Swanline in £1m spend on second HP Scitex FB10000

Darryl Danielli
Monday, February 17, 2014

Swanline Print has ordered its second HP Scitex FB10000 industrial flatbed press, part of a £1m investment, just eight months after installing the UK’s first after achieving significant growth with the first machine.

Swanline HP Scitex 10000
Swanline HP Scitex 10000

The first machine, installed in July, boosted the £10m-turnover packaging and POS trade specialist's sales by around 10%-15%, and managing director Nick Kirby believes that the second machine will offer at least a similar growth level.

“We’re setting ourselves fairly prudent targets, perhaps a little on the light side, but there will be so much we can sink our teeth into when we have two that it’s almost unbelievable,” said Kirby.

The second six-colour (CMYK, light cyan, light magenta) FB10000 is due for delivery in late April, and will be joined shortly afterwards by some additional automated digital cutting capacity. The 82-strong firm is also looking to take on some additional staff to support the latest UV digital spend.

“There’s been a lot of organic growth since the first machine in. We’ve been developing accounts that we already had, but in addition to that we’ve also been targeting accounts that we knew we could service with it. Probably the biggest success, though, has been on encroaching into short-run litho POS market,” said Kirby.

“We also now have the ability to mix and match offset litho, screen and digital all together. We’re coming up with some great results, particularly in POS, where we’re combining all three processes.”

While Kirby said the firm’s first FB10000 has performed well in the eight months it has been running, having just one was a potential vulnerability as it’s the only trade printer currently running the press.

As well as peace of mind though, Kirby said the second investment was largely driven by opportunity.

“We’re not even scratching the surface on some markets yet, mainly markets we’ve not been traditionally that active in, things like 2D POS, plastics, we’ve even been running trials on aluminium composites. So all of these new areas give us great scope for growth and we’re confident that this piece of kit will give us a great advantage in being well ahead of anyone else.”

Short-run packaging is also proving a niche growth area for the business because the quality on the FB10000 is “easily as good” as litho.

The existing FB10000 is being run double shifts, and according to the Kirby the uptime of the machine has been “pretty good” with the only downtime being a few planned field upgrades, which have further improved the productivity of the 625sqm/hr machine.

The bulk of the workload on the second machine will be jobs that previously the trade only house had regarded as “non-core”, such as ultra-short runs or jobs on unusual substrates.

“At the moment we’re probably running jobs around 200 to 300 sheets on average, sometimes up to 1,000, but I think the new machine will be more focused on shorter runs with a higher value. But we’ve got to the get the infrastructure right first and we’re working on that right now,” said Kirby.

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