APS invests £5m into Preston Brook facility

Richard Stuart-Turner
Friday, March 24, 2023

APS Group has invested £5m into its 9,290sqm secure inbound/outbound Preston Brook facility near Runcorn.

Preston Brook is capable of processing 500–600 million packs a year
Preston Brook is capable of processing 500–600 million packs a year

The Stockport-headquartered group, which delivers secure customer communications, said the investment had followed significant wins in the financial and government sectors.

APS said it had been steadily investing throughout the pandemic, building on the capabilities of the Preston Brook facility, which opened in September 2020 and is capable of processing 500–600 million packs a year.

The Preston Brook operation comprises an inbound and outbound centre for secure print and plastic card personalisation and is also a nationwide delivery and fulfilment centre.

APS said it wanted to retain the ability to handle small jobs just as efficiently and cost effectively as it manages very large orders, so it simultaneously installed a smart factory facility in a new unit next door, handling smaller runs of 3,000 packs and under.

Preston Brook is also capable of handling “large-scale hybrid mail solutions” for a range of sectors, including financial services and the public sector.

APS Group operations director Stephen Goodall said: “Having this smart factory facility next to our main centre of operations means that we truly can handle any job, no matter how large or how small. The larger site handles all our low-variety, high-volume work, while our new smart factory does exactly the opposite, covering high-variety, low-volume jobs.”

The new kit, installed as part of the investment between August and November 2022 and all purchased direct from the OEMs, included a Ricoh Pro VC60000 high-speed colour inkjet line, which replaced one of the company’s two existing Ricoh colour IP5000s, and two Böwe Fusion Speed enclosers, which are capable of handling 30,000 packs an hour.

Additionally, a new MCS Eagle 40 inkjet spray device jets mail marks directly to envelopes at the mail sort stage, speeding up the downstream cycle time. APS said it is believed to be the only print company in the UK to have this capability.

The final new addition was another Ricoh device, a Pro V20100 mono machine, which is capable of printing at up to 150m/min.

APS also runs a raft of other litho and cutsheet digital kit as well as the continuous print lines, plus finishing including guillotines, folding lines, stitching lines, and die-cutting.

It is now looking at future expansion of the Preston Brook facility, including “a standalone disaster recovery solution”.

100% employee-owned, APS Group was founded in 1961 and helps brands with creative and content, customer communications, and customer experiences.

It employs over 900 staff globally and achieved a turnover of £181.3m in its most recent accounts filed at Companies House, for the year ended 31 January 2022.

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