JR Press, Daventry, has detailed how it intends to fill the extra capacity that it has created following the move to new premises and the installation of a new Ryobi 524GE B3-format offset litho printing press. The press was purchased from long standing business partner and UK Ryobi distributor Apex Digital Graphics.
The move to four-colour production follows a further increase in printing capability at the company, which has included most recently the use of two two-colour Ryobi 52cm presses, one of which is equipped with numbering and perforating. The older, four-year-old straight two-colour Ryobi has been replaced by the 524GE machine.
“The market has swiftly moved to “colour with everything”, confirmed JR Press owner Geoff Fone. “We had been running an ever growing percentage of four-colour work through the two colour presses. The switch to a four-colour press wasn’t a difficult business decision, it was just when. Once we had decided on the move to new premises that helped to finalise the timing of the new press.”
In keeping with such a major investment, it was important to examine all potential technologies, as well as a full range of suppliers. “We looked at all of the possible technologies and equipment variants in order to insure that we were making the right investment,” said Geoff. “DI was quickly dismissed as not competitive. Digital was not flexible enough to replace offset, although we will continue to run digital equipment for a percentage of our ultra-fast turnaround short-run media.” Offset, it was decided, was still the technology to take the business forward, and having examined potential partners, it was quickly apparent that JR Press would not find better suppliers than Ryobi and Apex.
“The Ryobi 524GE is very flexible with regard to the materials that we can work with. We are seeking to further expand on the range of solid board packaging components that we currently produce for customers. Our own research has identified a significant range of such product that customers have difficulty in sourcing. This isn’t the million run of cereal boxes, this is the short run clamshell inserts, header cards, blister cards and the lightweight paper wrappings often described as “boutique” packaging, and even concept packaging.
“As an example of the range of product that we have already produced on the two-colour Ryobi presses: we have printed six-colours onto 34gsm greaseproof paper for “designer” soap wrapping through to 550gsm board for backing boards. These might be slightly outside of the range stock weight that is guaranteed by Ryobi, but our operators were still able to work with these materials and produce excellent results,” said Geoff.
The thirteen strong team at JR Press includes a full design, pre-press and digital department. “We currently design about 90% of the work that passes through the business,” said Geoff, but “that will reduce as we continue our push into packaging and form new alliances with specialist design agencies who take the lead on producing this work for many of our target audience. Our own design team will still remain at the heart of our commercial digital and offset production solutions.”
The press operators at JR Press site the high levels of automation on the Ryobi 524GE press as key features of the machine, including the ultra-fast make-ready times, and the ink volume software for pre-setting of ink ducts. The press is capable of a maximum printing speed of 11,000 sheets per hour with a maximum substrate size of 520 x 375mm. Official specifications for the press suggest a minimum stock thickness of 0.04mm and a maximum of 0.5mm. Plates for all presses at JR Press are polyester-based and produced on a DPX System as provided by Apex.
Commenting on the Ryobi installation at JR Press, Neil Handforth, Sales and Marketing Director at Apex Digital Graphics, said: “We are, of course, delighted to be continuing our relationship with JR Press and equipping them with their first four-colour press. The tasks being presented to Ryobi press equipment at JR Press illustrate perfectly just how flexible and adaptable these presses are. We look forward to seeing further exceptional packaging product being produced by the company.”
Other production tools include Epson large format printing equipment producing high quality POS work, digital print equipment from Canon, as well as in-house finishing equipment from Morgana and Duplo to ensure a fast turnaround on all products.