“If you’re not moving forward, you’re standing still” is an expression we are all familiar with. And therein lies a simple truth that Tomlinson Ltd wholly understands.
Throughout the unavoidable turmoil of a global pandemic, Tomlinson has not allowed itself to stand still. To prove this point, the company has recently invested in two state-of-the-art Datron M8Cube high-speed CNC machines.
Since its inception in the 1920’s, Tomlinson Ltd has established an enviable reputation for producing high-quality foiling and embossing dies. The company’s ability to respond to market trends and industry developments, and to embrace and adeptly exploit technological advancements, are key to its ongoing success.
Production Director Jon Colburt has been with Tomlinson Ltd for more than thirty-five years. Here, he talks about the motivation behind the decision to invest in more CNC machinery. “Businesses must evolve as markets evolve,” Jon says confidently, “and, as a company, we constantly keep a close eye on which markets are changing or emerging so that we can respond accordingly”.
From books, magazines and greeting cards to corporate and occasion stationery, Tomlinson produce and supply dies to all sectors of the print industry and are adept in each area. However. there are two sectors in particular that demand even greater finesse and attention to detail: the luxury packaging and label sectors.
“Tomlinson has seen a significant increase in the requirement for luxury packaging and labels.” Jon explains, “Gone are the days when labels and boxes were simply a means of supplying basic product information. Now they are recognised as a way of grabbing a buyer’s attention, adding desirability and value to a product - ‘shelf-appeal’. The addition of the two new Datron CNC machines will not only assist Tomlinson in maintaining its position among the UK’s top tier die-makers but help set us apart even more. Due to the intricate nature of the artwork for the label and packaging sectors, the Datron machines will enable us to manufacture dies to even tighter tolerances as we’ll be able to cut even more finely”.
Tris Simpson is Tomlinson’s CNC Department Team Leader. He also oversees the company’s Studio and Programming areas and has been with the firm since 1999. Tris talks more about tolerances and explains exactly why they are so important. “Every machine or process has a permissible tolerance,” he says, “and whilst we currently adhere to very tight tolerances, the new machines will allow for even greater precision”. It makes perfect sense.
Tris continues, “But it’s important to raise that Tomlinson deems tight tolerances to be crucial across the board. It doesn’t matter what type of die we’re manufacturing - or which sector we’re manufacturing the die for - all are of equal importance”.
So, why Datron?
“Datron’s M8Cubes are ideal for our needs.”, says Jon, “They’re compact but have a large bed-size, they’re high-speed meaning quick turnaround-times, while also being user-friendly. In a nutshell, these machines will increase our overall production capacity and flexibility, as well as improve our manufacturing efficiency”.
Tris agrees, adding, “The Datron machines also have abundant tooling options which are extremely specific - excellent for accurately cutting fine detail. They also cut with minimal vibration producing impressively high surface quality in the end product”.
Jon and his fellow directors at Tomlinson strongly believe in collaborating with both customers and suppliers. “We feel it’s important to form partnerships with all of the people we work with as it allows us to continually improve what we do. Partnering with Datron now and going into the near future, especially with both companies being employee-owned, is simply a natural extension of this”.
Managing Director of Datron, Mark Hargreaves, shares Jon’s sentiment saying, “The investment Tomlinson has made does not only provide the latest technologies, but also forms a business partnership and brings Tomlinson into the Datron family”.
This latest investment consolidates Tomlinson’s position as one of the leading die makers in the industry. Furthermore, hidden behind the technical detail, you will find a dedicated, determined, passionate team of people who drive the company forward. Never standing still.
Left to right: Jim Littler, Colin Chinn (Datron), Jon Colburt, Ginger Singh Kauldhar and far right Tris Simpson