Direct Colour has broken with a long standing strategy to buy its first new press, a Komori H-UV machine. Previously the company has invested in recent secondhand Heidelbergs and had the same thought when the time came to replace its six-colour Speedmaster SM74.
But, says managing director Alan Briggs, the Komori rep has been calling for the past three years and “we have gone down the Komori route to keep up with the game”.
That includes being able to offer a fast turnaround and a wider choice of materials thanks to the UV curing system on the four-colour Lithrone S29 press. As well as the UV curing unit, it includes the full panoply of Komori technology to automate makeready and also offers on the run colour consistency. Skeleton transfers offer a choice of stock, up to 400gsm, and fully automated plate loading are included.
The new press also runs faster, at 16,000sph, than the machine it replaces, adding up to a considerable leap in capacity for the Chessington business.
“We have been able to make ready on the SM74 in perhaps 15-20 minutes. On the Komori it will be less than five minutes each time as operators get to know the technology. It is also going to be nice to get rid of IPA from the factory,” says Briggs.
Fellow director Mark Attwater explains that Direct Colour works with print management, direct clients and design agencies. “We can now offer them more creativity on a wider choice of materials and also turn work around to tighter schedules.”
Almost all work is CMYK only, so the loss of print units will not have a major impact. Most jobs were run with a fifth unit to apply a seal, says Briggs. But this required at least some standing time after printing. “Now the sheets will come off completely dry and there will be no down time in finishing,” he says. “We are under pressure to compete with digital in terms of prices and delivery. Now we can do that.
“The average run is 4,000 sheets, but we can take on jobs with 200,000 comfortably and we can tackle a job that demand 42 makereadies, with a makeready waste below 120 sheets.”
That is a considerable step forward on the press being replaced and represents a significant potential saving even without what he calls “the phenomenal package” that Komori and Close Brothers were able to put together.
Now the business will be aiming to exploit the ability to print on lightweight boards and plastics for pharmaceutical customers in particular and for the in-house Lisa Ghaith Creative design studio to explore the new possibilities for clients.
Nonetheless, Briggs is aware that there is a learning curve to go through for staff and customers to adjust. Clients have been kept in the loop since the decision was made. Now the challenge Direct Colour faces is to explain why, thanks to the H-UV, print is sharper than before.
Direct Colour has bought its first new multi unit press with installation of a Komori Lithrone S29 H-UV. The four colour press replaces a second hand six-colour Speedmaster SM74 at the Chessington company.
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