Pureprint preps for peak with UK's first 100K

Darryl Danielli
Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Pureprint Group has installed the UK’s first HP Indigo 100K as the business ramps up digital capacity ahead of peak season for the gifting market, which, as one of the few upsides of the pandemic, could potentially smash previous peak records.

The HP Indigo 100K offers a 30% speed and 50% productivity boost
The HP Indigo 100K offers a 30% speed and 50% productivity boost

The B2 digital press, which was launched earlier this year, was delivered last week with the first sheets coming off the 6,000sph press today.

While installation was delayed slightly due to the impact of the second coronavirus lockdown in Israel, Pureprint CEO Mark Handford, who described the platform’s productivity as “game changing” said it was an investment the business had been planning for a while.

“We were planning to have the discussions with HP at Drupa; it’s a really exciting development for us.”

The 100K offers a 30% speed and 50% productivity boost over its B2 Indigo peers, while maintaining the same image quality .

It replaced the group’s oldest HP Indigo 12000 HD, which was one of the original 10000 models that had been upgraded, and will run alongside two of the new 12000 HD models that were installed in 2018 and 2019.

Handford said that while parts of the business had faced challenges during the course of the pandemic, others had thrived.

“One of those areas was digital print, in particular around the gifting world because everyone is at home, so many of our gifting clients are trading at 25%-40% up on last year,” he stated.

“Probably around 50% of our turnover in digital is from online, and we’ve seen a big increase from existing clients and some new wins too.”

Like most businesses, the group, which consists of the main commercial litho and digital supersite in Uckfield, East Sussex and the Imprint wide-format business in Newcastle, has faced challenges, but Handford said that the sheer breadth of its diversified offering and markets ensured its resilience and “kept us going quite nicely through this whole [Covid] nightmare”.

“The day lockdown was announced our wide-format business, which deals mainly with retail, well, it died, but in Uckfield in was the completely opposite, because it was in the middle of report and accounts season.

"Then when we got to May the Uckfield business dropped off and Newcastle was busy producing Covid signage for store re-openings, construction and education.”

Despite the challenges, he said that the business wanted to press ahead with the 100K in part because it had been planning for it since it first got wind of the press late last year, and secondly because as a result of the surge in gifting since the pandemic took hold. The company anticipates that the seasonal surge that starts around Black Friday at the end of November could be higher than ever.

“Like everyone, we have good days and bad days. But this new investment is very positive, because it changes the landscape. The [10000/12000] B2 Indigo is meant for certain products and is a great, great machine, but now the sorts of speeds we’re looking at with the 100K combined with the colour quality it offers, that brings us into another marketplace entirely.”

“So, it was important it was in and ready by the end of October as we’ve already had a lot of clients ask for extra capacity.”

In addition to the predicted surge in gifting production, which is already tracking around 30% higher month on month since lockdown, the extra capacity will also support another Covid-accelerated trend at the business: the migration of litho work to digital as clients place orders for shorter, more frequent runs.

“It’s being driven from two directions, one is variable data, obviously, as clients want to produce ‘smarter’ items, but we’re also seeing what were 20,000 item jobs last year being [batched] 2,000 item jobs this year and that brings them into the area that is going to suit this press.”

While the group has had to reshape certain areas of the business, shedding roles in some areas while recruiting in others, to reflect changes the market, headcount at group level remains around 400.

“We’ve had to change the ways we do certain things, the world has changed and our industry was hurting already, but there is good news out there, and I don’t just mean us, when I read about some of the things our competitors are doing I want to applaud them all.”

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