Fast-expanding trade printer Route One Print has secured a multimillion pound investment to fund its growth plans, and has also added a high-speed inkjet web press to its existing array of digital kit.
The Rotherham company is owned by Bluetree Design & Print, which entered the top 100 in PrintWeek’s latest Top 500 survey after posting a 35% increase in sales to £23m in the year to 30 April 2017.
Shareholders Martin and Paul Carnell have invested a further £5m in the business in the form of new preference shares.
Group managing director Adam Carnell said the move had harmonised the firm’s shareholding structure, following the merger with Instantprint six years ago.
“We decided to straighten it all out and make it a lot simpler, and at the same time put long-term capital into the company to keep the business moving forward,” he said.
The firm has also added to its extensive digital printing setup with its first inkjet web – a Screen Truepress Jet520HD that is currently running in a test phase prior to going into live production.
Carnell said the firm undertook a detailed evaluation process before making the £1.3m investment.
“We first saw it at the Hunkeler InnovationDays and then we really looked into it and spent time understanding reel-to-reel printing, and getting comfortable with the economics of the machine, and that the quality was at the right level.”
The Truepress Jet520HD uses Screen’s SC inks and can print directly onto offset coated paper stocks without the need for priming.
It has a maximum resolution of 1,200dpi, and prints onto reels up to 520mm wide. Print speed is up to 120m/min.
Carnell said Route One would use the new inkjet web to run reel-to-sheet for the production of on-demand booklets and magazines with runs lengths of between 250 to 1,000, with either stitched and perfect bound finishing options using its existing Horizon finishing equipment.
“We are really focused on trying to produce the Holy Grail of three: high quality, quick turnaround, and extremely competitive prices. We simplify and standardise the range we offer, and choose the best piece of equipment for specific applications,” he said.
“The new Screen web press provides high quality and high productivity.”
The Truepress was installed in April, and Carnell said he hoped that it would be in full production by August.
The firm’s workflow software calculates the total area ink coverage and routes jobs to the most cost-effective output option.
The investment means that Route One has one of the most diverse ranges of digital firepower in the country. The 290-employee business runs one HP Indigo B2 press, two HP Scitex large-format devices, four Xerox iGens, and a Fujifilm Jet Press 720 B2 sheetfed inkjet press. It also runs two long-perfecting Heidelberg Speedmaster litho presses.