Dats Print Services has invested around £280,000 in a secondhand four-colour-plus-coater Heidelberg SM 52 Anicolor to enable it to take on new work, save time, and be more cost-competitive.
The press, which was bought from Heidelberg, was installed at the Irthingborough, Northamptonshire-based firm’s 2,800sqm premises around three months ago.
Dats production director Ian Brown said: “Although the machine was secondhand, Heidelberg offer a lot of add-ons.
“When I saw the machine at its last company it looked like a totally different machine. It was sent off to Belgium for a deep clean and when it was installed here it looked brand new.”
He added: “Heidelberg also offered us the training and a warranty. We know we’ve got that service back-up from them too, which we’ve always found to be good.”
The Anicolor replaced a Speedmaster 52-4, which the company sold on. The machine is being run alongside two Printmaster perfecting presses, a five-colour and a two-colour, and a Xerox 700 digital colour printer.
“This machine has got a coating unit, which we never had before, so we can now offer high-gloss and satin finishes, which is all done inline in one process through the press. We’ve also got an extended IR drying unit,” said Brown.
“In one shift we handled 37 makereadies for 500 run jobs with some versioning and the colour was consistent throughout. This machine has cut start-up waste to about 20 [sheets] – 200 was typical before – and makereadies are really fast.”
He added: “The Anicolor has brought us into another market for work that we were missing out on due to price before. The press is very good for booklet work so we’ve seen an upturn on that sort of work coming in, which may in turn mean that we invest in in-house bookletmaking facilities in the future.”
The press, which runs on a double-day shift, has increased plate demand and an additional person has been allocated to pre-press to ensure plate output is maximised.
“Before the press arrived the operators were finding the concept of having no ink zones strange but they have been really impressed by the technology,” said Brown.
“It has increased throughput by 30% over the machine it replaced and the addition of the coater means much faster turnarounds. We can now offer same-day when next-day delivery had been the norm.”
Dats Print Services has 25 staff and a turnover of around £1.6m, which it is hoping to increase to £2m following the Anicolor buy. The firm predominantly produces general commercial print, business stationery and booklets for print management companies.