Employee takeover culminates in new Canon i300 at Severn


Severn has installed a Canon Océ Varioprint i300 sheetfed inkjet press to conclude a £1.2m, six-month reequip as it celebrates the first anniversary of becoming 100% employee owned.

In March last year, the founding Pealing family stepped down from the Gloucester-based company and it became a employee ownership trust that is managed by elected employee representatives and a new executive team, headed by former CPI UK group chief operating officer Ian Smith as managing director.

Over the past half-year, Severn has focused on a seven-figure investment drive that saw it take on a Canon imagePress C8000VP, a Horizon BQ470 perfect binder, two enclosing lines from Neopost and a Komfi Delta 52 laminator – alongside a new IT infrastructure.

The i300 was delivered in April and has run since mid-May. It is the first in the UK to be installed with Canon’s latest MX inks for ultra-high-definition inkjet printing, formulated with specialised colour grip pre-coats added to optimise print for a variety of substrates. 

The machine went into full 24-hour production last Monday (4 June).

“With the i300 being sheetfed and capable of taking on a wide variety of substrates alongside its ultra-high-definition capabilities, it represents is a real advantage when looking at the requirements of the publishing market,” said Smith.

“Severn has operated in the traditional commercial print market for more than 40 years and the new management team has experience in the commercial and publishing markets, we believe this new technology presents further growth opportunities within those sectors’’

“Over the past nine months we have grown revenues 20% and we are looking to continue growing the business in this short-run markets. Severn has always been well-invested with a strong environmental credentials and this will continue.”

Canon’s B3-format Océ Varioprint i300 can print at speeds up to 300 A4 images per minute on weights from 60-300gsm. It can print on a wide range of substrates, including uncoated, inkjet treated and inkjet coated.

Smith’s board includes fellow newcomer operations director Martin Clegg, and production director Lyndon Murray who was with Severn before the transition. They hired four new members of staff with inkjet experience to work on the i300.

Severn’s technology portfolio also comprises presses from Heidelberg and Komori, including a Komori H-UV installed by the previous owners. Finishing services such as folding, enclosing and laminating that were previously outsourced have now been brought onsite.

The firm had a “static” turnover of £4m for several years ahead of the new board’s establishment, according to Smith. One year on, its turnover now sits at £5m. It employs 50 members of staff on 2,044sqm premises.

In February this year, Severn was named Environmental Printer of the Year at the British Association for Print and Communications (BAPC) Awards 2018.

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