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Solopress future proofs operations with £600,000 bindery investment

Finishing Solutions

A raft of IFS supplied Horizon finishing systems, supported by Ice software, have been chosen by Solopress to future proof operations. The £600,000 investment in a BQ500 Ice perfect binder, an HT300 Ice three side trimmer, a StitchLiner Mark III and two AFV-566FKT Ice folders will expand capacity and help production meet expected growth plans.

The Southend on Sea company was founded in 1999 through an informal collaboration between two start ups. It produces a wide range of commercial print including leaflets, flyers and brochures mainly for small businesses.

During the pandemic Solopress invested in its print production equipment. That included a new Heidelberg XL106 litho press and an Indigo 100K digital press. They joined three Heidelberg XL75 litho presses two Indigo 10000s, two Indigo 7800s and an HP PageWide T250 web fed inkjet press.

Head of operations Jack Clifford said. ‘In 2022, we turned over £32 million up from £21 million the previous year and we reported 99.5% on time delivery. We expect demand to increase at least 15% over the next 12 months. We wanted to continue with this great level of service so we needed to invest in systems that could manage production and increase our capacity. We reviewed what we had to understand what was needed to make improvements and where the greatest benefits could be realised. We also wanted to invest in solutions that placed less demand on our operators.’

The BQ500 and an HT300 were chosen to create a self contained book production line.

Jack said, ‘One of our big goals for the future is to move more into book production. Before the investment everything had to be guillotined separately and that wastes a lot of time. We wanted a standalone line that would be ready to manage just the book work. Being easy to run the systems allow for less operator intervention too.’

The Horizon StitchLiner Mark III was chosen to replace a Horizon StitchLiner 5500. ‘It was a straight replacement,’ stated Jack. ‘We had the StitchLiner 5500 for seven years and it was time to upgrade. We hope to increase our saddle stitched book production, too, and the Mark III will enable us to do that.’

The final additions were the two fully automated AFV-566FKT folders. They have been developed to deliver enhanced functionality to tackle a broader range of fast turnround run lengths quickly and efficiently. They feature a new look, advanced colour touch screen panel cover and a status checking screen for a quick at a glance overview. Jack said, ‘We needed two new folders to join the existing fleet for the extra capacity. Collectively, once upgraded, they provide us with the ability to put 1.5 million folded items on the floor every day.’


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