Digital age opening up new markets for Rollem

Learning the trade: Apprentices Tommy Winter and Liam Smith at Rollem's factory.
Learning the trade: Apprentices Tommy Winter and Liam Smith at Rollem's factory.
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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.