CPI inks deal to revive Timsons presses

Jo Francis
Friday, September 24, 2021

Timsons book printing presses are to be revived through a new joint venture between CPI UK and Timsons Engineering.

CPI and Timsons Engineering team seal deal
CPI and Timsons Engineering team seal deal

Historic UK press manufacturer Timsons stopped making its offset book presses in 2014 in order to focus its efforts on digital presses, but the strategy failed and the Kettering company was shuttered in early 2015. 

Timsons Engineering is a separate operation and continued in business, offering contract engineering services and also parts and service to the Timsons customer base.  

Now book printer CPI UK has teamed up with Timsons Engineering to set up a new joint venture, TimsonsCPI. 

CPI noted that the trade book market had proved resilient in recent years, with web offset litho remaining “the most productive means for bringing large volumes of books quickly to market”.

In a joint statement, the two companies said: “The creation of “Timsons CPI Limited” cements our strategic alliance, pulling together decades of experience and expertise in manufacturing some of the finest printing presses and printed books in the world. 

“Building on our long-established strong relationship, Timsons CPI will manufacture new web offset litho printing presses and associated equipment for the global book manufacturing sector.”

Matthew Baldwin, vice president of France-headquartered CPI Group, told Printweek that he believed other book printers with Timsons kit would welcome the move. 

“This venture should be seen as good news for the whole industry, it will provide the platform for a return of manufacturing Timsons presses available to all printers, which hasn’t been possible since Timsons went into administration in 2015. 

“Given how strong the market is, there is plenty of work to go round and I’d like to think that book printers see this news in a positive light, rather than focusing on historic rivalries,” he said. 

The first project involves upgrading a 96pp Timsons T48 press at CPI William Clowes in Beccles, Suffolk to ZMR spec (zero makeready).

Regarding the amount of investment involved, Baldwin added: “Suffice to say the investment in the first project by CPI for the ZMR upgrade is over £1m.”

Printweek understands the upgrade will increase throughput on the press by at least 30%-40%. 

The CPI Group has 16 factories across five countries in Europe and produces some 450m books a year. Baldwin said the group currently had 19 Timsons presses across its sites, “with a 20th due to be installed in France early 2022”.

After the Timsons press business shut down, Timsons Engineering entered into a similar partnership with Kolbus, however this subsequently lapsed. 

Jon Walker, former Timsons technical sales director and now technical director at Kolbus Autobox, commented: “The opportunity was there but the timing was wrong, things were still a bit raw. We didn’t subsequently renew the agreement because the focus at Kolbus had changed towards packaging,” he explained.

“I’m excited to hear about this opportunity for British manufacturing and hope it can breathe some new life into the Timsons business. I see this as a good opportunity for both parties and it makes obvious sense for CPI.”

Kolbus owns the intellectual property to the T-Fold variable folder previously made by Timsons, and still makes that product for the digital printing market.

Picture shows: front left Tanya Dunbar managing director of trade books at CPI UK, with Ian Sharp, managing director at Timsons Engineering owner EAT Holdings. 

Behind, from left to right: John Evans CPI Group legal director, Matthew Baldwin, and Timsons Engineering directors Martin Hayes and Giovanni Piazza.



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