25 November 2018 Print Companies

Taylor Bloxham reaps rewards from Rapida investment

Leicester printer has been named winner of K&B's production excellence award for 2018 and is now viewing the potential in packaging.

Taylor Bloxham has received Koenig & Bauer's 1814 Production Excellence award, just eight months after installation of a six-colour plus coater Rapida 106 at its Leicester factory.

The award was presented at a celebration lunch last week where technical colour specialist Chris Bolton said that the sophistication of the K&Bpress had made achieving the professional level of the BPIF developed, Ukas endorsed ISO 12647-2 colour standard “far easier than it might have been – and we know about colour”, explaining that when the press is asked to make adjustments “we get the reaction we wanted to have”.

This led directly to the three jobs that delivered the award for the business. The first was a 60,000 run 252pp flooring catalogue printed with two PMS colours on 300gsm silk material. The colour critical job had 15 sections passed on press by the client, amounting to 15 makereadies and 213 plates. It took an average of 27 minutes to achieve a customer pass, running at an average of 16,472 sheets on the floor and hot. After printing the job was folded and was tab indexed and PUR bound. The overall production time was 166 hours, saving 27 hours' production time over the same job in previous years.

The second job was an 128pp auction catalogue with just 3,500 copies, matched to Epson proofs, laminated and PUR bound. The job was finished in 8 hours 39 minutes, compared to the predicted 11-and-a-half hours. In all 77,275 sheets were printed and there were 18 makereadies averaging less than four minutes for each.

The final job was a glass and ceramics catalogue where the client insisted on a match to the ISO 12647-2 print standard. It has 212 body pages on 130gsm silk with a match to Epson proofs. In all 4.,077 sheets were printed with a makeready average of seven seconds above four minutes for 29 changes involving 116 plates. This came to seven hours and 11 minutes, considerably less than the 12 hours 54 minutes estimated production time.

The level of performance means that the press has exceeded expectations to become the most productive press in a hall that includes long perfectors. The company has also shifted from a production led printer to a company where print is one of four operating strands, and one that is slowly shrinking while logistics business Fastant, large format retail arm InStore and the Mailbox direct mail business, are growing faster.

InStore has grown to account for £10 million, equivalent to 30% of the group’s £30 million revenues, while Taylor Bloxham is now less than 50% at £14.5 million, says CEO Robert Lockwood. Fastant is looking to double the size of its premises. "The premises is full,” says Lockwood. "Finding space in Leicester has been difficult, but we have now found somewhere which will increase our floor space by 100%.” It will take possession in Q1 next year. Both Mailbox and Fastant generate £4 million in sales to a business running at £33 million following two years where revenue has increased 10%.

“We are now very much sales led, working for clients that should value what we are giving them.”

This means demanding a higher price for the verifiable quality and colour managed processes that the print operation can provide. The appointment two months ago of Malcolm Lane-Ley as managing director will introduce a level of expertise to driving this strategy, Lockwood explains.

Now the business is looking at opportunities in cartons for existing customers. The six-colour press is specified with the CX kit to run 1.2mm thick board. The company is striking partnerships with businesses able to offer the finishing that is needed, though is prepared to invest should growth justify it.

“Carton customers would benefit from our colour management skills,” says Lockwood, while technical director Wes Sykes adds that the six-colour configuration will be standard for the print business in future.

Gareth Ward

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Andrew Pang and Chris Scully, K&B UK, flank Robert Lockwood.

Andrew Pang and Chris Scully, K&B UK, flank Robert Lockwood.

Taylor Bloxham installed its first K&B Rapida in the spring and has now won the 2018 Production Excellence Award to highlight the productivity gains possible with the German press. Now Taylor Bloxham is eyeing the potential of printing more packaging.

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K&B Rapida 106

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The switch to a K&B Rapida 106 in the spring marked the end of a long association with Heidelberg for Taylor Bloxham. The press which was installed is fitted with a coater, and is similar to the machine to that used by Park Communications.

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