The press will be up and running by Christmas, says ProCo production director Graeme Parry, and in the new year its remaining Manroland 500 B2 press will be decommissioned and moved on.
The new press has an extended delivery and more powerful LED unit to enable the company to print on plastics as well as papers, so relieving the wide format Agfa Jeti Tauro from multiple-up short run work that it was the only machine capable of producing. ProCo hopes to continue working with the Flint Xcura Evo inks that it has been comfortable with on the first press.
“This has allowed us to think differently about litho printing at our Sheffield site,” says ProCo CEO Jon Bailey. “The SRA1 format means we can be significantly more competitive on a wider range of work and we’re seeing some very positive early signs about the impact it can have on our business.”
The company is able to be effective on longer runs thanks to printing an eight-up sheet and while it is going going toe to toe with established B1 printers, it is able to be competitive on a greater range of projects than before. “We wouldn’t have been in that space before,” says Parry.
The LED UV has had an impact on turnaround times, particularly on uncapped papers which no longer need to be held before processing. But it has pushed the company into investment in a larger guillotine, a Polar 92 being replaced by a Polar 155. This is a bigger blade size than is strictly necessary, Parry points out, because it enable the business to finish some of the work printed on the large format inkjet machines without the need for cutting on the flatbed tables or sending out for guillotining.
The next step for cap ex, Parry explains, is in in folding and die cutting, the former to remove another process step between printing and the finished product. It will also relieve pressure on the guillotine.
Running two machines of the same format will make scheduling and platemaking more straightforward as jobs can be switched between machines with greater ease, or to split a job across both machines making use of Ryobi’s PDS-E SpectroDrive closed loop quality control system to deliver the same colour from both machines.
And importantly it is enabling ProCo to expand litho alongside digital through the faster turnarounds, the larger format and the pricing that follows as well extension into printing on synthetic materials opens up new avenues for litho, says Bailey, “and we are excited about bringing another press into the facility”.
He adds: “We’ve seen growth within litho over the last quarter and we’re looking forward to be able to push the boundaries in terms of volume of jobs, and of course the impressions, we produce in 2018.”
Bob Usher of Apex, Jon Bailey of ProCo and Neil Handforth of Apex, completed the deal for the new press at Ipex. The new machine has an extended delivery and is intended to better cope with printing on plastics.