17 May 2020 Print Companies

Covid-19: Online printers prepare for end of lockdown

The UK's leading trade printers are promoting the stay alert message with ranges of print, clothing and accessories to help businesses comply with the new normal.

The UK’s leading online trade printers have added social distancing and PPE products to their websites to enable printers to supply these to customers, just days after the UK Government announced it was easing lockdown restrictions.

It follows on from Where The Trade Buys helping in the Prime Group led project to produce PPE face shields for the NHS and on Bluetree donating 1,000 of these items to Rotherham Hospital. The products now on sale are designed to offer protection against the virus to shop workers and others in public facing occupations as the lockdown is eased.

Where The Trade Buys has utilised facilities in Barking and in Sunderland to achieve a capacity of 15,000 units a day, helping the three-business project to reach 500,000 items a month. Chief executive Gary Peeling says: “We were delighted to partner with Prime Group and Pro Co on this project and encourage other print companies around the world by sharing the technical drawings. Globalisation brought this crisis to our door in weeks and collaboration can see it safely in short order.”

Mark Young, head of Route 1 Print identified the same problem and has adjusted production at the factory near Rotherham to be able to produce 500 face shields a day using clear PVC, going from design to production in two weeks.

These have now been added to the company’s website along with cloth masks, floor stickers, sneeze guards and had sanitiser stations, all of which can be branded for the ultimate customer.

The face shield project involved harnessing the power of its Kongsberg cutting table. Young says: "The reason we decided to create this product was in response to a widely publicised shortage of PPE, not just in the NHS, but in care homes and other industries where key workers are in close contact with the general public and don’t have access to protective equipment.

“Customisable branding hasn’t been a focus for us as yet but is something we could look to develop if we see a rise in customers requesting branded versions of the visors.”

They are set to become a fixture on the website, for the foreseeable future at least. Likewise at Where The Trade Buys, where the safety equipment includes PPE tabard aprons and screening guards for use in classrooms and more sophisticated social distancing desk dividers for office workers. Posters and vinyl floor stickers will encourage social distancing with sneeze guards to protect workers at a till or shop counter.

Tradeprint is offering a similar choice of products with labels for hand sanitiser bottles and the ability to brand these. A hand sanitiser stand can also be branded.

The coronavirus essentials kit from Solopress includes tape for marking safe bays to shop customers, along with stickers, hand sanitising stands, window graphics, posters, banners and signage. A magnetic sign can be used to identify a vehicle, used by an NHS volunteer, for example.

Solopress has also opened some of its currently underused server capacity to distributed computing projects in an attempt to identify how the Covid-19 virus can be attacked. It is one of more than 250,000 businesses worldwide to join the folding@home project, ranking around 16,000 in delivering computing resource.

And while UK based operations are offering a similar range of products, sparked by PPE shortages in the NHS, overseas online printers that are active in the UK are not in the same space, through FlyerAlarm is promoting social distancing artwork. It is also flagging a save your business package of promotional print.

Helloprint, which does not have its own production facilities, is marketing face masks, hand sanitising gel and simple floor stickers, high vis jackets and sneeze guards.

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Route 1 Print

Route 1 Print

Route 1 Print has started to offer a range of PPE through its website along with the UK's other leading online tradeprint companies. This was kicked off by a donation of 1,000 face shields to Rotherham hospital.

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