J Thomson Colour Printers is the recipient of this year’s Koenig & Bauer UK 1814 Production Excellence Award.
The Glasgow-based commercial printer switched from Heidelberg to Koenig & Bauer press technology last year, after sealing a major order for two presses at Drupa.
The two highly-specified presses comprised a 10-colour Rapida 106 long perfector, and a six-colour LED UV Rapida 106 with coater, which was the first Koenig & Bauer LED UV press of its kind in the UK.
J Thomson produces a wide variety of high-quality print work, including fine art posters. It runs the 10-colour as a section press, and deploys the flexibility of the six-colour LED UV on more varied, quick turnaround jobs.
Koenig & Bauer said it awarded the firm the 1814 accolade for “a 35% improvement in production performance, a record number of makereadies on a single job and the highest production speeds of 18,000 sheets per hour.”
The award-winning portfolio of work included a weighty 464pp catalogue for Edinburgh Arts that involved 29 sections, where plate loading time was reduced from nearly four hours to 29 minutes thanks to the automation features on the firm’s 10-colour Rapida.
A complex job for Steven Brown Art involving 67 different versions of SRA1 format fine art posters was printed on the six-colour LED UV Rapida in just over 14 hours, 50% quicker than the estimated time.
“Our product range is so varied, in any 24-hour period we could be running 24 different jobs on 15 different substrates, from a 150gsm silk to a 300gsm GF Smith type of material,” said J Thomson managing director Kevin Creechan.
“We are selling the benefits [of LED UV] and I think we do win work on the back of turnaround times and the fact that images on uncoated paper are far superior.”
Print quality manager Iain Jackson added: “KBA forced us to look at LED because they said it could really change our business, and they have been proved right.”
J Thomson Colour Printers runs 24/6, employs 125 staff and has turnover of £12.5m.
The firm also has a digital printing division and lays claim to being the only litho printer in Scotland to run HP Indigo kit as well. It has an Indigo 7600 seven-colour press and a 7800 four-colour model.
The company also has a comprehensive in-house finishing setup.
Koenig & Bauer’s 1814 Production Excellence Award commemorates the installation of the first power-driven press at The Times in London, which was designed by the firm’s founders Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Bauer. The duo went on to set up in business together and the firm celebrated its 200th anniversary this year.