Me & my: Komfi Sagitta 76

By Simon Eccles, Monday 09 April 2018

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Deltor Communications is a long-established Cornwall printer, currently based in a modern 2,320m² factory in Saltash, on the opposite side of the river Tamar from Plymouth.

mm-sam-shannon-komfi-deltor

Shannon: “If you’re in the market for a laminator, Komfi should be one to look at”

It wasn’t always there, however; it was originally set up as Tor Print, a few miles downriver in Torpoint, moving to Saltash in 2000. This contributed the second half of the Deltor name, says managing director Sam Shannon, whose father Alan founded the company in 1976 – Sam took over a couple of years ago on his father’s retirement. The Del part of the name is taken from a bit of tech terminology that should resonate with anyone who’s done scanning and proofing: Delta E means movement – it usually measures the colour shift in appearance between the original and the print or proof. 

Today Deltor is a mixed litho and digital operation taking in B2 and B1 offset, SRA3 dry toner digital and wide-format inkjets. It handles a mix of general commercial work plus large-format, covering brochures, catalogues, prospectuses, leaflets, mailers, magazines, large-format banners, displays, vehicle wraps and decals. A lot of its clients are local government and educational bodies. Examples include Plymouth City Council, the University of Birmingham and the Houses of Parliament. 

The B1 press is a 10-unit Manroland 700 HiPrint and the B2 machine is a Komori LS29 with four colour units and a coater. 

The B1 press size dictates the format for Deltor’s high-speed lamination needs. Until last year it used a Tauler B1, which was by then nine years old and feeling its age. Its replacement was a Komfi Sagitta 76, the subject of this issue’s story. 

Komfi is a family-run laminator and varnishing machine manufacturer established in the Czech Republic in the 1990s. Friedheim is its UK distributor. Deltor has bought from Friedheim in the past, including its pair of MBO folders, the second of which, a K8, was put in a few months after the Komfi last year. Friedheim used to sell Tauler in the UK and supplied Deltor’s original machine. 

The new Komfi and MBO are the latest in a series of investments in recent years totalling around £3m. The finishing department has been enhanced with two complete Schneider Profi-line finishing flowline systems with 115 guillotines plus a Wohlenberg perfect binding line (all from Friedheim) and a saddle-stitch and trim line from Muller Martini. 

A Ricoh Pro C9100 SRA3 digital press replaced an earlier Pro C901 model early last year, about the same time as the Komfi was installed. Shannon says that the digital press is used for the same type of work as offset, but where either short runs and/or personalisation is needed. 

The wide-format press is an Agfa Anapurna hybrid with UV inks. “We’re introducing a new plastic-free signage range this year, to replace Foamex. We’re eco-friendly, so we try to do what we can,” says Shannon. Deltor has had ISO 14001 certification since 2010 and has had solar panels installed on the roof to generate up to 120kW of power. 

This year Shannon intends to install a new litho press and says the company is still going through the decision process as to whether it will be a five unit or 10-unit perfector press. “It will be B1, although we’re not sure if it will be an additional straight machine, to add capacity that way, or whether we will replace the perfector,” he says. 

There’s room for a third big press if needed. The factory was bought new as a 930m² unit in 2000, and soon extended with a 465m² mezzanine floor. Then in 2007 another 930m² was added to the building – fortunately the original purchase deal had included extra land. “We had a purpose-built slab laid down when we extended in 2007, thinking ahead,” Shannon says. “As we were putting the floor in we thought why not?” 

Why choose the Komfi Sagitta 76?

“The Tauler laminator was struggling to keep pace with the rest of the finishing department,” says Shannon. “We laminate all types of work from prospectus covers to double-sided business cards.” This can include using the lamination film as a window over cutouts. 

“We are really pleased with our Komfi laminator. We chose it for the speed and the quick setup of the machine, switching from one job to another,” says Shannon. “We did also look at Autobond, but we were worried that the job changeover time would be too long.”

This is a heavy-duty machine built for productivity and Komfi claims a top speed of 35m/min for the Sagitta 76, or 50m with the optional productivity package. Setup is through a large touchscreen 

It can take sheets up to 760mm wide, which is the short edge for B1 or the long edge for B2. The smallest sheet size that can be fed is 300x220mm. 

The Sagitta can handle paper stocks in weights from 115gsm to 350gsm as standard, with an option to extend this to 600gsm. The pile feeder takes stacks up to 680mm high. 

Tom Baker, Friedheim’s South West area regional sales executive who handled the Komfi sale to Deltor, says that the B1 format 76 models are also selling to some B2 printers, who want the third higher throughput possible if they send sheets through in the short edge direction. However, he’s also selling B2s well too, with six in the South West in the past six months. 

How has it been in use?

“It’s a very clever and simple design, but still has lots of features on the machine to enable us to run the ‘challenging’ jobs with relative ease,” Shannon says. 

“We really like the sheet control through the press, and it’s great to deliver laminated ‘flat’ sheets to the guillotines. We did change the fingers on the back of the sheet to ones we use on our printing presses.” These were needed to hold down the sheets to cope with the highest speeds that Deltor uses. Komfi is now believed to be fitting similar fingers at the factory. 

“The adoption of the machine was easy,” Shannon says. “The operation is very simple and this allowed us to train many staff to use it. We knew service would not be a problem. We have ordered many new machines from Friedheim over the years with excellent service, and this was no different.”

Would he buy it over again?

Yes, says Shannon: “I would purchase another Komfi again, and if you’re in the market for a laminator, Komfi should be one to look at.” 


SPECIFICATIONS

Max sheet size 760x1,120mm

Min sheet size 300x220mm

Speed Up to 35m/min (50m/min with productivity pack)

Film types Thermal adhesive, OPP, PET, Nylon

Film thickness range 24-50microns

Warm-up time 5 minutes

Paper weights 115-350gsm; optionally up to 600gsm

Max pile height 680mm

Footprint (with table) 4x1.6m; plus stacker 5x1.6m 

Price £75,000

Contact Friedheim International 01442 206100 www.friedheim.co.uk


Company profile 

Deltor is a commercial printing company based in Saltash, Cornwall. It was set up in 1976 by Alan Shannon, father of the current managing director Sam. It handles commercial printing work for a mainly local government and educational institution client base. Printing facilities are a mix of B1 and B2 format litho presses, plus an SRA3 format dry toner digital press, and large-format inkjets. Finishing facilities include folders, guillotines, perfect binding, saddle-stitch and trim, die-cutting and creasing, and lamination. 

Last year saw the replacement of the older Ricoh Pro C901 digital press with a Pro C9100, the replacement of the older Tauler laminator with the Komfi Sagitta 76 and the installation of an MBO folder. This year there are plans to install a B1 press as either an additional five-unit machine or a replacement for the existing 10-unit Manroland. 

“We have 38 staff, more than half of whom have been with us for 15 years and more,” says Shannon. “We have a projected turnover of £3.4m, which will be up £400,000 on the previous year. We are a forward-thinking company with a great team at the helm!”

Why it was bought...

Deltor’s previous laminator, an older Tauler model, was struggling to keep up with throughput and creating a bottleneck in the finishing department. 

How it has performed...

Deltor values the Komfi 76 for its fast changeovers between jobs. It’s used for high-speed, high-throughput work from the B1 and B2 litho presses as well as some SRA3 work from the Ricoh digital press. 

“Now we don’t even think about the laminating side of things,” says Shannon. “Whereas it used to be a bottleneck, now we have excess capacity in this area.”

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