PAGE BROTHERS IS THIS WEEK taking delivery of a Heidelberg Speedmaster CX 102-5+L at its Norwich factory where it will replace a six-colour SM102, but only when the machine is bedded in to the company’s satisfaction says manufacturing director Simon Conway.
The crucial thing he explains is not to miss a customer delivery. “We needed to increase our capacity because of the volume of work that we are seeing return to the UK having lost it to the far east. We’re not sure whether this is because of the increasing cost of labour there, the reduced run lengths or need for faster turnaround times, or a combination of factors.”
THE CX WAS CHOSEN BECAUSE IT includes XL technology to cut makeready times and because it can handle the lighter weight stocks that Page Brothers can print at full speed. The press comes with Autoplate Pro and Axis Control and will result in a 50% or even a 70% lift in output says Conway.
“It’s all about the makeready times,” he says. The company’s journal work can mean that litho takes over from digital at around 250 sheets. The exact calculation of when Indigo gives way to litho will depend on the run and the amount of colour. And some customers, mainly from societies, will insist on litho quality. Others he says will accept digital “but they stipulate Indigo colour”.
THE CX WILL ALSO HANDLE 60-70gsm papers at the full 16,500sph running speed, a big leap from the SM which ran these papers at 10,000sph. The new press will also replace an SM74, but the company is keeping two SM102-2 presses used for mono bookwork. The new press is a straight five-colour plus coater to ensure that sheets in the delivery are fully dry and can be put back through the press. “Because the runs we have are so short, it’s easier to work like this than to be coming in and out of perfecting mode,” says Conway.
The next step is to invest in a high speed folder to cope with the additional sheets on the floor. The choice he says rests between a TH94 from Heidelberg or MBO’s T960 and both will be tested. The company added a Muller Martini binder to its Osako two years ago and has perfect binding on double shifts, these providing adequate capacity.
AROUND HALF THE COMPANY'S WORK is security work (for which Conway says there has been an increased demand for typesetting), the remainder being journals, books and a small amount of commercial work.
The company also runs its own mailing operation to ensure integrity for the security work and to handle distribution of the journals printed. As well as the litho presses it has Indigo 7600 and 5500 and Xerox Nuvera 200 and 288 for mono book pages.