Hartgraph invests £2m in new building and Speedmaster XL 75

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Tuesday 13 January 2015

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Commercial printer Hartgraph has invested around £2m in a new five-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 75 with coater and newly purchased premises, which it moved to over the Christmas period.


The Speedmaster XL 75-5-+L has been built at Hartgraph's new premises

The 30-year-old firm, which was previously based at Loudwater, moved five miles to Amersham to a factory double the size of its previous unit. The business has bought the new 1,300sqm building freehold having leased its previous premises.

The new factory has been fitted with bespoke utilities and a mezzanine floor and offices have been built over the production area.

Ahead of the move Heidelberg built a 15,000sph Speedmaster XL 75-5+L with Inpress Control at the new factory. Hartgraph purchased the press to replace a five-colour Speedmaster SM 74 press, which it has sold on to a dealer.

The business, a fully Heidelberg house, also operates a five-colour SM 52 and a Linoprint C751 digital press as well as a Stahl guillotine, a Stahl KD 66 folder and an ST300 stitching line.

“We needed to move because we’d outgrown our old premises, where we’d been based for around 30 years. It wasn’t practical to keep working in that environment because there wasn’t any room and it wasn’t efficient,” said managing director Tony Brooks.

“The move came first and as that progressed Heidelberg suggested that we buy a new press at the same time as moving and it all made a lot of sense.”

The firm has also replaced a Screen PlateRite CtP device with a Suprasetter from Heidelberg and will source its consumables, Fuji plates and Saphira chemistry from the manufacturer going forwards. It is also planning to boost its finishing operation by investing in an additional guillotine and folder in the near future.

“We needed the Speedmaster XL 75 to keep up with demand and to keep the standards high. Our SM 74 was getting old as we’d had it from new 12 years ago and we felt the best time to make the upgrade was when we moved to new premises,” said Brooks.

“Two of our operators have just come back from a one-week course at Brentford and are blown away by the potential of the XL, in particular Inpress Control. Everyone is very positive about the move and investment, knowing that it will make us even more efficient.”

The fifth unit will handle special colours and the coater will ensure work can be taken direct to finishing for fast turnarounds. The company has fitted a pile turner alongside the feeder which will enable it to handle turned/perfected work at maximum efficiency.

The business will also benefit from digital workflows, with the addition of Prepress Manager and Pressroom Manager. These workflows will enable job data to be moved through the plant speedily and accurately, reducing waste and start-up times. The automation of Inpress Control means that register and colour is continually monitored throughout a run.

“We believe this investment will create more opportunities with both existing customers and new buyers and we certainly envisage expanding our cartons work alongside quality commercial print,” said Brooks.

“We’ve always done a bit of carton work but it will make life easier when that type of work comes up as this press can take bigger stock and it will go through the machine much easier.

“This sets us up for the next 10 or 15 years. We will be more efficient and set for expansion, including more recruitment.”

Hartgraph, which has 23 staff and a turnover of £2.5m, produces brochures, catalogues, posters, leaflets, folders and packaging for clients including publishers, charities, corporate companies and agencies.

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