South Wales-based social enterprise, Red Dragon Flagmakers, has recently invested in a Roland Texart RT-640 dye sublimation printer for its new soft signage and flag making production facility in HMP Parc prison in Bridgend, South Wales. The new machine, supplied by Roland dealer, Sabur Ink Systems, will sit at the heart of a new textile production facility, which is scheduled to be officially opened in May 2015, and aims to provide inmates with the necessary ‘real-world skills’ to help them secure stable employment once they are released.
Says Jo Ashburner, CEO of Red Dragon Flagmakers: “Red Dragon is a well-established and nationally recognised business, founded by my father in the 1960s and run as a not-for-profit social enterprise, focused on working with those recently released from prison as part of their rehabilitation process. Late last year, we approached local prison, HMP Parc Prison - run by security giant G4S, to propose establishing a print production plant inside the prison itself, a social enterprise scheme to help reduce recidivism rates.
“The aim of the prison-based printing facility is to offer a degree of continuity from ‘inside to outside’. As part of this, those who work in the prison facility are offered a job at our flag-making plant in Swansea upon release, providing them with a chance to immediately use all the skills they have acquired.”
The Texart RT-640, which will sit at the heart of the prison’s production facility, has been developed specifically for the dye sublimation market, delivering superb quality, vivid colour and highly stable performance, enabling users to add real value through the production of a wide range of profitable applications including apparel, soft signage, flags, interior décor, fashion and original goods.
With a choice of dual CMYK or 8-colour configuration, including Orange and Violet, Roland’s new Texart ink offers an extremely wide colour gamut to enable bold and vibrant printing with high contrast, subtle gradations and remarkable fine detail. The new strong Black ink has depth and density to produce accurate and rich output.
Jo, who was awarded UK National Business Woman of the Year in 2006, is entrepreneurial to the core and she has applied her unique approach to business to Red Dragon Flagmakers as well. “We have equality, motivation and personal responsibility at the heart of our rehabilitation philosophy. Everyone involved in the business earns the same salary – from the CEO down, and in return, we expect all staff to turn up motivated each day, ready for work and to take responsibility for their work and their actions during the day.”
“We’re very excited about getting the RT-640 into the new production centre and getting it up and running and printing great products. It’s a very impressive machine and will provide us with a robust production hub in our facility. We’ve been very impressed with the assistance and knowledge provided by both Roland DG and Sabur through the sales process and look forward to working with them further once the machine is up and running.”
Mathew Drake, Business Manager - Textiles, Roland DG UK: “Red Dragon Flagmakers is a great example of a company that has the perfect marriage of innovation, entrepreneurism and social enterprise. I’m very pleased they are now a Roland customer and that our technology will be playing a small part in helping them to give people the skills and opportunities they need to get back on their feet and rebuild their lives.
“Employees will each receive two months’ training on flag, textile, apparel and soft signage production; from graphic design and artwork software management to print production, sewing, cutting and trimming, which will give them a great grounding in flag and wide format print production. In addition to this, in Roland DG and Sabur Ink Systems, Jo and her team have strong, reliable and knowledgeable partners who will provide them with all the support they need to make this great initiative a success.”