Route One rounds off £5m summer spend


Trade printer Route One Print has rounded off another big summer of spending, completing a £5.3m investment with the installation of a Fujifilm Jet Press and an LE-UV litho press.

Having kicked the investment off with the purchase of three Horizon StitchLiners earlier this month, the fast-growing printer will now bring in a Jet Press 720S B2 sheetfed inkjet, the fourth UK company to do so, along with an eight-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106 LE-UV perfector. It is also installing a raft of finishing kit that includes a Scodix S75 digital embellishment press, Rollem Jetslit and Autobond laminator.

Route One co-founder James Kinsella did not disclose how the investment breaks down but said it takes spending beyond last year’s summer total. The Jet Press is currently in the commissioning phase and the B1 Speedmaster will be installed towards the end of this month, along with the finishing kit.

The Jet Press has been brought in to feed Route One’s new dedicated business card production unit, which will also incorporate the new finishing equipment.

Kinsella said: “For us, we were trying to work out how we could shorten the lead time on business cards and widen the range of cards we were able to offer in terms of finishing options and also stocks. That meant we would have to move away from litho where we had a constraint.

“We decided that inkjet was the right technology for this application.”

Kinsella added that with the new unit the group can now achieve the aim of one-sided business card production all in a single pass, with the Jetslit able to cut and shrinkwrap cards straight from the press. 

The £995,000-listed B2 inkjet Jet Press prints at 2,700sph simplex at a resolution of up to 1,200dpi using Fujifilm Dimatix Samba printheads. It handles sheet sizes ranging from 545x394mm to 750x532mm. 

“The quality is absolutely phenomenal. It really is in a different league and it really fitted into this whole business card workflow,” added Kinsella.

Fujifilm digital printing and press systems product manager Mark Stephenson praised “Route One’s reputation” and the environment the press is being slotted into, with its "high levels of automation and productivity".

“We’ve got a number of Jet Press installations around Europe now and the utilisation there and amount of time available people choose to use for printing really varies and I’m hoping to see Route One set some records here,” said Stephenson.

Route One will also be adding a mezzanine to its 9,290sqm Rotherham facility to allow for extra space for the new business card unit.

The Speedmaster, which will be installed with CutStar and replaces an XL 75, has been brought in to operate alongside the new StitchLiners as Route One continues to aim for a 24-hour book-production service. It will mainly handle runs of 500 to 5,000 and will produce books, flyers, business stationery and booklets on silk gloss and coated stocks between 90gsm and 350gsm. 

“Our business model is very focused around short lead times and delivering a range of products out on very quick turnarounds and the XL 106 achieves what we want to do with that,” added Kinsella. 

Route One already has experience of utilising LE-UV presses, having retrofitted its eight-colour SX 102 last year.

Route One’s parent company Bluetree Group, which also incorporates Instantprint, Instantprint Pro and Bluetree Connect, is aiming for sales of £32m by the end of this year, a boost of £4m. It is looking to add an additional 15 staff by Christmas. 

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