Flexpress in UK Horizon first

Richard Stuart-Turner
Thursday, October 3, 2019

Trade printer Flexpress has become the first UK company to install the Horizon StitchLiner MKIII with the new high-capacity VAC-L600H tower collators.

Supplied by Intelligent Finishing Systems (IFS) and installed in September, the device has been taken on to streamline production at the Leicester-based company. It replaced a Horizon StitchLiner 5500 and Duplo iSaddle, which were part-exchanged in the deal.

Key to the firm’s investment decision was the 130mm-deep trays on the new tower collators. At more than double the depth of the 55mm trays on 10-station collators, this equates to 2.3 times less downtime for loading and greater uptime.

The new collators can also handle a wider range of substrates, boosting Flexpress’ flexibility, while the StitchLiner’s 6,000bph productivity enables faster turnaround of jobs.

“We chose this system as there isn’t anything out there that offers the same combination of versatility and overall performance,” said Flexpress managing director Steve Wenlock.

“We do a lot of landscape booklets and the new collators are designed with these in mind. We were aware of the limitations of the previous Horizon collators and when we saw the new collators in action in Germany, we knew they would handle everything we needed the machine to do. In addition, the deeper bins are more suited to the type of work we tend to do.”

Wenlock added the new system “is proving just as productive” as the two older machines that were replaced.

“In addition, we can instantly see there are quality improvements too, with flatter booklets and less skewing.

“Since it has been installed, we’ve effectively been able to save one salary as we have reassigned the operator of the old second machine elsewhere in the business.

“Plus, we’ve freed up floor space which, combined with other room saving initiatives will negate the need to expand the operation’s square metreage; at least for a short while.”

The latest investment follows the installation of three other Horizon finishing machines earlier this year: a BQ-280 PUR single-clamp perfect binder, an HT-30C three-sided trimmer and a CRF-362 creaser-folder.

“Everyone we deal with at IFS go above and beyond to help out. That includes the managing director Bryan Godwyn, the sales team, the service team and the office staff,” said Wenlock.

“The equipment they supply is all well-built and reliable. Because of this, they are usually our first port of call when we need new equipment.”

Running a mix of litho, digital and large-format printers from HP, Ricoh and Canon alongside a wide range of finishing kit, Flexpress employs 25 staff on a turnover set to grow beyond £2.4m this year.

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