The Kidderminster based company received 40% funding towards the cost of the machinery with the help of the Worcestershire County Councils Proof of Concept (POC) grant.
Since investing in the machine, the creative agency has benefited from reduced lead times, reduced costs, and improved quality. The efficiencies generated have boosted the company’s ability to fulfil larger orders at a faster rate and the company has even seen an increase in sales around the UK as well as internationally.
The direct to film machinery is hugely innovative and has generated a new capability for the company. The Machine works by printing ink directly onto a film which can be transferred onto fabric. Whilst this is a popular way to print in countries such as Japan, Surf Works is amongst the very few companies in the UK to have this type of machine.
Chris Parkes, The Director of Surf Works said: “The direct to film printer is something we have been keen to invest in having seen the benefits it could achieve for our business, however, we thought it would be something out of our reach.
“Once we learnt about the grant funding, we just felt it was the perfect opportunity to invest in this innovative machinery. The impact the new machine has had on our business has been monumental, we have been able to take on huge orders that before would not have been easy for us to achieve. It has broadened our horizons and has opened opportunities not only in the UK but oversea.
“I would strongly recommend using the Council’s business support and grant funding opportunities they have available; the whole process was easy and the guidance we received through the grant process was invaluable.”
Councillor Marc Bayliss, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Economy and Skills said: “It is great to hear how the grant funding has made a significant difference to Surf Works. The Proof of Concept grant has been a hugely successful programme and whilst this funding programme is now fully allocated, we still have a range of free business support programmes and grant funding available through our other programmes.
“Hearing Surf Works’ story is extremely inspirational, and I would encourage other businesses to view what support the Council has available to help them.”
The POC project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).