The investment takes spending over the last few years to £5-6 million, says managing director Steve Cropper. The company has earlier replaced folders with four of the latest machines and has kept up investment on its digital side. It is now looking at PUR binding.
The replacement litho press was supplied by Exel Machinery, Cropper having spoken with Heidelberg about both new and pre-owned machines. “The old press was 13 years old,” says Cropper, “and was becoming noticeably less efficient. We could print just as quickly on the existing XLs putting the sheet through twice as on the long perfector.
“And there were other constraints due to its age on the extremes of image coverage and marking for example. We can now print 250gsm on the XL105 where before we could not go above 170gsm.”
The intention is not to increase capacity and drive prices lower, but to improve efficiency of production. “This is one way for us to fight back,” says Cropper. “It’s about allowing us to compete, creating a slight increase in turnover, but more about the added value gain.”
Exel sourced the press from a collapsed Italian printer and was able to install the press, running initial demonstrations on the second week after rollers had been inserted. By the end of the fourth week, the company was exceeding production records that had been set by the replaced press. According to Exel managing director Bill Jones, the Dartford dealer is on a streak with long perfecting XL presses which can be installed for far less than a new machine.
Gemini’sperformance has been recognised in the Adur & Worthing business awards. From more than 600 entires across 16 categories, Gemini Print Group’s Ben Griggs, part of the production team, won young employee of the year, the company won the award as large business of the year and capped that with the judges award for best business of the year.
Earlier this year Gemini Print signed with Kodak to become one of the largest users of its Sonora processes plates, the deal sealed between Steve Cropper and Kodak's Richard Kidd. Now the plates will be used on the XL105, creating a logistical saving for the printer as it reduces the number of plate sizes that it needs to carry.