Manchester-based print-on-demand merchandise supplier Merchr has increased its capacity with the installation of five new machines, most custom-built, as part of a £250,000 investment.

The e-commerce company has installed a Graphtec cutting plotter which can cut high-build heat transfer vinyl to give a raised printing finish when transferred to garments, along with a laser-guided dual heat pressing printer for glitter, neon and textured printing on t-shirts, hats, toiletry bags and other items. There is also a 360-degree heat press machine for custom decoration of hats.

Other new equipment includes a flatbed printer which can print up to 60 notebooks at a time with a varnish finish, and a 360-degree cylinder printer machine for water bottles and flasks, able to produce 250 items an hour.

The custom machinery was sourced through linked company Product Source Group, via a partnership with an OEM to develop the custom-built equipment to suit Merchr’s specific requirements.

Jack Fox, Merchr’s head of operations, said, ‘Advancements in technology have opened doors to a new era of sustainable merchandise printing. The ability to print retail quality items on demand, without having to order in bulk, not only enhances our commitment to sustainability but also empowers our store owners with more choice and customisation options.

‘We’re excited to embrace this innovative machinery, as it aligns perfectly with our goal of reducing waste and minimising our environmental footprint while delivering quality products for our users. Customers will benefit from even higher quality printing with varnish finishes and faster turnaround times. For example, it takes only two minutes to full colour print a water bottle.

‘These digital machines are designed and built to integrate with the Merchr ecosystem, enabling ‘cart to print’ in seconds, representing a fundamental advance in the supply chain,’ he concluded.