the applications he can produce on the machine. This is a completely new field for BCA Group and we needed to be certain that the customer base was there for this type of products.”

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Pfi-Blade
Image: BCA Group makes short work of sampling, prototypes and tests with the PFi Blade B3

The PFi Blade is a B3 digital cutting table, most suitable for short run and on demand jobs. With a 3-tool head, the digital cutter has options for cutting, kiss cutting (perfect for labels), creasing, scoring, perforating – there is even a pen tool and an aftermarket embossing tool. The PFi Blade was relaunched in the UK during November’s Duplo Product Launch Event due to the first lock down. The Blade has proved a huge success in Europe with over 70 sold in the first three months. Rob Thurston, Regional Sales Manager for Duplo UK says, “The PFi Blade is a remarkable B3 machine – and some of the customer jobs and applications we’ve done as samples look outstanding. It’s very simple to use, especially with the proprietary software we have available with the Blade. Our PFi Connect software allows customers to import a range of different file types directly into the workflow of the machine and then the machine is set ready to begin. The applications the PFi Blade can produce allow customers to prototype with literally no waste, the packaging solutions we’ve produced are eye catching and really stand out especially combined with our DuSense and 3D Digi Foil solutions.”

“As with any new installation there have been a couple of hiccups that if we haven’t been able to figure out, a quick call to Duplo solves everything” continues Mark. “After installing the machine we’ve been busy getting creative, firing samples at our customer base and really pushing what the machine can do. It’s brought creativity back to our company, and it’s evident in the new customers that we are now targeting and engaging with. It’s fast, accurate and once we let our imagination run it’s amazing that we get to implement and make the finished products. We’ve always done work in corporate print but now we’re looking to branch into consumer markets. We’ve been able to find new revenue by diversifying into packaging, the Blade has allowed us to do this and it’s really exciting how far we can push these applications to new businesses. It’s just perfect for getting samples knocked up for customers for bigger jobs, kiss cut labels for a famous record mastering customer and assorted boxes are just a few of the jobs we’ve done within days of installing the Blade.”

“We did see that there were other companies offering similar products, but we’ve had excellent experiences with Duplo in the past. We have an older DBM-120 booklet maker which is still producing all of our booklets, it just keeps running, and we’ve never been disappointed with Duplo’s after sales service.”

“In the current climate, with print being very quiet during the lock down months, we’ve seen packaging be buoyant, especially in niche markets for variable and personalised products. This new technology has allowed us to create a new market that was never there before due to the prohibitive cost for small quantities using a die, the sheer ease of use and flexibility the machine allows us is a game changer.”

Discover more about how the the PFi Blade B3+ could enhance your business by talking to us.