Marstan Press invests £1.4m in new XL75 10-colour perfector

Simon Nias
Thursday, January 30, 2014

Marstan Press will install a new Heidelberg Speedmaster XL75 10-colour perfecting press next month as part of a £1.4m investment – the largest ever for the 60-year-old printer.

The new B2 press, which can print up to 18,000sph straight or 15,000sph five-back-five perfecting, replaces two older 11,000sph SM74 B2 perfectors – a 5/5 10-colour and a 3/2 five-colour.

In addition to being significantly faster, the XL75 has a dramatically reduced make ready, thanks to features such as automatic wash-up, semi-automatic plate changing and imagecontrol inline colour management.

Marstan Press sales and marketing director Martin Lett Jnr said: “Make-ready on the new press is around eight minutes compared to half an hour on the old 10 colour.

“The other big saving is on jobs where you have a full out solid right to the edge of the sheet, which we could only run at 5,000sph or 6,000sph on the old press and then you’d have problems with marking on the next job.

“Because the XL75 uses air to propel the sheet through the press, it eliminates that contact between the sheet and the cylinder, so you don’t get the marking issues.”

The higher running speed and faster make-ready on the new press means that Marstan Press has actually increased capacity by 50% by replacing its two older presses with the one new XL75.

Meanwhile, the reduction in make-ready waste – down from around 500 sheets per job to just 100 sheets – could save as much as £12,000 per month, according to Heidelberg’s calculation.

“We’ve taken a very conservative estimate of a quarter of that,” said Lett. “But together with the reduction in maintenance cost and wiping out the finance on the two existing presses we’ve been able to invest without increasing our cost base.”

The other cost-saving comes from the fact the company has gone from needing eight press minders to run the two presses, to four for the XL75, which Lett said was the regrettable side effect of modern presses.

“That’s the reality of modern technology, but the fact we’ve got 50% more capacity means it could lead to new jobs being created in the finishing department,” he added.

This is another area of the business Marstan has invested in, installing a secondhand Muller Martini Bravo Amrys Plus binder to replace an older machine from the same manufacturer.

This has led to a similar improvement in speed and efficiency, with the new machine running at 12,000 books per hour, versus 6,000bph on the old machine, and making ready in eight minutes, down from around 45 minutes.

“What we find is with the current throughput, it quite often occurs that our stitching line is jam packed and we’re running 24hrs in the bindery just to keep up,” said Lett.

“Installing the new machine means we have more capacity and more flexibility, but we can also remove overtime costs in the bindery and when we’re really busy and we do run 24hours we can get more volume through.”

Other new investments include a switch from Prism to a Tharstern MIS, ISO 12647-2 certification for the new press and an upgrade to the firm’s existing Heidelberg pre-press setup to allow it to use the manufacturer’s hybrid screening technology.

“The new screening gives us more definition in the shadows and the highlights and it can go up to twice the resolution of our conventional screening, so it allows us to tap into the really high quality end of the market,” said Lett.

Another potential market that has been opened up by the £1.4m investment is carton printing, because the XL75 can print on substrates up to 800micron thick and can perfect at full weight on any substrate at 15,000sph.

“This new machine will allow the sales team to target so many more customers,” said Lett. “The super-fast make readies will make us very competitive on multi-section booklet work, whilst the inline colour management, the ISO 12647-2 certification and the hybrid screening are all ideal for clients requiring the highest quality.”

Finance for the new press was provided by Close Asset Finance.

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