Delivered in January alongside an FLH-Z (ZAC) processor and a switch to Superia LH-PJE plates, the Luxel replaced a 12-year-old Kodak Magnus 400 platesetter that Sphere had bought secondhand six years ago, but could no longer keep up with its litho demand.
Working at a productivity speed of 33 plates per hour, Macclesfield-based Sphere said the new platesetter offered greater reliability over the ageing machine it replaced.
“I was told ahead of our decision that this machine was the best of its kind,” said IT director Tony Gilman.
“The fact it is also a greener machine – using 30% less electricity than our previous platesetter – means we will be saving money and waste on a machine that will pretty much be constantly running.”
With its ZAC processor, the Luxel has a longer bath life leading to reduced waste. The machine takes a maximum plate size of 830x660mm and has a maximum online punch option of six units. The machine cost Sphere £86,000.
Running alongside the platesetter in Sphere’s litho department are two Heidelberg Speedmaster SM 52s – a two-colour and a four-colour, a five-colour Speedmaster SM 74 with coater, a Heidelberg cylinder, a Horizon bookletmaker and a Stahlfolder.
Sphere also offers digital and wide-format printing in its 790sqm premises.
“We do anything from business cards to brochures,” said Gilman. “You name the promotional item and we have done it – pens, banners, the full range of signage and more.”
Sphere UK employs 15 members of staff and does not have a sales team, conducting business through returning customers and through the strength of its word-of-mouth reputation.