Step up to B2

Vale Press has invested £800,000 to move from B3 to B2 production in an all-Heidelberg deal.

“We were outsourcing £20,000 per month of work, of which 70% we will now be able to bring in-house,” said commercial director Tom Stowe.

“It will allow us to add packaging to our product range, bring presentation folders and A4 landscape work in-house as well as produce current work more efficiently.”

The spend includes a Speedmaster SX 74-5, which starts production in 10 April, and a secondhand Stitchmaster ST 350, which replaces an ST 100. At the start of this year, in advance of the move to B2, it bolstered its pre-press studio with Heidelberg Prinect Prepress and a Suprasetter A75 platesetter, which replaced a B3 Screen PlateRite.

The 74 is the firm’s second SX, and joins an SX 52-5 installed last year.

“We’ve been very impressed with the SX, in particular the Intellistart guided makeready,” said Stowe. “It’s driven makeready time down to minutes and has allowed us to take the cut-off between digital and offset down from 500-600 sheets to 200-300.”

Stowe expects further improvements from the Easy Control spectrophotometer fitted to the SX 74, which in trials has proved “really impressive”; so much so he is looking at if it can be retrofitted to the SX 52.

The SX 74 replaces an SM 52. The £2.7m-turnover firm, based in Willersey, Gloucestershire, expects to boost turnover to £3.3m this year, its first quarter has already shown a year-on-year increase of 25%, according to Stowe.

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