Route One Print adds capacity with another Polar cutter


Route One Print is poised to take delivery of a Polar 137 N Plus guillotine from Heidelberg as it edges closer to its ambition of launching a same-day print service.

The online trade printer, which specialises in digital, litho and wide-format work, decided last summer to rearrange its factory and replace its process-based layout and separate cutting division with a new operating model, which sets up production streams according to the type of job.

Digital and litho were split, with each stream allocated a set of dedicated guillotines optimised for the type of work being handled. The new Polar will increase capacity on the litho function.

Last year the company boosted its capacity to run flyers, leaflets, booklets and business stationery with the purchase of a Speedmaster XL 75-10-P and commissioned IST to retrofit its Speedmaster XL 102 long perfector to LE-UV, providing dry sheets ready for immediate conversion. It was also the first UK printer to install an Indigo 10000 and a Horizon Smartstacker for trimming and finishing.

Booklet printing now comprises 25% of sales and both presses run round the clock. Analysis of data collected from Prinect digital workflows allowed Route One to establish that it needed to boost its cutting capacity if it was to keep pace with the growth.

Jack Wilmott, brand manager at Route One Print, said: “As we have grown we have found we are now able to batch-produce on our litho presses more efficiently so we have seen a huge increase in work passing through our litho trimming department.”

The Rotherham-based company, which employs 263 staff and is set to turn over £30m this year, already runs Polar guillotines throughout the business for all square-trimmed work. As well as the new N137, it boasts an N137-80, a 78x and two N94+ cutters. 

Willmott attributed the choice to the Polar’s robust build and reliability. He added that the programming interface was very straightforward and functional, allowing operators to build their own set of programmes and make appropriate adjustments for each job. The speed with which the blade can be changed also impressed, Wilmott said.

Once the new cutter has bedded into the company’s workflows, Route 1 will be all set to launch its same-day print service. 

“The major steps taken were the installation of the Indigo and Smartstacker, this additional guillotine and the entire factory layout redesign which took place last August,” said Willmott.

“Since then we have allowed a bedding-in period for our production to acclimatise to the new flows as well as continuously analysing all of the data that we receive back from various areas of production.

“We will only launch the same day service when we are 100% confident that we can deliver it so that is what we are basically monitoring for right now.”

At the end of last year Route One also purchased two Xerox iGen 5 digital presses, as well as finishing equipment, pushing its 2016 investment total to over £5m.

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