Witherbys boosts production with Heidelberg press and finishing upgrades

London printer Witherbys is looking to boost capacity with a new six-colour Speedmaster XL 75 and Stahlfolder CH 56 from Heidelberg.

The north London-based company, which celebrated 275 years in business last year, took delivery of the new £1m press on 1 July with training on that and the Stahlfolder beginning this week.

The new Speedmaster, which will run on double-day shifts producing work such as full-colour brochures and auction catalogues, replaces a two-year-old Speedmaster SX 74 and will join Witherby's remaining Speedmaster, a six-year-old SM 74.  

"We wanted to increase capacity and improve quality and efficiency and this gives us that step up. We have had SMs and SXs over the years and the XL takes us onto a new level," said managing director James Greene.

"We decided to do installation and training now during our quieter weeks so that we are fully up and running by the end of the summer; it's worked out really well," he added. 

The Stahlfolder CH 56, the company’s first fully automated folder, will join an existing combination folder and a buckle folder also from Heidelberg.

"Until now our folding has been more traditional, manual based, but this is now fully automated. It's essentially for shorter-run, quick-makeready work and will complement both our litho and digital production," said Greene. 

Around 80% of the company’s production is litho work, but digital was added to the mix two years ago when it acquired Abacus Print along with its two Xerox presses.

Greene said its digital operation was now going from strength to strength, which was why the business needed further capacity in the finishing department.

"It's looking really strong and we'll be looking at replacing the two Xeroxs in around 12 to 14 months," he said.

The company employs around 36 staff at its Tottenham Hale facility and generates a turnover of around £3.8m. 

"There are some good opportunities coming along and we hope those will start to kick in towards the end of the summer," Greene added. 

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