Park Communications has continued its major capital investment with a B1 press buy after a "rigorous review" of its options.
It settled on a £1.9m six-colour KBA Rapida 106 B1 press with integral coating, which is due to be installed at Park’s 4,274sqm premises in Beckton, east London in December, ready for commissioning early in the new year.
The KBA follows investment earlier this year in an HP Indigo 7800, which Park managing director Alison Branch told PrintWeek has doubled the firm’s digital sales, and a Kalmar KC45 high-speed envelope-inserting system.
The company's 18,000sph Rapida 106 is specified with fully automated simultaneous plate changing, in-press colour control, fully automated coating and drying systems and sheet inspection quality software.
Branch said the new press would enhance Park's service to customers, citing increased productivity, waste reduction, a wide range of coating finishes and the QualiTronic Professional sheet blemish detection technology as key factors in buying the machine.
“One of our strengths is the way we are able to talk to customers and advise them on how they can add creativity to their marketing materials or their projects.
“Print is increasingly now trying to engage a number of different senses, not just the visual but it could also be the tactile or the smell. Coating allows us to add a few more options to enable customers to differentiate their products.”
The blemish detection software alerts press operators to a paper spot or other blemishes that might otherwise go undetected for a significant number of sheets.
“When printing a relatively short run at 18,000sph, you could have printed that run before you spot a problem,” said Branch.
“We wanted this software to alert the minder to what the issue is and he can then make the decision as to whether it’s something that needs rejecting or not.”
The business chose the press following a "rigorous review" of alternatives including full on-site testing over a wide range of substrates and technically challenging designs.
It opted for KBA because of the quality and productivity of the press as well as the manufacturer's maintenance support and customer service.
The press will replace Park’s Heidelberg Speedmaster 102 eight-colour perfector. The business also operates two further Speedmaster 102 10-colour perfectors and a Speedmaster 102 two-colour perfector on its litho side.
“The technology is so good on the new sheet work presses that the productivity is as good as the old perfecting presses, particularly as our runs are generally coming down and our customers are using more colours,” said Branch.
“Quite often we may have four-colour process plus two specials then a seal or a coat so more of our work is moving towards using more units, which again moves it towards a sheet work press.”
The business, which has 120 staff and a turnover of around £14.5m, provides a one-stop shop for typesetting, digital and B1-size litho printing, finishing, mailing and distribution services.
The company, which moved to its current site in 2007, previously specialised in financial printing. This work is still a key part of its business, particularly report and accounts printing, but the firm also now serves a wider range of markets including high-end property, fashion and fine art clients.
Park Communications is a finalist in four categories in the upcoming PrintWeek Awards, the winners of which will be revealed at a ceremony on Monday. Earlier this month Branch and chief executive Heath Mason raised more than £8,000 in their recent charity cycle ride from London to Amsterdam.