The investment has eased bottlenecks at the Great Yarmouth business and has provided a boost to capacity for short run work at a time when demand for digital print is increasing. Changeover times have dropped sharply.
The Duplo has improved capacity for A4 landscape jobs, but more importantly the Duplo handles A6 and DL jobs much more easily than on the Muller, Hodges explains. The DBM600i was chosen to handle digitally printed jobs, but the ease of operation has meant that it is taking on a lot of litho work that was previously directed towards the bigger machine, increasing Blackwell's all round finishing capacity.
The company had found that demand for digital print is increasing putting a strain on existing capacity. Hodges says that over the last 12 months clicks have increased 40% compared to the previous 12 months with booklet work up 43% in the same period. It has had to choose between putting a 250-run job on the Muller Martini, with a 30-minute makeready, or hope its old machine would cope. That is no longer the case. “Now changeover from one job to another is two minutes,” Hodges says. “Our production manager is a changed man.”
The DBM600i is set up from a touch screen with a memory to store settings for any number of jobs. All settings are changed within 60 seconds. Adjustments to 0.1mm accuracy are made without tools from the screen. Because of the levels of automation built in to the booklet maker, jobs will take just two minutes to set up, without the skill levels needed to set up the Muller. Blackwell's machine has been installed with two DSC10/60i collating towers giving 20 feed bins. Three-edge trimming delivers booklets at up to a maximum of 4,600cph for A5 booklets with up to ten sheets.
Says Hodges: “It became clear two years ago that our existing machine was no longer up to the job we needed. It had served us well and owed us nothing. We started looking at secondhand machines, then at the Duplo and others, deciding that the Duplo was the machine we needed. It has been the perfect purchase for us.”
By Gareth Ward