Pensord Press is a one-stop shop for magazine production, with operations ranging from pre-press, digital and sheetfed offset printing, through to finishing and mailing. In addition, it offers web, digital edition and app services to create virtual publications.
If you’re reading the printed edition of PrintWeek you can see Pensord’s handiwork in front of you: it’s our printing and mailing house. However, this issue’s Me & My... focuses on kit that isn’t used on PrintWeek.
Late last year the South Wales company opened a new digital business, a few miles from its main web offset site in Blackwood. This operates with a Heidelberg Linoprint Pro C9100 sheetfed digital toner press, a CP Bourg BM-e bookletmaker, CP Bourg BB3002-C PUR binder, plus some Morgana short-run finishing equipment and a Polar guillotine. Infigo Catfish is the platform used for the web-to-print set-up.
The PUR binder was supplied together with the bookletmaker by Bourg’s newly appointed sole UK distributor, Integra.
Karl Gater is Pensord Digital’s operations director and was closely involved in setting the business up and choosing the equipment. “The new factory is a 350m2 unit based on Bridgend Industrial Estate, that has great services and links to the M4,” he says. “The unit was a bare shell and we had to install all of the electrics and offices, etc, for what is essentially a new business venture, although still part of Pensord.
“We started installing the electrics and offices in late November 2014, with the CP Bourg kit arriving in early December. Recruitment of the new team started in November and we now have three full-time employees, and me, at the new factory and an additional three at the old factory.”
Pensord Digital produces short-run magazines, mainly in runs from one to 500, both saddle-stitched on the BM-e bookletmaker, or as PUR-bound books on the BB3002-C.
“This complements our main business well with decreasing run lengths on certain titles, offering a more cost-effective solution,” Gater explains. “Other work to date has included POS, folded leaflets, flyers, business stationery and more bespoke events material with variable data.”
Gater became aware of the CP Bourg machine through a prior connection with Integra’s sales director Richard MacLean. “Integra are the agents for CP Bourg in the UK and I knew Richard from a previous purchase of non-related equipment,” he says. “To be fair I hadn’t heard of CP Bourg prior to Richard telling me about them! I trust Richard so I went to take a look.”
He also looked at other PUR binders. “I ended up choosing the CP Bourg BB3002 PUR-C over its rivals for a number of factors,” he explains. “After research into the market and a number of demonstrations, its ease of use was a big factor, plus the fact that it automatically scores to the right thickness of the book block from one copy to the next without you having to re-program.”
For other readers who aren’t familiar with CP Bourg, it’s a Belgian manufacturer based in Ottignies to the south east of Brussels. It was founded in 1960 by Christian-Pierre Bourg, who died last year aged 89. The company concentrates on making perfect binders, bookletmakers, trimmers and collators, as well as OEM in-line feeders and finishing systems for some major digital press makers.
“I also visited the factory in Belgium and was impressed with the fact that everything was manufactured in one place and the passion and belief in the product was overwhelming,” Gater says. “Price wasn’t the key factor in the process but of course matters. The machine was bought along with the bookletmaker and we were happy with the overall package. I had to buy Richard lunch afterwards though!”
Installation of both the machines was completed in just over a day and a half. “Training then was only about a couple of hours and we were off practising and perfecting before we were due to go live,” Gater says. “Both machines are foolproof and won’t let you do something that could potentially damage them.”
This is the first PUR binder at Pensord, Gater says. “We had the choice of an EVA or PUR version but chose PUR as we already have a commercial EVA binder at the main plant. Due to our binding digital products we wanted to be sure of a quality bind on the toner based print.”
In operation, the PUR binder is set up automatically with only a couple of manual inputs: the size of the cover and how many creases you want in it – the maximum is 13. “The rest is done for you,” says Gater. “It measures the book block as you put it into the clamp, jogs and knocks it up, mills it, glues it through the Nordson head, scores the cover to the thickness of the book so you get accurate square spines, clamps the cover on and job done. The only thing you need to do is to trim it, but I believe that can be automated with an additional three-knife trimmer option if you so choose.”
