Flexpress completes trade transformation with Horizon install

Richard Stuart-Turner
Thursday, July 19, 2018

Flexpress has completed its transformation to become a full-service trade printer after investing in a Horizon StitchLiner 5500 with two VAC-1000 tower collators.

The kit, which was supplied by Intelligent Finishing Systems (IFS), was installed around three months ago at the Birstall, Leicester-based company’s premises.

It has been brought in to support production from the firm’s new HP Indigo 12000 digital colour press, installed earlier this year. The business also runs Ryobi 924 and 524GX LED-UV litho presses and HP and Canon wide-format machinery.

Flexpress managing director Steve Wenlock said: “We made a conscious decision to become a trade printer 12 months ago and since then everything we have done has been geared towards providing the most effective and reliable service.

“We had an existing bookletmaker but could not risk there being any downtime and we needed additional capacity to support the HP Indigo.”

The firm looked at a range of alternatives before making the investment.

“We’ve already got the Duplo iSaddle and also some Horizon equipment, so we figured it might be worth having more options. You get advantages and disadvantages with all machines, so we wanted to cover everything,” said Wenlock, who called the device the “perfect complement” to the firm’s existing finishing setup.

“We also complete a lot of separate collating and the two towers will help us manage that work faster which ensures booklet production can continue uninterrupted.”

The StitchLiner 5500 is rated at 5,500bph, taking coated and uncoated stock weighing between 64gsm and 210gsm. Although IFS reports that many customers successfully run heavier stocks. It takes sheets at a maximum size of 350x500mm.

The machine can work from flat four-page sections, eliminating the need for separate bindery stages such as signature folding and creasing to be undertaken.

Along with a three-knife trimmer, it has an ACF-30 Accumulator for scoring and plow-folding, and an icon-based colour touchscreen for setup times of less than two minutes.

Flexpress has 26 staff and a turnover approaching £2.4m. It operates across two units totalling 929sqm space, one of which it owns and one of which it leases.

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