Micropress adds second Primera in automation drive

Jo Francis
Thursday, July 22, 2021

Micropress has upgraded its in-house saddle stitching capabilities with a high-spec Primera MC line from Muller Martini.

Cross: recent trading has been close to pre-pandemic levels
Cross: recent trading has been close to pre-pandemic levels

The new saddle stitcher was installed this month and is now fully operational.

Director Rob Cross said the firm had thought “long and hard” about what specification to choose, before deciding on four flat pile feeders and a cover feeder, plus stream feeders on all the stations for “greater automation and productivity”.

The Primera also has a single hole punch and loop stitching capability, which will allow the firm to bring some existing contract work that is currently outsourced, in-house.

It joins an existing six-station Primera MC and replaces a nine-year-old Heidelberg ST 450. 

Cross said that analysis of the firm’s work mix showed that a four station setup would comfortably handle most jobs, with the six station line available to cover other work as required. 

Micropress also runs a Muller Martini Alegro perfect binder alongside a host of other finishing equipment. It also has in-house mailing facilities at its 6,500sqm production facility in Reydon, Suffolk. 

“This is the first time we have put stream feeders in but we are now doing a lot more longer run work so we think they will come in to their own then,” Cross explained.

He said the business was handling long runs of 40,000-50,000 “all the time”.

“We also think that they [the stream feeders] will be very good for short run work as we can pre-load the entire job while the operator is making ready. The hole punch and loop stitching will be a great addition to our in-house capabilities,” he added. 

The £650,000 spend takes the firm’s investments over the past 12 months to £1.25m. Micropress’ automation drive also included the installation of two MBO CoBo-Stack robotic arms at the end of last year. 

Just over a year ago the business completed a previous £1.4m spend, including a new 1,500sqm paper warehouse. It then went on to bring spot UV and embellishment in-house with the UK's first Autobond Autobond Mini 53 TH-SUV-F-S laminator with high-build inkjet spot UV and foiling.

The commercial print business runs four Heidelberg XL model sheetfed presses, two eight-colour B1 long perfectors, and B1 and B2 five-colour models. It also runs digital printing kit from Xerox and Heidelberg.  

Core products are magazines and catalogues, brochures and leaflets, perfect bound books, and a full range of direct mail services.

Cross said that trading in the traditionally quiet summer months of June and July had been “quite positive”.

“We’ve been touching pre-pandemic levels which is good. It will be interesting to see what September and October bring.”

The firm had 148 employees and sales of £14.2m in its most recent results, for the pandemic-impacted 2020 calendar year. 

 

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