A local print boss has invested time, energy and money to turn his company ‘green’.

Paul Walker, managing director at family-owned Symbol Display, has revolutionised the way his company operates to make it one of the best digital print manufacturing facilities in the region.

The major changes have resulted in significant cost savings for customers and an incredible 80% reduction in waste materials and energy costs.

It began with the purchase of the company’s new HQ at North Road in central Middlesbrough.

Symbol has transformed the once tired old building into a modern manufacturing plant that boasts some of the largest digital printers and cutters in the UK.

Paul said: “It’s taken a significant investment and a lot of hard work to achieve our goal, to produce high quality large format digital print right here on Teesside.

“There are very few companies able to complete work on this scale, to this quality, on such a wide range of materials, and this latest investment – moving from screen printing to digital – means when I hand over the reins to my children I’ll know I did everything I could to future-proof the company, making Symbol cleaner and greener.”

Digital printing is far better for the environment than traditional screen methods as it does away with the need for chemicals, screens and exposed inks. This makes it safer for staff and the environment. There is also considerably less waste material, which helps to reduce landfill.

The new technology means customers can print on demand rather than having to print in high volumes, resulting in significant cost savings and allowing Symbol to carry out work for companies of all sizes, across a wide range of industries.

Symbol received support from Tees Valley Business Compass to meet the costs of the new equipment and Paul says without the funding his business would have struggled to take what’s been a huge step forward.

“If it wasn’t for the funding we received from Tees Valley Business Compass, the printer
would still be on our wish list and we wouldn’t be where we are now, producing bespoke large format print for customers all over the country while doing our bit to save the planet,” he added.

As well as large format print jobs, Symbol is using the new equipment to produce thousands of Hazchem labels each year – a contract the company has fulfilled for three decades on its now retired screen printers.

The labels are used around the world to identify hazardous substances in tankers and containers, so in the event of a fire or a spillage, firefighters can take effective action to avert any risk to health and minimise damage to the environment.

Those labels are now being digitally printed on robust material that can withstand even the harshest of conditions, meaning they last longer and need replacing less often, another way Symbol is helping industry to reduce its waste as well as saving time and money.