Komori Lithrone GLX740+CC

Wilkins buys £2.7m Komori show-piece off stand

Wilkins Group was presented with a print of French painter Constant Troyon's 'Watering Cattle' at Drupa
Wilkins Group was presented with a print of French painter Constant Troyon's 'Watering Cattle' at Drupa

Nottingham packaging printer Wilkins Group has returned from Drupa with a brand new Komori press, after buying the GLX-740+CC Advance EX exhibited at the show.

Fitted with “all the bells and whistles”, the new press – exhibited for the first time at Drupa – will be installed by late June, as Wilkins brings in extra capacity to help handle a significant increase in new business.

The new seven-colour sheetfed offset press, fitted with two coaters, has a PDF comparator to automatically check printing data, upgraded production speeds, and reduced power consumption of up to 18% while printing compared to previous models.

But for Wilkins, one of its most important benefits is that it could be shipped straight away, beating an eight or nine-month lead time.

“We’re in the throes of quite a large expansion programme,” explained Justin Wilkins, the family-run firm’s sales director and joint managing director.

“If I’m honest, we needed the capacity quickly; but the purchase is really also about speeding up the setup times so that we can be a bit more fleet-of-foot on changeovers, and also being able to control colour and check text in-line on the fly – the technology is superb.

“It has all the bells and whistles on it, as you’d expect – they wanted to spec the [Drupa] machine with all the new technology on it to demonstrate how advanced they are.”

Komori, he added, has been an old and reliable partner for the firm, so the decision to stay with the firm was easy.

“We’ve worked with them since the 90s – they’re very flexible, and they work well with us, so it makes sense from a spare parts point of view, our relationships, and everything that goes with that. It just makes sense to have a commonality in your print hall,” he said.

Wilkins’ new machine has arrived shortly after another significant Komori purchase, a £2.5m Lithrone GLX40 seven-colour 18,000sph carton press, installed in November 2023; the newest machine notched up another £2.7m. To support this jump in printing productivity, Wilkins has also signed for a new Heidelberg Mastermatrix 106 CSB die cutter, Mastermatrix 106 CSB, capable of up to 9,000 sph.

The new machinery will contribute to Wilkins’ ambitions for expansion: the group added 4,700sqm to its Nottingham headquarters in late 2022, and has been pursuing new and more business since.

“We’re looking at double-digit growth, between 10% and 15%, this year,” Wilkins said.

The company’s Sri Lankan, Chinese and Bangladeshi sites have also been performing strongly; equipped with a more mixed inventory of Komori and Heidelberg presses, they will look to take on more kit shortly, too.

“We’re not standing still,” Wilkins added.

The firm employs around 500 worldwide, with approximately 340 staff working from the UK site. Wilkins Group turned over £47m in the year to 2023.