Hickling & Squires goes processless with Fujifilm plates

Richard Stuart-Turner
Friday, May 21, 2021

Commercial printer Hickling & Squires has made its first investment in processless plate technology.

Gilbert: "It’s completely changed the way we work"
Gilbert: "It’s completely changed the way we work"

The Newthorpe, Nottinghamshire-based business took delivery of Fujifilm’s new, high-quality 8-up EM Setter thermal CTP unit in March, to replace an aging platesetter that the company said was starting to prove increasingly unreliable.

The business said it has already experienced substantial time, cost, and labour savings, as well as a huge reduction in waste generated through the pre-press process, with no reduction in quality or reliability.

“We’d been Fujifilm plate customers for six or seven years. We’re very happy with the quality of product and level of service we’ve had from them over that time, so it was only natural that we would talk to them first,” said Hickling & Squires production director Jamie Gilbert.

“We’d also been looking to move over to processless plates for some time as well. We knew that the environmental benefits, as well as the cost, time, and labour savings to be gained in making that switch were considerable, but it was just a case of finding the right moment.”

He added: “With the old platesetter getting replaced anyway, it made sense on a number of levels to make sure that the replacement could take us down that processless route.

“In our conversations with Fujifilm, we quickly became convinced that their new EM Setter and processless Superia ZD plate was the right next step for us. It sounded like excellent value for money, and we already had tremendous confidence in Fujifilm’s ability to offer an exceptional level of service and support.”

Though initial conversations for the new kit took place in early 2020, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent UK lockdowns meant things got put on hold for a while.

“2020 was a tough year. Things slowed down a lot, especially during the first lockdown, and we got pretty concerned all over again when the third lockdown was announced in January 2021. But a year on, we’re actually as busy as ever and the future is looking very positive,” said Gilbert.

He added the company has been very happy with the new platesetter since it arrived two months ago.

“We’ve been able to get rid of our processor, which means no more processing chemicals and no more processing waste. We used to have to factor in servicing and maintenance costs for the processor as well, so that has all gone too.

“We’ve freed up staff time to put to more productive uses and the cost saving is already massive. It’s completely changed the way we work.

“Obviously we already had a very positive working relationship with Fujifilm, and I really couldn’t fault them on anything through the whole sales and installation process. They’ve been fantastic.”

30-staff Hickling & Squires serves a wide range of customers, from the leisure and hospitality sectors to higher education, retail, and the public sector. It also operates three B2 Heidelberg Speedmaster presses, and various Xerox digital printers including an Iridesse, which was the first to be installed in the UK in 2018.


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