Flexpress ups productivity with mega HP and RMGT spend

Richard Stuart-Turner
Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Trade printer Flexpress has taken delivery of an HP Indigo 100K digital press and is set to install an RMGT (Ryobi) 970 LED UV press in the summer, with the investment in the pair set to total around £2m.

Wenlock: "Part of our strategy is to maximise productivity per head"
Wenlock: "Part of our strategy is to maximise productivity per head"

Purchased direct from HP, the Indigo 100K was installed at the Leicester-based business last week and is replacing an Indigo 12000. The new RMGT litho press, which will replace an existing RMGT 920, is due to be installed around July, when the company is traditionally a little quieter, according to managing director Steve Wenlock.

He told Printweek: “I guess we like to think a little differently at Flexpress and part of our strategy is to maximise the productivity per square foot of our premises, as well as maximise productivity per head.

“This means we’ll always invest into something that can give us more productivity for the same or similar space. The new 100K runs 30% faster than our current 12000 and downtime is much improved meaning a productivity uplift of around 50% overall.

“Similarly, the new Ryobi 970 LED UV, with a higher specification than our current machine, such as simultaneous, fully automatic plate changing and other wizardry, [and] reduces job changeover times to such an extent we can produce 50% more work in the same time.

“In the case of the 970, it also gives us a slightly larger print area which we’ve sometimes found a little restrictive on the 920.”

Flexpress installed its first HP Indigo press 10 years ago, and Wenlock said the manufacturer had worked with the company through both good and challenging times “for longer-term mutual advantage”. He felt his business had “more reasons to stick with what we know than experiment with what we don’t”.

Meanwhile, Wenlock added the company has only known M Partners, which will supply the RMGT press, since it took over the RMGT 9 series dealership from Apex Digital Graphics in 2018, but has been pleased with its service to date.

“Everything we’ve learned about them, and the way they’ve worked with us, has impressed us. As a bonus many of the technical team, who we’ve got to know and trust, transferred from Apex.”

He added: “We’ve been using Ryobi presses for about 20 years and after visiting the factory in Japan in 2019 were even more assured that they’re right up there with the best technology-wise, and better than most price-wise, so we see no reason to change.

“It seems more people are switching to Ryobi than switching away from them and in the new 970, they’ve addressed all the things we felt could be improved over the 920.”

Flexpress also operates an RMGT 524 LED UV press and a Ricoh Pro C7200 digital machine. In September the business upgraded its creasing and folding capability by installing a Morgana DigiFold Pro XL.

Its wide range of finishing kit also includes a Horizon BQ-500 four clamp perfect binder, which was installed last year to manage an increase in book printing orders.

“We still have a new guillotine due to arrive in February and we’ll need a new CTP system to handle the bigger plates in spring, but our 2022 investment strategy moves away from equipment and more towards improving how we operate,” said Wenlock.

“So, things like solar panels, factory layout and web functionality improvements are all in the pipeline.”

Operating from 743sqm premises, Flexpress employs 19 staff and is expecting to achieve a turnover of around £3m in 2022.

For more information on Flexpress' products and services, visit Printweek’s Services Portfolio+ platform: servicesportfolioplus.com/company-list/Flexpress

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