Bell & Bain has ordered an eight-unit perfecting KBA Rapida 145 for its Glasgow book printing operation, expanding its capacity to print colour books, but more importantly easing the strain on capacity that is evident during the busy summer period.
The company is a http://bit.ly/1SqSbgg house with an eight-unit Rapida 142 in place but had not expected to plunge for the new press. However, says managing director Stephen Docherty, the technology on the new press is a whole different class. The management team was shown a press in France at a company operating in the same market as Bell & Bain.
“It was running with six-minute makereadies and running at 12,400sph on 70gsm paper,” he says. “It could happily run at 15,000sph, but this was asking too much of the paper.”
This achieved through a simultaneous plate changing system, KBA SIS sidelay free infeed, automated washing systems with the ability to change washing cloths during the print run. “It became a ‘must have’ decision,” he says.
“We do not need to increase capacity to print more books, but found that in the middle of this year we were maxed out in production, straining our resources. This investment allows us to manage that better. It’s not about taking on more work.”
However, growth in production is inevitable and may move the pinch points from printing to binding. While Docherty is saying nothing about investment plans in this are, he says he will be interested to see what is shown at Drupa.
The press will be squeezed into the company’s main Thornliebank premises with the company’s Fujifilm 540W inkjet web press being moved to the Lawmoor Street factory. “The new press is so productive there would have been a constant stream of lorries bringing section back here, so we decided we had to have it here,” says Docherty.
The inkjet press will link to a new automated Horizon line, replacing the original Sigmaline that had been connected to the company’s first digital web press. This will be the first Horizon Smart Binding System in Europe. IFS is supplying a Tecnau buffering unit to cope with job changes while allowing the press to continue running. Pages are cut, folded and collated into book blocks to feed the Horizon binder and then to the automated three-knife trimmer. It will run with hotmelt glue.
Docherty first saw the system at the Hunkeler Innovation Days in February 2015. It has been the automation and the impact that this has on manning levels that impresses, reducing a four-man crew to single-person operation.
The line will automatically adjust for different sizes of books, changing the binder and trimmer settings on the fly. It can be extended with a gathering section for preprinted signatures or by using the feed table on the folder to insert flat sheet sections. It will run at 4,000 books an hour which, IFS technical sales director Jason Seaber says, “sets a new standard in short too medium run digital mono and colour book production”.
Bell & Bain has ordered a KBA Rapida 145 for delivery in March. The eight colour perfecting press will allow the company to print litho runs down to 200 sheets reckons managing director Stephen Docherty.