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Swallowtail Print in two for one press swap for increased output


This autumn Swallowtail Print will trade out two five-colour-and-coat presses, a Speedmaster XL 105 and an XL 75, in favour of a Push to Stop version Speedmaster XL 106-5+L and it sees the potential for a 20-40% increase in overall output.

Swallowtail Print director James Baxter admits he was sceptical when the idea was presented to him by Heidelberg but he reviewed figures from companies who had invested in Push To Stop technology and visited Elle Media and he was converted.

Push to Stop is about enabling a press to work at its optimum, increasing its Overall Equipment Efficiency. By benchmarking press performance and analysing results Heidelberg has been able to optimise the automation, producing a press that has to be reined in rather than pushed on by the operator. In combination with Pressroom Manager, data collected at the press can also enable a company to discover where production time is lost and why, enabling them to optimise the whole workflow process.

“I was sceptical about whether we could work with one press and achieve any increase in output but our research has been convincing. Our two presses combined have been producing about 50 million impressions a year. With the new press we believe we could output 60 million comfortably and even 70 million if we needed to in the future,” says Mr Baxter.

“Everything is focused on minimising makeready, for instance the ability to change plates and clean the press simultaneously. We will have Intellistart, Inpress Control 2, Autoplate XL 2, Inkline and Pressroom Manager. We will reduce each makeready by an average of five minutes over our existing technology and we will reduce waste sheets by about 100 sheets per job.”

Three operators have had to be made redundant, reducing the company headcount to 53, but this investment will enable Swallowtail to be stronger and even more competitive in the market moving forward. It knows that staff and management will work together effectively and ensure there is maximum process efficiency.

“With Pressroom Manager we will be able to see which papers perform best on press and which jobs are most profitable. We can identify downtime and the reasons for it and address any issue, such as late plates to press. Then we can get these things right together,” says Mr Baxter.

“We handle a wide range of work on stocks from 80gsm gloss to 0.8mil board. Having one press will make our choice of impositions and paginations more focused and we will look to do more batching of jobs and streamline the flow of work wherever we can.”

He concedes that it would have been impossible to rely on one press with previous generation technology but he is confident Heidelberg produces the best machines and that the Speedmaster XL 106 Push to Stop press is the best press they produce.

Alongside the new press, the company has also added a Muller Martini Primera saddle-stitcher. The company has also added a new sales person and it believes it is now positioned to increase its turnover from £5.5m to £6m in the next year, although its focus will remain on profit rather than sales volume. It continues to run a 24/5 treble shift operation at its Norwich plant.

“It’s a great time to invest. We achieved a good trade in price and borrowing rates are as low as they are ever going to be,” says Mr Baxter. “We are now looking to add in a digital press with a larger format (we currently only do SRA3).”

For further information please contact:

Diana Thompson, Plus Point PR Ltd, on 01494-817178 or 07802-898313
James Baxter, Swallowtail Print, on 07961-783560
Matt Rockley, Heidelberg UK, on 07899-662986.

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