The Canterbury company bought its four-colour Roland Favorit in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall came down, and it has been the main printing machine ever since. The company had also operated a two-colour Favorit which has now been shipped out to make way for the Ryobi.
“Until the Ryobi arrived we were still running the four-colour Favorit every day, printing high quality work on it,” says director Duncan Palmer. “It has been such a reliable press. We only needed to call out people because of break downs around ten times in those years and we have never struggled to find parts for it.”
Nor to find work for it. Palmer says the quality that the five strong business produces is such that it works for agencies in London, furniture companies in Peterborough, national charities, as well as more locally based businesses. “It meant that we were working such a lot of hours as a hands on management team,” he says. “It also meant that we couldn’t find anyone to run the old press, even considered training an apprentice to do it.
“Now we have come up to date somewhat.”
The big difference, he says, is less in running speeds than in makeready. The Roland Favorit was the last of the company’s five cylinder press designs, each print unit sharing an impression cylinder. While it delivered a robust design, automation was limited, hence lengthy makereadies for plate changing and colour adjustment were necessary.
Change started to happen for the business following a management buyout five years ago. Once stabilised the new owners could look at investment which the previous owners had ignored. “We were computer to film until three years ago,” Palmer says. “Then we bought a pre-owned Heidelberg Trendsetter as this was the only machine that we could fit upstairs. It came in through the window with just 1mm to spare.”
Likewise space was an issue for the big move to a modern press. Broad Oak needed a machine that would fit where its two-colour press had been. The Ryobi fitted the bill. “The Apex rep happened to come by when we started to think about this. We didn’t need to look for anything else. We are really pleased with it,” he says.
The two-colour press had in recent years been used to apply a seal to help protect freshly printed sheets. That is now unnecessary as the fifth unit on the Ryobi can be used in this way, as well as for spot colours.
As well as much quicker makeready, the company has noticed a huge impact on waste. It no longer needs to run a vast number of overs. Modern controls on dampening and ink duct settings and adjustment “make the machine a delight to work with” Palmer says.
Semi automated plate loading, automatic set up of induct profiles using prepress profiles, automatic adjustment via density scanning all come with the new press and are new to Broad Oak. The impact has already been felt in work life balance and in being able to compete more successfully with other printers.
There has also been investment in a Polar guillotine and in a Duplo System 5000 bookletmaker since the buyout as the business makes up for lost time. And when the four-colour press is finally moved out, Palmer explains that the free space might be useful for a laminator or cutting and creasing, perhaps provided by a refurbished Heidelberg platen.
Broad Oak Colour Printers has moved to a modern Ryobi from Apex Digital Graphics upgrading from a four-colour Roland Favorit installed 27 years ago. The company is now better able to compete to win work it could not pitch for previously.
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