Sheffield’s The Print & Design Factory has replaced an ageing MBO folder and Muller Martini stitching line with a Horizon SPF200A and PF40L automated folder.
The company ran an audit on the jobs it handles before making the decision to replace heavy iron with the more flexible and automated technology.
“People want faster turnarounds,” says production manager Russ Kennedy. “We looked at the work we are doing and realised that the work is effective, but the way we produce it is not efficient. We have gone from a job taking two-and-a-half days to complete to the same job being finished in half a day.”
It is not only in time. Operation of the Muller could take three people, operation of the new Horizon equipment takes just one person, he says. Commercial manager Craig Ikin confirms: “We were taking too long to complete runs and sending work out. We needed a solution that was faster and more cost effective.”
It looked at the type of equipment that trade finishers were investing in and Ikin drew on his previous experience to underpin the decision. “I had used Horizon systems before and knew how well they ran and how high the quality of the work was that they produced. We also saw them in action at trade finisher Leeds Die Cutting and if it's good enough for them then its good enough for us,” he says.
The company will continue to send work out, but what goes to the trade will now be planned more than expedient. The 12-strong Sheffield business does no perfect binding, so that goes to trusted partners. Likewise there will be jobs that are beyond the capability of the SPF200A, through run length or pagination, and these will be sent out.
This, however, will be a rare occurrence. As part of the investment decision, the company analysed of all these factors and decide that in more than nine out of ten cases, the in-house finishing department would be capable of handling it.
The boilermaker comes with two 20 bin VAC collating towers. It will run at 4,500cph and is controlled via a touch screen using icons to communicate with the operator. The folder takes up to 1,000 sheets with automated set up for the six most frequently used fold patterns with set up for ten jobs held in memory.
The company currently runs two Xerox presses, one a recent installed Versant 180, and a five-colour Sakurai. This is the next machine to be replaced, says Kennedy. “We’ll make a decision before next spring,” he says.
A Horizon booklet maker, supplied by IFS, has replaced litho biased finishing equipment at Sheffield business Print & Design Factory after a deep evaluation of the company's requirements. Longer run work will be put out to the trade it says.