The Timsons T-Fold is set to live on under the ownership of Kolbus.
The German finishing equipment manufacturer has acquired the T-Fold rights from Perfecta Assets, an asset holding company within the Timsons group of businesses. The value of the deal was not disclosed.
The folder can potentially interface with any high-speed digital press. The know-how acquired by Kolbus is comprehensive and includes engineering drawings, foundry patterns, software and work-in-progress.
In future it will be manufactured at the Kolbus factory in Rahden, where the company also has a foundry.
Kolbus UK managing director Robert Flather said he was delighted at the deal, and by the future potential for the product under Kolbus ownership.
“We have had a very positive response from the existing UK customers, who are pleased about the ongoing support and the fact that new T-Folds will be available,” he said.
“In the UK we are at the forefront of the implementation of digital technology. There is huge potential for this product in Europe and the USA. The key point is it will be available to fit to any inkjet web press.”
There are currently six installations worldwide of the T-Fold, with four of those in the UK where St Ives Clays and CPI Antony Rowe both have two. The other users are in the USA.
Clays has its T-Folds connected to a Timsons T-Press and Kodak Prosper 1000 inkjet press, whereas CPI’s are combined with HP T-series inkjet webs.
Paul Hulley, managing director at Clays, said: “This is good news. The T-Fold is a good piece of kit and the fact that it will still be available on the market adds to our options, as it was an option we thought had been taken away.”
Kolbus is not taking on any former Timsons employees, but it will benefit from the T-Fold know-how that remains among personnel at Timsons Engineering.
“Kolbus will have access to those people for a period of time. There will be a managed handover of expertise,” Flather explained.
“As it happens our foundry at Rahden has exactly the same equipment as Timsons, so we have the same capability to make sideframes and cylinders – it’s another reason why this makes perfect strategic sense,” he added.
Kolbus also has T-Fold expertise on its existing team. Jon Walker, the former technical sales director at Timsons, joined Kolbus as vice president of digital solutions last November. He had been instrumental in bringing the T-Fold to market in his previous role.
Future pricing for the device is likely to be lower. “We will be able to make it more competitive by applying economies of scale to it,” Flather stated.
The T-Fold has a variable cut-off and can produce book signatures in a variety of different collect modes according to the user’s requirement, including sections, zig-zag delivery, and sequential book blocks.
Flather said the T-Fold was “on the cusp” of also being able to handle print-on-demand books, and this would be a future feature on the device.
Timsons Engineering will continue to service the firm's litho presses and is unaffected by the deal.