Boosts digital and litho firepower

Solopress in HP Indigo first

Solopress and HP teams celebrate at Drupa 2024

Solopress is poised to install the UK’s first HP Indigo 120K, part of a £3.5m spend on new kit that also includes additional B1 litho capacity as the business sets a £60m sales target.

The deal for the HP Indigo 120K was confirmed at Drupa, with the press set to be shipped from the show to the firm’s Southend-on-Sea facility, where it will replace two existing Indigo 10K presses.

The B2-format 120K can run at up to 6,000 sheets per hour and can produce over two million sheets per month.

Managing director Simon Cooper said Solopress – Printweek’s reigning Company of the Year – had been talking to HP for a while about the 120K, and although the firm is technically a beta site for the press he expected it to “hit the ground running”.

“They’ve really focused on the reliability and also the usability. They’ve made it easier to operate and they’ve automated and are using AI to carry out a lot of tasks that were historically the responsibility of the operator,” he said.

“Image inspection technology is also massively improved. And automatic pallet replacement on the feeder allows us to keep in continuous production.”

The 120K will be installed next month after Solopress has completed the current spike in work caused by the upcoming General Election.

“The business is absolutely flying and election volumes are through the roof,” Cooper added.

“This week we are on track to clear £1m in revenues in a week for the first time.”

Posting on LinkedIn, Clare Revell, HP Industrial Print regional business manager for the UK and Ireland, said: “Congratulations to Simon Cooper and the team at Solopress for the purchase of first 120k in UK and I.

“We’re thrilled that you’re continuing to trail blaze, break records and partner with us on the next stage of your investment plan!”

Solopress has also acquired the high-spec Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106 from the shuttered John Dollin Printing Services site.

The four-colour plus coater press, acquired from Compass Business Finance, will be installed alongside the ten-colour with coater XL 106 Solopress installed in a new unit in autumn 2022.

The 120K installation will create space for some finishing equipment to be relocated into that production cell, while an additional 465sqm finishing hall – unit 4a – will house the litho finishing setup.

The business is investing a further £500,000 in infrastructure to support its expansion.

Cooper said that the fresh investment also include a new MBO T800 folder, a new Polar 137 guillotine and a third Horizon Ice 566 folder arriving in July.

“We are scaling up everywhere,” he added.

Solopress is on track for sales of at least £40m this year, and has set a turnover goal of £60m for 2026.

“We are laying the foundations to be able to get to £60m figure. I think probably there’s some more investments to come next year,” he explained.

A team of six from Solopress were at Drupa, with around 20 other colleagues from companies in the Onlineprinters Group also in attendance.

Solopress had sales of £35.5m last year and employs 230 people. The company is celebrating 25 years in business this year.