Precision is investing £3m in a plant overhaul, including a move up to SRA1, a switch from Heidelberg to Ryobi presses, new plate makers and cutting and stitching kit.
Two LED-UV equipped RMGT (Ryobi) SRA1-format presses and and two Cron CTP systems are due to arrive in August after a £2.5m spend.
The new kit will further fuel Precision’s growth at its Barking, London site, allowing it to produce same-day long runs to match its HP Indigo same-day short-run service, and support ganging for its Where the Trade Buys trade print service.
Precision chose the Ryobis for a combination of their output, instant drying capabilities and compact design.
The order includes the eight-colour convertible perfecting RMGT 928P for 8-up A4-format print production, which has two LED-UV curing units incorporated, enabling one-pass instant curing perfecting.
The press also has Smart-RPC fully automatic simultaneous plate changing, which reduces makeready times for job changes. PQS inline printing quality control enables the operator to monitor printing quality on both sides of the printed sheet.
The second press is a RMGT 925 – a five-colour straight press also equipped with LED-UV curing and an inline spectrophotometer. The presses have a maximum paper size of 920x640mm and can handle paper grades from 0.04mm to 0.6mm.
Precision chief executive Gary Peeling said: “We have a London location which provides us with many advantages but space is very expensive. This particular press format takes up the same footprint as a B2 but has twice the output.
“With UV drying everything you print is dry almost immediately. Our work in progress is no longer on our floor so we can free up the space for production. That’s why the technology is revered in Japan because they have similar space issues.”
The presses replace three Heidelberg Speedmasters, a 10-colour, a six colour and a four-colour, following a full market investigation.
Peeling said that opting for UV-LED was always on the cards because of the speed of getting work turned around, but the Ryobi was the best option available for Precision’s site. A customer based in the capital will be able to order 10,000 flyers first thing in the morning and they can be delivered by 3pm.
“It’s going to provide an opportunity for us to reinvigorate our offset business because it makes using printing quicker and easier,” Peeling added. “We can print on various substrates, on uncoated stocks, which are getting more popular, and it is quick-drying.
“Making print quicker and more simple is central to our ethos. The new technology is going to allow long-run printing as easy as printing digital. This will allow us to spread same-day printing across all our products. If it’s a London delivery we can deliver the same day. If it’s outside, we can courier overnight.”
The environmental aspect was also important to Precision. Peeling said that in the past UV-LED presses were energy hungry, while the two new Ryobis will use less electricity with UV drying than those they are replacing.
He decided to go for SRA1 rather than B1, he said, because B1 presses run SRA1 sheets 80% of the time, so getting a B1 would mean paying for more press than the company needs.
Precision also opted for two Cron 36-64GX UV-P units with a combined capability of producing over 82 SRA1 plates per hour, more than double the company’s previous machine, which ran at 32 plates per hour.
The systems will image onto Cron’s Blackwood UV plates. “It’s all about speed, which then delivers confidence,” Peeling said.
The presses and platemakers were supplied by Apex Digital Graphics, of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.
Precision group chief operating officer Andy Skarpellis added: “We believe that Ryobi’s LED-UV technology is one step up from other hybrid technologies on the market – Ryobi were pioneers in the market, and still seem to have the edge over the competition. The Cron platemaking products complete a very competitive and quality-focused package.”
Precision is also due to take delivery of a motioncutter laser die-cutting machine and a Horizon stitchliner over the next two months, making a total investment of £3m.
These buys were also “to do with output verses floor space,” Peeling said. The motioncutter will allow the company to produce fast die-cutting, creasing and kiss-cutting on labels.