John Brailsford Printers transforms operations with post-press spend


A Rotherham printer has made an “enormous” impact on productivity after installing a host of new equipment, including a bookletmaker and binder.

John Brailsford Printers bought a Horizon SPF-200/FC-200A with two VAC-600 air-suction collators and a Horizon BQ-270V perfect binder following an operational review.

The 16-staff company invested around £65,000 with the aim of improving efficiency at the £1.2m turnover business in South Yorkshire.

The equipment can produce 4,500 A5 booklets an hour and has replaced an older Horizon model bought at Ipex around 18 years ago.

“The impact on productivity has been enormous,” said owner and managing director John Brailsford. “It is a huge investment.”

He added: “We don’t view the return on investment; we consider the return in terms of labour and time savings. We had a few jobs that needed collating and hand marrying.

“The investment won't add to our turnover but makes us more efficient. If someone wants stitch folding by tomorrow afternoon we can now do it without relying on outsourcing.

“And with the twin towers we can handle a range of jobs quickly and easily,” he said of the kit that joins a Horizon PF-40L B3+ paper folder and a Horizon CRF-362 creaser folder.

“We had a 2,000-run, 48-page bimonthly that we had to collate and hand marry. That took three to four hours and now it takes 45 minutes. That alone is a saving of £600 a year.

John Brailsford Printers produces work for local business and multinational operations. Its 16 staff run Presstek 52DI and 34 machines, including Heidelberg Printmasters and two Xerox Versants.

“Having these new machines allows us to take a step back and re-evaluate how every job is completed. We check if there is a better way or if we can save time and labour.

“We now have more capacity and that means we can take on more work without needing people. It is making such a difference.”

The 4,500bph JDF-ready Horizon SPF/FC-200A replaced a Horizon stitcher that was 16 years old.

It features a 200-programme job memory storage for instant recall, an icon-based touch-screen for job set-up and two VAC-Turbo 600 power collators with 12 stations.

Brailsford said: “The new system is very easy to use and the deeper bins mean less operator input is required.

“Before we might have had to fill them up four or five times; now it is only once. We also use the collators for carbonless sets and again our operators can fill up the bins and leave them.

“We adore the SPF/FC 200a. We have installed some additional software that enables us to take pre-collated printed sheets in reverse order to create a block for the bookletmaker.

“That means they just need top and bottom trimming otherwise you would need to trim each set.”

The Horizon BQ270V was bought to improve inhouse binding capabilities: “It is like a Rolls-Royce that comes out of the garage on a Sunday and that I am really proud of.”

The BQ270 has a cycle speed of 500cph and intuitive icon-based colour touch-screen to access an on-board 200-job memory store.

An automated, sensor-activated digital calliper system that consistently measures book block thickness and automatically transfers this data to the binder for quick, automated set-up with no cycle lag time for books of different thicknesses.

He added: “We were persuaded by IFS that if we invested in the system we would win work. It has been in a few months now and that has certainly been the case.

“One day we might do a run of 250 and then a run of one, the next day 500 and then 10. But we can do those jobs quickly and easily. I don’t believe anyone else could produce better quality.”

In January, John Brailsford Printers celebrated its 30th year in business with a £220,000 Xerox and Schneider Senator investment.

Five months earlier it brought work back in-house to make big savings after installing a new Matrix Duplex Pneumatic double-sided B2 laminator.

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