Taylor Bloxham Group has ramped up its commercial print operation with a circa-£2m investment in a Koenig & Bauer Rapida 106 litho press.
The six-colour-plus-coater B1 machine will be installed at Taylor Bloxham’s Leicester commercial print site in March 2018 and be fully operational by the following month. It will replace two Heidelberg Speedmasters, a CD 74 and an XL 105.
It comes in at a time when the 200-staff outfit has invested in a series of new machines, including two Muller Martini finishing lines for its main site and a Xerox 495 continuous-feed duplex printer for its relocated FastAnt Direct direct mail operation.
Chief executive Robert Lockwood said: “We saw the machine in operation and did some extensive testing and it delivered the quality and speed that we were after. So we spoke to a few reference sites and they were pleased with it.
“When we looked at the profile of the business we are currently producing and what we wanted to do going forward we saw there’s a thing going on between the digital market encroaching onto B2 and also B1 encroaching onto B2, so we struggled to see in the long run where a B2 press fitted into our product range.”
Printing at 18,000sph, the machine features Koenig & Bauer's no-sidelay Sensoric Infeed System (SIS) and servo-driven motors for the feeder belts.
“We’ve always had Heidelberg presses so this is a big step up for us, but we were impressed by what we saw – the speed, the makereadies and the quality output – and we felt the service backup seemed a lot better,” added Lockwood, who was also impressed with its autonomous ErgoTronic Autorun technology that allows a number of jobs to be queued on press.
“There will be some issues in that, culturally, it’s a different press for our operators to get their heads around, some of the practices that have grown up around Heidelberg won’t exist with this one because it’s different technology. But there is an immense amount of support on site and that is again why we went with Koenig & Bauer.”
Founded in 1938 and operating from four sites in the Midlands, Taylor Bloxham has sales of around £28m, 50% of which is derived from its commercial print operation.