Zenith makes triple Heidelberg digital investment

By Hannah Jordan & Rhys Handley, Tuesday 14 May 2019

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Zenith Print Group is upgrading its Pontypool-based operation, Zenith Media, with the purchase of three Heidelberg Versafire machines.

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The new five-colour Versafire EV is one of Zenith's latest investments

A Versafire EP and five-colour Versafire EV were delivered earlier this month, while a four-colour Versafire EV will arrive later this week to be installed in the repro department for proofing in an effort to cut the site’s current monthly proofing spend of £3,500.

The machines, which have a combined list price of £383,000, have replaced three Ricoh devices and join an existing Heidelberg Linoprint CV and two Océ VarioPrint machines at the 6,225sqm site. 

“This is a very exciting time for the Zenith Digital department, it gives us a huge scope to grow with the ability to take on short and much longer print runs for magazines, brochures, programmes and we can also run heavier stocks for low quantity packaging at competitive prices,” said digital general manager Kelli-Louise Johnson.

The production Versafire EP and five-colour EV presses will run alongside Zenith’s two Mono Océ VarioPrints 6160s, explained Johnston, allowing the unit to mix mono and colour prints to provide customers with books, brochures, mailing, personalisation, manuals and other printed items, bringing their unit costs down.

The five-colour EV prints CMYK plus white, neons and an “invisible red” toner option which is clear and glossy in daylight but glows under UV light opening up the option to print security protected products such as tickets, vouchers and passes, she added. All the presses can run with the banner feeder for 6pp A4 products or 4pp landscape products.

“We invested in these specific presses to ensure we could offer everything possible to our customers, printing from 60gsm up to 450gsm. With the fifth colour and long sheet option, our customers now have the option to print on demand, with amazing quality, and quick turnarounds.”

Group managing director John Mooney said: “By taking the Heidelberg digital presses we can run with their dedicated Digital Front End, have the advantage of their colour know-how and use our Prinect software to output as easily to the digital presses as we can to the litho presses. Plus we trust the advice and support we receive from Heidelberg.”  

This latest investment follows a major £6m investment drive by the group last year, which saw the installation of a Heidelberg long perfector B1 Speedmaster XL106 at Zenith Media 12-months ago, followed by a hybrid Speedmaster XL 106-5+LX3 with coater in November and the purchase of the UK’s first Promatrix 106 foiling machine from Heidelberg for sister firm Zenith Print & Packaging. The group also took delivery of a Promatrix 106FC and a Stahlfolder BH56. 

Johnson said this latest investment for Zenith Media has already prompted an increase in enquiries with the division having employed more staff within the digital department to support the increased capability.

Zenith Print Group employs 275 staff across the group, 105 at Zenith Media with the balance across C3 Imaging, its print and display graphics arm, and Zenith Print & Packaging. 

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