GPS Colour Graphics upgrades pre-press and digital ops

Jez Abbott
Monday, April 24, 2017

One of Northern Ireland’s biggest commercial printers has ramped up production with a £450,000 spend centred on upgrading its pre-press operation and the installation of what it claimed was the first Xerox iGen 5 in the province.

Belfast-based GPS Colour Graphics spent £150,000 on the Fujifilm Superia technology, installed after Christmas, and around £300,000 on the iGen 5, which went in just before.

Both were in addition to existing kit that includes three Komori LS perfectors, a 10-colour and two eight-colour presses.

The CTP kit was bought to boost production capacity, trim costs and burnish GPS' environmental credentials. The PlateRite HD 8900Z B1+ thermal device will run alongside an existing PlateRite 8800Z, giving it the capability to produce in excess of 100 B1 plates per hour, 24 hours a day.

The iGen 5 joins a Xerox CP1000 and is being used for leaflets, business cards and packaging. Production director Bryan McClay said the machine was the only one in Northern Ireland.

On the CTP system he said: “The investment was driven by the need to both feed three presses with plates and have a back-up system should anything go wrong.

“Our existing 8900Z machine produces a plate every 90 seconds, but the new CTP system produces one every minute. The two can produce 102 plates an hour.

“But as well as the production speeds we also liked the green credentials of the new CTP system; there is less chemistry dosage and not so much waste.

GPS moved to a new 11,600sqm purpose-built facility two weeks before Christmas, which is five times the size of its old base less than a mile away in the capital city.

GPS dates back to 1797 when founder Joseph Smith set up shop at 34 High Street, Belfast. Today the 80-staff company makes £8m turnover.

The CTP deal involved a renewal of an existing Superia LH-PJE plate supply contract for another three years.

McClay said the Fujifilm plate was the best on the market in terms of reproduction, handling and on-press manageability.

His company produces conventional litho and digital printing ranging from small runs produced digitally to runs of over half a million rolling off the three B1 perfecting presses.

“The combination of GPS's exacting processes and the consistent reliability of the Superia LH-PJE plate enables us to conform to international colour standard ISO 12647 across all our presses – vital given our clients are some of the UK’s and Ireland's biggest brands.”

He added GPS had a string of environmental credentials and the new platesetter more than measured up, with reduced power consumption and intelligent processor management.”

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