The Westdale Press has brought case binding in-house with three machines from Kolbus UK as it looks to grow its premium books and book-style marketing products businesses.
A Kolbus BF 513 for casing-in line, a Kolbus DA 260 casemaker and an Aster Pro sewing line were all delivered to the Cardiff-based printer at the end of July.
The £1.25m investment represents a “new direction” for Westdale, according to managing director Alan Padbury, and training has just begun for members of the firm’s bindery team to become fully versed in the new process.
Padbury highlighted that while total volumes may be falling, there is an increased interest from clients on more targeted applications, where they may consider producing fewer copies, but want to significantly improve their quality and impact.
“This means making products that are a bit more expensive and give that feel of quality, like case bound," he added.
The firm has been offering case binding for years as an outsourced process, but Padbury said that when it started to consider bringing the process inhouse he always knew he would turn to Kolbus.
"I have worked with Kolbus throughout my years in print and they are truly decent people," he said.
The £14m-turnover firm will continue to outsource some case bound jobs as as Padbury said he saw no sense in completely severing valuable relationships with other suppliers in the trade.
However, he said he hoped the investment would give the business a USP of being a high-quality colour printer with inhouse case binding, which in turn would enable it to generate a greater proportion of turnover through added value and ensure it was “not chasing volumes”.
“None of the jobs we do here are typical, but we will generally be taking orders of runs from 500-5,000 books for the most part, which not a lot of other printers do, and with that we can offer the control and confidence that always comes with Westdale.”
The firm already offers foiling, UV and laminating inhouse.
110-staff Westdale runs three Heidelberg Speedmaster XL presses – two 10-colours and one eight-colour – with in-line CutStar augmentations, on its 6,300sqm premises.