“Since its installation, just like any new machine, it has had a few minor teething issues, but considering we have had a non-print related workforce using it, this shows how easy it is to operate in a short space of time,” Gater reports.
“The spines are as square as I have seen on any binder and operating with the PUR glue has been very easy to adapt to with the closed unit Nordson glue head, meaning that we have very little wastage when we have to shut down and start up.”
Gater says he has no grumbles worth noting. “I think that it has been a learning experience for both us and Integra as the UK agent. The product was so new that we were both learning from each other at the start, following the training from the CP Bourg demonstrator.
“Best bit of advice I can give for anyone buying a PUR binder is make sure that it is easy to clean when you shut it down. Get it wrong and you have all sorts of issues the next time you switch it on. We are fortunately a bit OCD when it comes to cleaning so the machine is spotless and performs brilliantly well.”
When it comes to talking about service and support, Gater has strong views, saying: “I could rabbit on and on when it comes to the difference between digital print-related service and litho-related service. Now that I have experienced the digital world the urgency in service has some way to go to meet my expectations, but we are getting there!”
However, Integra gets a pass mark: “As for the CP Bourg machine any issues we have had, which have been minor, and in some cases down to our inexperience, the Integra service team has resolved in a timely fashion.”
In terms of what the machine has brought to Pensord, Gater says: “The PUR binder has brought a new offer to the overall business.”
He adds: “I wouldn’t like to hand-feed a large run on it of course, but on some of the smaller runs our customers have another solution for a very secure bind. Very few will say it must be EVA/hot-melt bound if you offer to PUR bind, so definitely the right choice for us in the digital market.”
When asked if he would recommend the machine, Gater is unequivocal. “If you are looking for a short-run PUR binder you won’t go far wrong with this machine as well as the bookletmaker. In my opinion they are market leaders.”
A fully automated PUR glue binder for perfect-bound books and booklets. It is the first to use Nordson’s PUReOne compact adhesive system with applicator. The C stands for Compact. It’s hand-fed, but a Bourg Book Loader and barcode reader are optional. Once a book is fed the binder adjusts automatically to its thickness. Adjustable side gluing strengthens the bind. An integral knife creaser can make up to 13 positive or negative creases. The timer can be set to heat the glue up to temperature in advance of a shift. The touch screen controller can also link to tablets and smartphones.
Cover sheet size Min: 100x201mm, Max: 385x750mm
Book thickness range 1-60mm
Glue head Nordson PUReOne
Glue tank capacityTwo-litre or four-litre
Contact Integra 01420 593680 www.igm-group.co.uk/integra
Established in 1969 Pensord Press is a well-known print company based in Blackwood, South Wales, servicing specialist magazine publishers. It offers a one-stop shop from the core printing of publications in both litho and digital print formats, mailing fulfilment, to online digital editions and apps. Sales top £12m a year. The company as a whole employs 150 people.
Why it was bought...
In January 2015, Pensord Digital, based in Bridgend, opened both its real doors and its web-to-print site: www.pensord digital.co.uk. “After purchasing the digital print engine the main priority was to find a good manufacturer of a bookletmaker and binder and this is where the decision was made easy,” says Karl Gater, Pensord Digital operations director. “Through Richard MacLean at Integra, CP Bourg offered well thought-out and engineered machines that are easy for all to use. There is only a small portfolio of equipment and what they produce they produce well. Impressed by the manufacturing processes and the fact that they supply paper feeders to some major digital equipment manufacturers, it was an easy decision for me to buy into the CP Bourg brand.”
How it has performed...
Pensord’s (and to a lesser degree, Integra’s) unfamiliarity with the machine meant there were some small issues to begin with, but these were quickly resolved. Gater has no issues with the quality of work the machine produces. “The spines are as square as I have seen on any binder and operating with the PUR glue has been very easy to adapt to,” he says. In terms of using PUR binders, he advises thorough cleaning of the machine to avoid issues.