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Pro-Sign Fabrications

Jo Golding speaks to Tony Spencer, production director at Pro-Sign Fabrications, about how the sign industry has evolved and how it hopes to expand the business through Signlink Live

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(Above & below) Pro-Sign Fabrications creates signage such as built up letters for a range of trade customers

Rising to the challenge

What strikes me about Pro-Sign Fabrications is that whilst it prides itself on being a traditional sign firm, it is always looking to the future and is not afraid of new challenges. For example, Pro-Sign offers traditional sign services such as built up letters and metal box fabrication, but can also install LED lighting systems.

Located in Ramsgate, Kent, Pro-Sign Fabrications boasts a large range of in-house equipment which it uses to provide commercial sign companies with, for example, built up letters, metal box fabrication, router cutting, and painting and finishing services. The company can also install lighting and carry out assembly.

While Pro-Sign Fabrications was established in 2000, its production director Tony Spencer has been working in the sign industry since the start of his career. He explains: “I’ve worked in the sign-making industry since I was 18 and have continued to do so for over 30 years.

“I started working for myself when I was 21, initially doing subcontract installations and then moving on to fabrication and the manufacture of fairground signage. After that I went more into the trade side and went into partnership with a letter making friend of mine.”

Having worked in the sign industry for most of his working life, Spencer has seen significant changes take place over the years, seeing a particular focus on more unique, one off projects today.

He continues: “I have seen quite a lot change in the industry over the years with the advent of internet shopping and the demise of the high street stores. We used to do a lot more high street work and large roll-outs, but things have become more bespoke and specialist.

“This is what we try to specialise in—higher quality, designer-led work, rather than large roll-outs. We can be quite reactive this way. We are always up for a challenge, and looking for new methods and the latest way of doing things.”

We are always up for a challenge, and looking for new methods and the latest way of doing things

Looking at the current market, Spencer highlights bespoke letter work with rusty metal effects and aged copper as signage that is currently popular, adding that a lot of the time Pro-Sign Fabrications will use cabochon or theatre style letters with lamps in them to create a retro look.

“We also do a lot of rimless letters with router cut acrylic faces that are popular as they are quite cost-effective,” says Spencer, adding: “However, we can do all sorts, we also install LED lighting systems and neon if required.”

With its letter making, Pro-Sign Fabrications works with materials like stainless steel and aluminium, and can also paint and fully assemble the letters. The company added 35mm deep letters with embedded LED for face and halo illumination to its portfolio; the company can also fit lighting systems for signage, which it believes sets itself apart from other trade companies.

Under one roof

We often discuss in Signlink the debate of bringing your own equipment in-house versus outsourcing and Pro-Sign Fabrications’ is a prime example of a trade supplier with an extensive equipment portfolio to suit any requirements.

Pro-Sign Fabrications is exhibiting at Signlink Live this October, which takes place at the International Centre in Telford

Spencer picks out some of its key technology that allows it to do just this: “We have five letter makers, three box makers, our own in-house stove enamelling plant, CNC router cutters, 3m break-presses and guillotines, and Roland digital printers and vinyl cutting machines. All of our equipment is under one roof so it makes it nice and efficient.”

All of our equipment is under one roof so it makes it nice and efficient

Efficiency, of course, is a key factor in being a successful sign-making company, but there are other factors highlighted by Spencer that allow Pro-Sign Fabrications to keep its customer base happy: “We like to think our prices are good and we are very reactive. We keep the lead times as short as we can, but maintain the quality, and we are also attentive. It is all about turning it around quickly with good quality at the right cost.”

(Above & below) Pro-Sign Fabrications has created signage for major restaurant chains such as Wagamama, Café Rouge, and Bella Italia, as well as Argos

Spencer is level-headed about the company’s future plans, keen to concentrate on what the company is good at but, as needed to succeed in any business, is open to the idea of expansion, with looking for new customers a current priority.

It is clear that Pro-Sign Fabrications is going about expansion in the right way as it has signed up to exhibit at the inaugural edition of Signlink Live, taking place this October at The International Centre. With visitors from the sign and print industries guaranteed, as it is co-located with The Print Show, Spencer sees the show as a great opportunity to expand its customer base.

He explains: “We signed up to exhibit at Signlink Live because we are looking to expand. Since 2007 and the recession and financial crash, things have been a little bit flat, so we want to expand our customer base and move forward. We will be bringing various letters in different shapes and forms to the show, as well as examples of other work we can do such as folded aluminium trays.”

So, if you want to know more about what Pro-Sign Fabrications can do for you, come along to Signlink Live where you can see plenty of examples of the company’s work. With a solid range of equipment and love for a challenge, the challenge for you will be finding something they will not give a go.

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