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Intaglio Creative


Intaglio Creative produces engraved stone blocks, often mounted in high-status sports stadia within the walls and on concourses. These follow a fixed format but have customised messages paid for by fans. The commercial arm of the stadium acts as an intermediary, taking the order and customer-specified text before passing it on to Intaglio Creative.

The two types of stone used are either 40mm thick or 20mm thick, which results in four variations of raw material to be managed. The engraving is carried out by masking parts of the stone surface and processing in a grit blasting cabinet.

In addition to the main product line, a Laser engraving machine has also been installed. This was purchased for a specific project that did not come to fruition and is now kept under a dustsheet, unused.




Dialogue with Intaglio Creative was opened via the networking opportunity, provided by the St Helens Chamber Manufacturing Forum. The initial meetings between Intaglio Creative and LJMU Horizons pointed towards the control and tracking of materials and products from goods-in, through to dispatch as being the area where the greatest value could be added.

However, as the project progressed it became apparent that solving problems with the masking of the blocks was the highest priority. The agility within the LJMU Horizons team and the broad expertise available within LJMU allowed the seamless incorporation of the mid-project change in emphasis.




LJMU Horizons initially provided information regarding automated and semi-automated stock and process control to Intaglio Creative. This was identified as a critical time for the company to address these areas, with the installation of a new storage system. Barcoding was focused on as a representative way to illustrate data gathering, provision of real-time monitoring, analysis of metrics and stock management. This primarily took the form of B2B introductions, made to facilitate demonstrations of current technology and discussions of the most appropriate solutions.

During this phase of the assist, it became apparent to Intaglio Creative that the self-adhesive component of the masking material degraded and failed under low ambient temperatures. The weather at the time of assist and inefficiencies in the pragmatic solution adopted for pre-heating the stone substrate, made addressing this problem the new priority. An initial dissemination of basic information regarding efficient heating methods was undertaken, along with the sourcing of representative suppliers for suitable industrial ovens. This led to a deeper analysis allowing a more sophisticated and complete solution to be formulated.

As a direct consequence of this investigation, key aspects of the process were uncovered that allowed an immediate move to a more efficient batch procedure for masking. Building on this, a detailed proposal was shared for batch production, including an explanation of how timings can be optimised.

The LJMU teams consulted with academics regarding the capability and potential markets for the laser engraving machine, previously purchased by Intaglio Creative. This allowed focused research into novel markets and products for the company to exploit, enabling the company to unlock the potential of a notionally redundant asset.




Intaglio Creative now have the knowledge to work more efficiently and to monitor their processes. A useful additional aspect of the technologies introduced is the ability to adopt a more sophisticated method for stock control and traceability once dispatched. Major headway has been made regarding energy use and time taken regarding the critical process of masking in low ambient temperatures. The ability to utilise what is currently an unused asset not only starts to provide an investment in the plant but also opens up new revenue streams for the company.

The methodologies and hardware that Intaglio Creative have been exposed to will help to future-proof them against energy cost variability and variation in demand for their primary products.


“As a part of the Horizons project, LJMU has helped us to radically and efficiently improve our process. After the initial assessments and reviews the team at LJMU quickly helped identify pinch points in some of the process stages. Some of the options have been seamlessly and quickly integrated, helping to improve processes immediately.”

Kevin O’Brien, Company Director, Intaglio Creative


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