Swallowtail Print is removing a bottleneck in folding with the purchase of a Stahlfolder TH82. It replaces an ageing MBO and joins a KH82 combination folder that the Norwich printer bought two years ago.
“We were getting 5,000 sheets an hour through the MBO and it was taking an hour-and-a-half to make ready,” says director James Baxter. “We have XL105 and XL75 presses which can run at 18,000sph, so it is not surprising we had a bottleneck in folding.
“We have two B1 folders and a B2 machine. The new all buckle machine will also offer more options with six and four plates. We are expecting to makeready in less than half an hour and be putting 8,000 sheets on the floor each hour. That means a massive increase in productivity from where we are.”
The company reckons the investment will increase folding capacity by 15-20%. “We had prioritised investment in the pressroom but the folding was becoming a bottleneck,” says Baxter. “We reviewed our options and I made a site visit to Sudbury Print with the bindery manager and folder operator.
“The operator had been used to MBO throughout his career but was converted when he saw the TH82 in action. I look at the finance but it is important that the people running the technology, who understand folding better than me, are comfortable with it so his enthusiasm was the ultimate peace of mind.”
The Norwich printer has few rivals for B1 printing in the area: the closure of Breckland, Gallpen and Really Useful Group in the last year has also eased over capacity in the area. Swallowtail was itself formed through merger of two Norwich businesses Norwich Colour Print and F Crowe in 2011.
It operates with customers across the region and into London. “We have enjoyed a very strong start to the year,” says Baxter.
The new folder arrives in the next few weeks. It will be connected to a Palamides delivery, allowing it to run with three up output rather than just two-up. The production bottleneck then moves. “We will be looking at a new stitching line for next year,” he says.
Swallowtail has ordered a TH82 folder in order to ease a bottleneck in its finishing area and will retire an uncompetitive MBO.
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