Ashford Colour Press in £2m investment

Hannah Jordan
Monday, February 18, 2013

Hampshire-based book printer Ashford Colour Press has invested in an HP T230 colour inkjet web press with inline Hunkeler Modular Glued Book Solution in a move to short-run colour book printing.

The investments, which were signed for at Hunkeler’s Innovationdays event in Lucerne, Switzerland last week, are a response to increased demand from publishers for fast turnaround, cost effective, short run colour books.

According to managing director Robert Hutcheson the move marks the start of a repositioning of the £14m Ashford Group, which includes creative marketing and global sourcing arm Jellyfish Solutions.

He said: "Publishers are all looking for efficiencies and they want the same shorter runs on colour books that they have had on black and white and with this investment we can now offer cost effective mono, two and four colour printing from 50 to 20,000 copies.

The company, with its 128-strong workforce, has already been working with mono web digital printing for around six years and predominantly produces academic and educational books as well as offering binding services and CD and DVD duplication.

Hutcheson added: "We are now able to offer publishers unit rates on low run colour printing, only previously possible through litho production. This will enable them to look at short print run models offering potential savings on storage and distribution, wastage, lead times whilst also improving their cashflow."

Hutcheson said that Ashford would also look to boost revenue through printing out of print titles that publishers would previously have seen as financially unviable.

"There is now no reason for a book to go out of print again," he said.

With 95% of its customers based in the UK and the remaining in the US, Hutcheson said that although there was ongoing decline in the UK market, growth was still possible.

"The market is tough and there is a big drop off in quantities but we are seeing a big movement of black and white print work coming back to the UK from the Far East and I think there will also be an influx of colour books.

"I really think that will balance out the drop off on educational and academic book sales."

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