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PBL Print undertakes a major production portfolio transformation


PBL Print is undertaking a production metamorphosis which will allow it to offer its customers more products and optimum colour and service.

“We were looking to buy one additional B2 press, but when we looked at the costs and analysed the barriers to growth, it made sense for us to undertake a complete change in our production portfolio” says managing director Eric Stevenson.

“We are going to take out five litho presses and replace them with two highly specified and matching Speedmaster XL75s and, in addition, we will install two more digital presses and a new guillotine. By adopting a web to print portal, ganging software and better workflow modules we will improve our efficiency.”

PBL’s current mix of B2 and B3 Speedmaster and Printmaster presses will make way for two top of the range Speedmaster XL75-5+L (five colour and coater) lines, each equipped with the latest Inpress Control 2 spectral colour and register adjustment system, Autoplate Pro and an ink cartridge system. Both machines will be delivered to the Chester-le-Street plant this May.

“Inpress Control is like an Anicolor on steroids,” says Chris Murley, sales director of PBL Print. “It will reduce our start up waste to 30-40 sheets per job and the colour will be totally consistent. Heidelberg will provide Print Colour Management (PCM) as part of the installation process and the project planning is such that disruption to production will be minimised.

The two XL75s will allow the company to run with one common plate size, cut overheads, increase output and further enhance its colour consistency. It is already a member of the Heidelberg Colour Club and a holder of the ISO 12647-2 certification.

PBL Print will use fewer plates as a result of linking up its Tharstern MIS and Prinect production workflows with a web to print portal and ganging software, allowing it to intelligently batch jobs together. This reduces waste and set ups and is also an opportunity to expand its business-to-consumer work. Currently most of its work is for the Print Management sector, the NHS and public bodies.

Manning on the litho side will be reduced from 12 to six, but three operators will transfer to other jobs within the factory; two to the digital department and one to the bindery. One has recently left the company and not been replaced.

The two Linoprint CPs are high speed 130 page per minute digital machines selected for the quality of output and the ability to run 6pp A4 work, which is a regular request for PBL Print.

The lower click charge and higher productivity on this latest generation Linoprint model means PBL Print’s breakpoint between litho and digital will move from runs of 200 to 500 as a rule of thumb. A Polar 66 guillotine will be housed alongside these Linoprint presses, dedicated to digital cutting work. Currently the company’s turnover is split 70-30% in favour of litho and no major shift is anticipated.

The company’s finishing section runs three Polar guillotines, laminating and die-cutting machines, two Stahlfolders, two Horizon stitchers and a Stitchmaster ST100 saddle-stitcher, together with two perfect binders, three shrink-wrapping lines and various ancillary binding equipment.

PBL Print operates 24 hours, five days a week and this latest round of investment will increase capacity and efficiency, allowing PBL to grow.

For further information please contact

Diana Thompson, Plus Point PR Ltd, on 01494-817178
Matt Rockley (litho), Heidelberg PR Ltd, on 07899-662986
Chris Matthews (digital), Heidelberg PR Ltd, on 07827-937069
Chris Murley, PBL Print Ltd, on 0191-417 9737.

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