Oakdene Services in NI RMGT first

Richard Stuart-Turner
Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Oakdene Services has installed the first four-colour RMGT 920 LED-UV litho press in Northern Ireland as it looks to enhance its trade print offering.

McMullan: "The advantage of being able to cut stuff and get it straight out the door was a massive plus"
McMullan: "The advantage of being able to cut stuff and get it straight out the door was a massive plus"

Installed in mid-June, the SRA1 machine has replaced a used SRA2 Sakurai press that was installed in April 2020, at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, but has now been part-exchanged.

It subsequently looked around the market at other options, including from Komori and an eight-colour used RMGT press, but director Jamie McMullan told Printweek that would have been “far too much capacity for where we are at the moment”.

The four-colour RMGT 920 was supplied by M Partners, who McMullan said “have been very good – we’ve been really impressed with them”, and that this investment “still represents a massive increase in capacity for us”.

Discussing the benefits of LED-UV, McMullan said: “We’re fairly tight for space here so the advantage of being able to cut stuff and get it straight out the door was a massive plus, and obviously that in turn helps with lead times, which is critical.

“We were on a conventional dryer before and this just made more sense. We also do a fair amount of shorter run work, because the LED inks are more expensive, so it doesn’t really make sense with traditional B1 long-run magazine work, for example.”

McMullan said the company can handle runs up to 5,000 to 10,000 on the press but that due to its minimal makereadies and quick fully-automated plate changing, booklet runs as low as 200 to 300 units could also be profitable.

“One of the major draws of this press is that it bridges from higher run digital work of 500 units right up to medium runs – there’s a massive range of jobs there,” he added.

McMullan said the company will be pushing its trade side with the new machine, which currently makes up around 25% of its turnover, with long-held local government contracts and public sector clients, and its promotional merchandise side, Zanzo, making up the remainder of its business.

“Maintaining what we do more efficiently is the first thing – in the last two weeks our sheet output has been about two and a half times what it would have been on the other press, so it’s obvious we’ve got capacity and we need to fill it.

“We’ve landed one new contract already with a new client which is good and going to help. Our goal for the machine is to get it running on two shifts, which would give us between four and six times the capacity output that we would have had before overall – which is not going to happen overnight.”

The company has invested £1m overall in the last year, on the new press as well as a used Horizon Stitchliner 5500 that was installed a year ago and a Komori Apressia CT115 guillotine, which is due to be installed in the next few weeks. Both have been supplied by Portman Graphic.

A Screen CTP system supplied by GPMI was also installed in March this year, while the company has switched to Agfa’s Eclipse processless plates.

The business also offers finishing services including folding, bookletmaking, and standard handwork in-house.

Based in Newtownabbey, north of Belfast, at premises just over 1,000sqm in size, Oakdene Services predominantly serves businesses in Northern Ireland and the UK mainland, with the majority of the growth on its trade side coming from the UK mainland.

The company has 12 staff and turns over between £1m and £2m annually but it is targeting growth of 50% in the new RMGT machine’s first year, and then wants to get up to the £2.5m to £3m mark.

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