21,000sph machine arrives 10 July

Park Communications powers productivity with 10-colour Speedmaster buy

L-R: Mason, Branch, Deckers, Philippe Geers, Denis Geers
Branch (2nd L) with Graphius owners Dennis and Philippe Geers (1st and 2nd from R)

London commercial printer Park Communications has invested in a post-Drupa model Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106 10-colour press, targeting a significant jump in productivity.

Arriving tomorrow (10 July), the new press is capable of 21,000 sheets per hour, around twice that of the company’s outgoing, older Koenig & Bauer 10-colour, now sold to another firm. It will be in production from August 2024.

To complement this leap in capacity, Park has simultaneously purchased a new Stahlfolder TH 82-P high-speed folder capable of handling around 16,000sph compared to the firm’s current fastest folder’s rate of 11,500sph. The TH 82-P will arrive in August 2024, replacing a Stahlfolder Ti 52.

“We go back well over 30 years and we’re still here, still strong, still growing – but it’s about recognising that you need to use the very latest technology in order to get the efficiency demanded by the market,” Alison Branch, managing director of Park, told Printweek.

“It’s not an easy time for printers, nor for many industries, so we all need to be more productive. To be more productive, you need to be able to invest in new technology.”

While the Koenig & Bauer press had done good service, Branch said 10 years of technological change had meant the market had raced ahead of the older machine’s capabilities.

The new press, a post-Drupa model, is bang-up-to-date, with Park anticipating significant economic advantages over the outgoing Koenig & Bauer, which was 10 years old.

For a first section, the new machine will need around 150 sheets to get good colour, according to Branch, with subsequent sections taking around 50-60 sheets.

“It’s a significant improvement,” Branch said.

“It also draws less energy, while also being doubly productive, so that’s a massive energy saving. Not only is that good for the environment – which is very important to us here – but also allows us to gain a small allowance [from the government] in recognition of our energy savings.

“This is about investing for the future, making sure that we stay profitable, reduce our impact on the environment, and that we remain one of the leading printers for subsequent generations.”

Park runs a mixed litho and digital house, with digital work run through an HP Indigo 15k production printer and Indigo 7800 four-colour printer, and litho work run through a Koenig & Bauer six-colour-and-coat machine, as well as the new 21,000sph XL 106.

While Park’s investments were made by Park itself, the company’s owner Graphius has encouraged investment across its European companies; Graphius installed an eight-colour XL 106 with coater at its Brussels plant in February, and will see another ten-colour, 21,000sph XL 106 installed at its Ghent factory over the summer. 

“We’ve had robust financial results last year, and that has helped us secure the funding for this new equipment – obviously, it also helps being part of such a financially strong European group,” Branch said.

The connection to parent company Graphius has proven useful for getting bulk rates on presses, Branch said.

“Nearly all the presses in the group are Heidelberg, so obviously you are able to gain improved pricing for multiple presses.”

Park Communications employs 89 at its East London site, turning over £15m annually.