Part of £4m 2023 spend

SMP adds to firepower with EFI Nozomi and Kolbus kit

SMP secured a number of new business wins this year

SMP Group is close to completing a major investment round that includes an EFI Nozomi single-pass inkjet and a second Kolbus Autobox box making line.   

The London-based retail and OOH specialist has three operations: insight specialist Spark Emotions, creative agency Crowd, and print and production operation SMP.

SMP’s print offering includes digital, litho and screen printing and the revamp of its setup also included two Aleph Laforte 400 digital printers, installed last year.

The EFI Nozomi 14000 LED is just being installed at SMP’s 8,361sqm production facility and will undergo testing ahead of going into full production from January 2024.

It can print onto corrugated board up to 1.4x2.4m in size, and from 0.8mm-12mm in thickness. Top speed is 75 linear metres per minute.

SMP said its expanded ability to print direct to corrugated would open up new opportunities for the business, which operates flexible shift patterns and can run 24/7 to meet client demand. 

The Nozomi adds to a raft of digital firepower including two Inca X3 models with robotics, a Durst Rho P10-250, HP Scitex XP3500 and Canon Imagepress C10010VP.

SMP said that all investments had to meet strict investment criteria, including improved quality, improved productivity, reduction in waste, better utilisation, best use of labour employed and reduced energy consumption.

“The Nozomi ticked these boxes for us.”

It has invested £4m in capex this year.

CEO Bradley Slade commented: “We continue to invest in people, technology and capital equipment to allow us to continue to improve the products and services we provide our clients.

“This means we continue to innovate and deliver quality production and value for money for our clients. We had a number of new business wins in 2023 and we look forward to an exciting 2024.”

SMP has also boosted its box making capacity with a new Kolbus Autobox AB300, which joins an Autobox Boxer BX200 that was installed in 2016, and has made “millions” of boxes since, running 24/6.

The new Autobox AB300 has an AF300 automatic feeder with rising scissor lift and an MC300 multicut module. The setup can produce a near “infinite” range of sizes including larger format boxes and wraps up to 2.6m wide.

Inline slotting, slitting, double creasing and the removal of waste and hand holes can take place in a single pass.

Finishing department manager Stephen Jepp, said the firm’s Boxer had delivered “one of, if not the, quickest return on investment we have ever had”.

“We did investigate the market as to options available to us when the project for an additional machine was raised. The Kolbus Autobox remained the best suited to our business with its rapid set times and extremely good run speeds for a short to medium run box maker. In fact, we couldn’t find anything faster.”

The Nozomi installation has seen SMP retire an older Koenig & Bauer Rapida 105 litho press, but still retains its five-colour Rapida 162A and five-colour Manroland R905-8.

The group employs 187 and had sales of £35m last year. It won Customer Service Team of the Year - Large Enterprise at the 2023 Printweek Awards.