TLC doubles wide format, buys a Signarama

One year on from a $500,000 investment, TLC Digital Plus has doubled its budding wide format expansion and acquired Signarama Melbourne CBD.

In 2012 the Melbourne trade finishing house added digital and wide format printing to its services.

Seeing this as a growth area in a contracting finishing market, it spent $500,000 last November on a HP Scitex FB500 flatbed, HP Latex 280, Kala Atlantic laminator and Multicam CNC cutting and routing machine, a Celmac digital label press and an Epson Stylus Pro 9880 wide-format printer.

Managing director Barry Webster says the wide format operation, housed in its own section of TLC’s 2050sqm factory, has subsequently doubled in size over the past year, created six jobs, and now makes up 20 per cent of turnover.

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He says the growth has come both from upselling to existing finishing clients and gaining brand new ones.

“We have picked up lots of trade work as most of our clients are focused on offset and do not want to add their own machines in other areas,” he says.

“They are more willing to expand their business in other areas knowing we can look after them.

“As our reputation has grown we are getting more work. A lot of new clients have sent us one-off jobs like photobooks or wide format ads, and when they see how good we are they give us regular work.”

Six months ago TLC bought the 18-year-old Melbourne CBD Signarama wide format franchise to support its expansion and provide a ‘shorter path to growth’.

Webster says the business has growth 25 per cent since TLC acquired it, and often shares work with the main business depending on the job.

“Signage is a steep learning curve and we underestimated how hard it would be, so having the support of a franchise system makes it a bit easier and gives us some support,” he says.

He says the franchise runs on a Roland DG eco-solvent printer he is looking to upgrade to a latex machine, probably a HP Latex, so there can be consistency of work between the two companies.

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Webster says TLC is looking at making lightboxes in-house to make its jobs faster and as another area of diversification. The company already does its own installations.

Earlier this year TLC put up advertising on 32 windows at the Eureka Tower between 6-10am and took them down at 1-4pm after a media launch.

It also wrapped the 64-seat campaign bus of Victorian opposition leader Daniel Andrews, which is touring the state ahead of this weekend’s election, with 50 metres of clear focus one way vision on the windows and 70 metres of Automark 230 vinyl for the panels.

TLC Digital Plus split from the twice-collapsed Sydney firm TLC Print Finishing 10 years ago.

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