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Monday, February 1, 2021
Craig Hall, head of Em de Jong’s UK office, details how the high-volume printer has set its sights on UK growth by offering the biggest range of formats, produced on the most up-to-date printing presses in the market.
What is the business’s USP?
We specialise in high-volume press-finished (finished in-line) printing, mostly for newspaper inserts or national door-drops. All presses are configured to run at high speeds with the ability to spine glue or stitch and then fold and trim on press. All packing and palletising is automated, giving you a product ready for transport in one process.
Is it good news for you that Brexit is behind us?
Yes, the deal we now have with the EU means we can continue to trade with UK clients, as we have for 20 years or so, without any hurdles. Most paper for the UK print market is imported from European mills, all we are doing is printing on it before we bring it in.
Can you tell us a little about Em De Jong and your role?
We’re a family-owned print business founded in 1906 and based in Baarle-Nassau on the border of Belgium and the Netherlands. Across the group we employ 1,200 talented staff across six sites in the Benelux and one in Germany, and we collectively process over 400,000 tonnes of paper annually. I have been selling into this sector for 19 years and my focus is to find new clients and support our existing UK roster of customers, all with the fantastic support of a great team of English-speaking colleagues.
Royal Printing House, Em de Jong’s head office in The Netherlands
And who are your customers?
Retailers of all types, including supermarkets and mail order companies across the Benelux, Germany, France and, of course, the UK.
What’s the group’s firepower though?
We have 26 web offset presses ranging from 8pp to 120pp machines of which eight are short grain, including two 96pp presses with the ability to run long or short grain. This offers our clients flexibility unmatched anywhere else in Europe. Flying imprint is also available on our 8pp, 16pp and 24pp machines, which offers a very economical way to produce high numbers of versions, without stopping the press to change plates.
And your most recent investment?
An additional 80pp press at Mercator, our site near Brugge, where we print a lot of our UK work. It features a wider than normal reel width of 2,250mm that allows us to print 80 A4 pages in one revolution, and this along with a specially fitted short grain folder means this machine will offer UK clients huge paper savings and reduced press time on a 280x200mm format jobs, for example.
The new 80pp web at Mercator will be running by mid-2021
And then in March, we will install a Landa S10P Nanographic B1 digital press, which will complement our sheetfed presses for our POS offering where we have 50 staff picking and packing items for the supermarkets across the Benelux region.
What does the future hold for the group?
As a financially sound company in a market subject to seemingly never ending consolidation, we expect to continue to grow the business as the market leader for leaflet production in Europe.
And has the business taken an active part of that European consolidation play?
Absolutely. Our most recent acquisition was Grafix, a family-run web offset printer based in Belgium which became part of Em de Jong in March 2020. And in 2018 we bought a large German printer called Jungfer which also specialises in press-finished products. They run seven presses, including three 80pp machines and a 96pp configuration, all set up to print high-volume leaflets.
And finally, what are your UK aspirations?
We want UK print buyers to see what efficiencies we can offer with our larger printing presses, which help them to reduce costs by producing more copies per revolution and with short grain paper savings. For example, our 96pp machines can now reach volumes normally only competitive for gravure presses. We have the added advantage of being able to print on grades such as improved newsprint, that gravure machines cannot. You can then get offset quality and flexibility along with cost-effective versioning through plate changes, on the paper grades you want.