Sharman & Co in £70,000 newspaper press upgrade

By Pamela Mardle, Wednesday 19 December 2012

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Newspaper printer Sharman & Co has invested £70,000 in finishing kit that will boost the quality of its work as the job mix shifts towards higher calibre presentation.

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Sharman & Co directors Mark (l) and James Sharman (r)

The Peterborough-based company has taken delivery of a Tolerans CompactStitch ribbon stitcher and Tolerans MTS tabloid slitting system, bought from Tolerans distributor WRH Marketing.

Finishing manufacturer Tolerans’ engineers will embed the machines into Sharman & Co’s workflow for commissioning by January 2013.

Sharman & Co director Mark Sharman said the 140-year-old company’s customers have changed in recent years, and with the decline of standard newspaper and freesheet runs, high-quality printed publication requests have become more prevalent.

The CompactStitch, Sharman & Co’s first stitching machine, will be installed on a six-tower Tensor/ Albert newspaper press. It will be incorporated into the folding section of the press to stitch newspapers on the fly.

At the same time, the MTS tabloid slitting system will replace the press folder’s 20-year-old knife that was integral to the Tensor press. The motorised scissoring unit improves web tension and delivers a sharp, clean cut that is almost dustless compared to conventional crush slitting techniques, according to WRH Marketing.

Sharman said: "A lot of things we now print are much higher quality and products that people want to keep for longer than the standard weekly newspaper.

"We thought they might be interested in having a product that was stitched and held together."

The company still deals primarily in newsprint, but has moved towards niche products for individuals and organisations as the freesheet and advertising paper market shrinks. Some of Sharman & Co’s regular jobs include Loud and Quiet, a monthly music tabloid, Tesco internal communications newspapers and a range of ethnic titles.

Sharman said he is considering UV curing technology as the company’s next investment for 2013 to enable the Tensor newspaper press to print onto glossy paper to further satisfy those customers requesting higher quality newsprint.

Sharman & Co has 14 staff and reached £2.5m turnover in 2012.

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