The investment, plus that of an HP Indigo 7900, continues a cross business investment programme. Over the summer the company installed a Muller Martini Alegro perfect binder and Primera MC saddle stitcher, an MBO K8RS folder and acquisition of a third site to house its direct mail arm.
“It has been a strategic decision to move away from Heidelberg,” says chief executive Robert Lockwood. The company looked thoroughly at the technology on offer, including the Sensonic Infeed System, fully automatic plate changing and ErgoTronic Autorun which gangs up several jobs to run jobs as autonomously as possible.
Lockwood says: “One of our specialisms is ultra high definition print. We felt that the Rapida 106 offered the best solution for colour control and compliance with ISO 12647-2 as well as quality analysis and reporting.”
The success of the six-colour Rapida at Park Communications, in the same echelon of printers as Taylor Bloxham, was another factor as was service. “When you are trying to run 24/7 that becomes a factor to consider,” he says.
Coating is a requirement for many customers, says Lockwood, hence the choice of a six-colour plus coater rather than long perfecting machine. With a running speed of 18,000sph, diminishing print runs and the need to get a job on press rapidly, the straight configuration provides greater flexibility.
The preparation work begins at Christmas with the machine due to arrive in march for an installation with minimal disruption, says Lockwood. The machine will be in the existing blue and grey livery, which matches the walls in the Taylor Bloxham factory, rather than the new styling revealed in October.
The investments in print technology over the last nine months come during the transformation of a business which now derives 45% of its revenues from traditional litho print, the remainder “from the other stuff that we do”, says Lockwood. This is centred on services for retail including direct mail, design and supply of point of sale. “It’s much more that simply point of sale printing,” he adds.
“We know that print will continue to be a difficult market where we have to invest in order to remain efficient. We cannot rely on just printing, but in printing we have to be super efficient.”
Taylor Bloxham has used Heidelbergs for more years than anyone at the Leicester printer can recall. Now it is switching to the Koenig & Bauer Rapida 106 with coater, a similar machine to that used by park Communications. The ground work for the press takes place over Christmas in preparation for delivery in March.