Tradeprint.co.uk orders first KBA as part of £4m spend

Simon Nias
Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tradeprint.co.uk has ordered a KBA Rapida 106 as part of a £4m spend that will also include a range of post-press and "added-value finishing" equipment, some of which was sourced at Ipex 2014.

The eight-colour perfecting B1 press is the company's first KBA machine. It will be installed alongside an existing Heidelberg XL 106 10-colour perfector, with a second XL 106 due to follow in 2015.

The second XL was originally going to be a pre-built press ordered in June 2013 for install the following August; however, Tradeprint said that order had been postponed and would be replaced with a new XL 106 that the company could have built to its own specification.

Tradeprint.co.uk managing director Rod Scrimgeour said: "In every press investigation we've done it's always been between Heidelberg and KBA and KBA have some different technology we'd like to explore a bit further.

"There are some subtle differences between the presses that allow us to put the right job on the right press to get the best efficiency; having an 18,000sph machine will allow us to be more efficient on certain jobs.

"From our investigation and demonstrations there's a very fine line in terms of which has the best makeready - the proof overall will be in the pudding but KBA have brought out some interesting technologies that challenge those makereadies."

These include KBA's Simultaneous Plate Changing, Sidelay free Infeed System, PlateIdent, DataMatrix-Select and CleanTronic Multi wash-up technology, all of which have been specified with the press, as well as its Flying JobChange system, which the press will be configured with the option to retrofit.

The Dundee-based firm's £4m investment plan will also include an array of other "predominantly post-press" equipment, including a new guillotine, "potentially another folder" and "added value finishing equipment".

Scrimgeour said that some of this equipment had been pre-planned while some had come on the back of Ipex 2014. "Ipex probably opened our eyes up to at least two of the items we're considering - it was a very good show for us and we got a lot out of it, but that only happens from doing your research beforehand," he added.

Meanwhile, the firm has also launched printgateway.co.uk, a white label solution that Tradeprint's trade clients can bolt into their own websites to cut out the administration involved in taking orders from their customers and then placing them via the Tradeprint website.

Scrimgeour said it was "purely demand driven". He added: "The key component in the whole system is it reduces the admin cost - which is what web-to-print is all about. There's a very, very minimal charge to cover the costs, for which you get the added infrastructure."

Scrimgeour added that the UK market was "so far behind" in terms of web-to-print adoption.

"There's a degree of investment involved and that's what scares people - we've been fortunate to be able to invest and I would say we are predominantly a software company," he said, adding that it was frustrating to see UK customers buying print over the web from printers in mainland Europe.

"We want to be the equivalent to those businesses in the UK - we don't export any print yet but I would say, watch this space."

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