Pensord has signed off the single largest kit investment in its 43-year history with a UK first that will boost its effiency by as much as 75%.
The £4m spend represents the UK’s first Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106 long perfector with coater, the German manufacturer’s flagship press launched at Drupa earlier this year.
"The important thing to get across is that we wouldn’t invest in anything that doesn’t deliver an improvement to the bottom line and caters for growth - this investment certainly does that," said Pensord managing director Darren Coxon.
As well as inline coating and extended delivery, the eight-colour press will be configured with automatic simultaneous plate loading and Inpress controls. Preparatory work at the site will begin in mid-December, with commissioning set to be completed in mid-January.
Coxon said the fact that the magazine sector had proven to be surprising resilient in the face of the three-pronged challenges of recent times had given the award-winning company the confidence to invest.
"The Royal Mail price increases earlier this year were a bit of a blow for our sector, but it seems to have stabilised. The threat of online is still there, but the sector seems to be holding its own and the economy has had its casualties, but our customer base seems to be holding up well and we’re attracting new work, so we’re aiming to grow again next year," he added.
The XL 106 8P+LX will replace an eight-colour Speedmaster SM 102 and CD 74 plus coater and will be the second XL at the company’s Blackwood, South Wales facility. Since the MBO led by Coxon and operations director Karl Gater in the summer of 2010, the company has invested over £7m in kit, including the XL 106, a eight-colour XL 105 and a revamp of its pre-press and post-press operations.
As well as representing a substantial productivity boost at the company, the XL 106 has also directly led to a net increase of two employees at the 140-staff firm "to support growth and flexibility". Compared to CD 74 cover press it replaces Coxon said it would boost cover printing effieciency by as much as 75% and like-for-like against the SM 102 long perfector around a 65-70% improvement.
The press will manufacture 80%/20% text and covers respectively.
"It’s a brave move to install a long B1 perfecting press with a coating unit, however Heidelberg have been delighted that "someone in the UK finally gets it", and that’s given us a lot of confidence. The benefits to customers will be seen through even greater colour consistency," said Gater.
Heidelberg UK sales director Jim Todd added: "All printers are trying to find a point of difference and this investment by Pensord will certainly mark it out. It is the first UK XL 106 long perfector sold with a coating unit and this will allow it to turn work round even faster and give it a greater range of aesthetic finishes."