Firstan invests £6m in double Komori purchase

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Wednesday 20 January 2016

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Firstan Quality Packaging has invested £6m in two Komori 18,000sph presses - a six-colour Lithrone GX40 with coater and a multi-unit Lithrone GX40RP with reverse printing and coating.


The Lithrone GX40 has already doubled Firstan's productivity

The Lithrone GX40 was installed at the Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire-based company’s 7,900sqm premises last month and the Lithrone GX40-RP is due to be installed around the end of May.

The presses both include the inline Komori PDF Comparator which automatically checks every element of the printed sheet against the proof, identifying even minute discrepancies.

Firstan said this is especially beneficial as it regularly produces foreign and multi-language versions of packaging.

The presses also feature non-stop feeder and delivery pile logistics systems, which convey stock to and from the press and transport empty pallets from feeder to delivery for re-use.

The firm, which also operates finishing kit including four Bobst die-cutters, looked at alternatives from Heidelberg and KBA but opted for the Komori press due to its high performance and fast makereadies and, for the GX40RP, its reverse print abilities.

“The GX40 has virtually doubled our productivity in its early stages so we’re looking for it to do more than that moving forwards,” said production director Paul Hartwig.

Firstan Pharmaceutical develops and manufactures pharmaceutical and healthcare packaging while Firstan Quality Packaging supplies food, confectionery, cosmetics and beverage cartons and sleeves.

Although the business has traditionally served UK customers, Hartwig said international opportunities - particularly across Europe - are growing.

“Several of our UK-based clients now have divisions within the EU and our new Komori presses give us the capacity to supply to these new territories and beyond,” he said.

Last summer Firstan became the first UK packaging printer to become a pressSign Offset Standard (POS) certified printer, which signifies it has the skills, equipment and knowledge to produce consistent colour quality, from file handling through to the final print.

The firm was also the first in the UK to achieve PS9000:2010, which is for the supply of pharmaceutical packaging materials, and in 2012 it achieved environmental quality standard ISO 14001.

Managing director Andrew Hartwig: “Komori Corporation’s own environmental conscientiousness in incorporating so many energy conserving initiatives into its high technology Tsukuba factory, its press manufacturing and assembly processes and into its press design certainly contributed towards our decision to place the order with Komori for the two new Lithrones.”

Firstan, which employs 140 staff and has a turnover of £18m, produces 500 million cartons a year and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

When the new Lithrone GX40RP joins the Lithrone GX40 later this year, the firm’s annual capacity will rise to two billion cartons and it is aiming to boost its turnover to £24m within a year.

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