Book printer TJ in £1.5m-plus spend and rebrand

Richard Stuart-Turner
Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Cornish book printer TJ International has rebranded as TJ Books and installed a raft of new equipment as part of a £1.5m-plus investment drive aimed to increase its capacity and flexibility.

TJ specialises in both trade and STMA printing
TJ specialises in both trade and STMA printing

The Padstow, Cornwall-based business, which launched its new identity yesterday (1 September), said its investment strategy focused on the drive towards higher production values, smaller inventory, and reduction of publisher risk, along with the environmental advantages of producing on-shore.

Its new kit includes a Canon varioPrint iX3200 HD inkjet press, which will be installed next month. Additional to the company's fleet, it will run alongside two existing continuous-feed Canon ColorStream inkjet presses that now flow into a fully automated finishing line, providing a completed book within hours.

It has also invested in two Ricoh digital toner printers, a Pro C7200 and a Pro C9200, to replace existing Xerox machines, and a Duplo DuSense that will enable it to offer spot UV embellishments for short runs in-house.

The firm is also currently implementing a new MIS from EFI, which will go live at the end of the year. This will streamline TJ's front-end, giving its customers greater transparency and live information about their orders, and improving the company's workflow.

TJ managing director Andy Watts said the new brand represents “the company that we are today and what we are experts at – books”.

He told Printweek: “We've been planning the rebrand since the start of this year, it's part of our business strategy to refresh the business and give it a new identity.”

He added the Canon varioPrint iX3200 will fill a gap in the company's offering.

“In terms of colour, we currently run inkjet onto uncoated stocks, which the ColorStream presses offer, colour toner [on the Ricoh kit] and colour litho [on three Koenig & Bauer presses] but we didn't have high-definition inkjet colour – that's what was missing in our portfolio.

“The new press will be used for a bit of everything: it will migrate some work from our [two Canon] mono cut-sheet devices, which will be decommissioned; it will take some short-run work from our colour litho as those run lengths go down; and it will also give us the ability to do high-end colour books in short runs in the hundreds to support publishers who have that requirement.”

Watts said the business was trading at around 50% of its normal levels at its lowest point in May and June, due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, but that it is now seeing a steady increase month by month.

TJ was founded in 1969 and underwent a management buyout led by Watts in 2018. Since then it has gone through a series of structural changes to ensure it continues to thrive despite the uncertainties of Brexit and the coronavirus.

Employing 122 staff from a 7,700sqm site, the business turned over £17m last year and produces 1,000 titles a month, on average. It specialises in both trade and STMA (scientific, technical, medical and academic) printing.

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