The 11-staff business installed a six-colour Ryobi 526GX in January, which was closely followed by a two-back-two Ryobi 524GXP in March, both from Apex Digital Graphics. The B3 presses replaced a 10-year old Ryobi 525HXX.

ColourXpress managing director Mike Corran said one of the reasons behind the investment was to introduce one-pass spot colour and coat on four colour jobs, which combined with the higher level of automation had substantially increased the company’s productivity.

“Not only does it print faster, it also makes ready faster and when you combine that with the ability to seal in one pass, in effect we’ve been able to double the output of the five-colour HXX with the six-colour GX,” said Curran.

He added that the PDSE inline scanning spectrophotometer was another major bonus of the investment.

“The two GXs have boosted the quality and consistency of our output, it was good before – its just better now,” Corran said.

The £500,000 spend, which also included infrastructure improvements to the firm’s facility, was partly financed through “meaningful five-figure” funding from ColourXpress’s local RDA. The firm wasn’t initially planning to buy the perfecting 524GXP, but following it securing a three-year NHS tender at the start of the year, which went live last month, it installed the second Ryobi.

The firm has taken on two additional staff following the installation of the second press and Corran said that he was planning to double staffing levels to around 20 by the end of the year. The firm had sales of around £750,000 last year and Corran said it’s on course to achieve £1.2m this year.

“When you combine the productivity of the two new presses we’ve actually quadrupled our total capacity and we’ve already filled that. I’m not sure if we’ve just been extremely lucky, but we’ve won a lot of contractual work nationally and locally,” Corran added.

The company secured its funding from Plymouth University and Western Morning News Growth Fund. Corran said he effectively took a month off from his “day job” to apply for the funding, which involved a full business plan, including forecasts and trading statements.

“It was definitely worthwhile though, because without the RDA funding we would not have been able to invest in the second press,” said Corran.

The company offers a full cross-media service, including website design, e-marketing, variable print via its Xerox engines, as well as a fully functioning B2C storefront under a different name. It also has a physical high street presence as well as separate production facility.

“In these troubled times the printers that are left usually have decent machinery and staff, so you are competing with the best of the best and all you’re left with is price. We don’t want to do that, we focus on profit because it’s not a dirty word. So we’ve focussed on adding value and services,” said Corran.