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Vale Press celebrates 40 years with RMGT purchase

Vale Press is run and owned by the three Stowe brothers, Oliver, Tom, and Edward (L-R)
Vale Press is run and owned by the three Stowe brothers, Oliver, Tom, and Edward (L-R)

Cotswolds-based Vale Press has celebrated its upcoming 40th anniversary with its purchase of a brand-new SRA1 press from RMGT, due for installation in January 2025.

Owned and run by the three Stowe brothers, Vale Press largely focuses on short-run trade work with a mix of litho and digital production.

The new four-colour RMGT 920 press will take the place of Vale’s Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 75 B2-format press, and work alongside its CX 75 LE-UV. The shift into SRA1 alone will help the firm ramp up its print speeds dramatically, according to commercial director Edward Stowe.

He told Printweek: “We’re already running a double day shift. So we can put this new [RMGT] in and basically double our capacity straight away.

“At the moment, sadly, we’ve had to turn some work away when we have the finishing capacity, but we couldn’t physically get it printed in time.

“The work is there – so it’s just a case of grabbing hold of what you can.”

Heidelberg had been the natural choice for Vale Press for many years – the outgoing XL 75 is now eight years old – yet over several years’ consideration of their next press, the Vale team decided to go with RMGT, a new presence at the Vale factory.

“RMGT offers the SRA1 format – obviously that’s a starting point, and the UV is important to us,” Stowe explained.

What made the difference was visiting Leicester-based trade printer Flexpress, he added, where managing director Steve Wenlock showed the Stowes his own RMGT kit – and data accrued over several years showing that he had never had to buy a part for the machine, just its consumables.

“We spoke to him without [supplier] M Partners even being there, and he was very genuine in his praise of the machine – so we took the plunge then and there.”

Mark Stribley, co-managing director of M Partners, RMGT’s authorised distributor for the UK, said: “It was a delight to get to know the team at Vale Press.

“They have sifted through their options with a variety of technologies and suppliers, and arrived at the most effective, productive, and profitable solution to keep the business moving forward. Profitability means producing work cost effectively. 

“RMGT presses provide printers with an ultra-reliable litho press that offer the most effective cost per page.”

The new press will arrive just a few months after Vale Press celebrates 40 years since its foundation in August 1984.

Tom Stowe, Vale Press’ managing director, said: “Vale Press remains confident in the bright future of litho print. 

“Our mantra of quality over quantity has stood us in good stead over the last few years. We’ll continue to investigate further technological advancements as they become available and see how they can enhance our production mix, to carry us through the next 40 years.”