Clays adds first Heidelberg to press hall

Jo Francis
Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Clays has installed its first Heidelberg sheetfed press with a highly-specified XL106 model sourced by Exel Printing Machinery.

The XL106 at Clays has been in partial production for two weeks
The XL106 at Clays has been in partial production for two weeks

The Bungay book printer runs a wide range of conventional and digital printing equipment, but its press hall has been dominated by Komori sheetfed litho presses up until now. 

Clays needed to buy a new press after a major mechanical fault on its six-colour Komori Lithrone 640 rendered the press a write-off by its insurance company. 

Exel sourced the 2014 Speedmaster XL 106 5-colour LX model from Switzerland, and it proved to be the best fit for Clays which also looked at other options from Heidelberg and Komori. 

It’s also the first time the £80m turnover firm, which is owned by Italian group Elcograf, has bought a used press.

“Clays were looking for a specific machine to replace the Komori. They wanted a fairly young machine with a low impression count that was fitted with full UV drying and were happy to consider any manufacturer,” explained Ian Bendy, sales director at Exel Printing Machinery. 

Exel organised the relocation and transportation of the Speedmaster and the firm’s engineers have now carried out the installation and commissioning, with training in process. 

Clays operations director Ian Smith commented: “Having a machine installed can be a stressful time, but we have been very happy with the way that Exel have dealt with the whole process. Buying a used machine and being a Heidelberg is new to us, but the whole process has gone very smoothly. 

“We still have the Exel demonstrators here on site while we become accustomed to the machine but the machine has been in partial production for two weeks and we are very happy with the choice we made.”

The Speedmaster will be used to produce book covers and jackets. 

Bendy said the damaged Lithrone had been sold “as is” to China. 

Earlier this year Clays announced that it would be making its biggest investment yet in printing technology, with a Lithoman IV book press from Manroland Goss Web Systems set to arrive in the summer of 2022. 


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