It was with a clear strategy in mind and a purchase intended that Simon Moore and his Eclipse Colour team took to the Heidelberg stand at drupa 2012. Last year the company's sales rose 22 percent to more than EUR 24 million following the installation of a second Goss web in March. Although it expects to achieve over EUR 28 million this year, the Speedmaster XL 106 from Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) will give the company increased productivity and efficiency as it enters in 2013.
It is against this background, and with 30 percent of turnover still being generated by its sheetfed presses, that Simon Moore stopped by to view the Speedmaster XL106, accompanied by head of manufacturing David Weiss and prepress manager Scott Calderwood.
The company currently runs two Speedmaster SM 102 long perfectors, a 12- and ten-colour with CutStar reel to sheet devices. Although these are six or seven years old, each continues to generate 45 million impressions a year.
"Since the introduction of our second web our strategy has changed. All the longer runs, those in hundreds of thousands, go to the web presses. The average run on our sheetfed presses has dropped from 40,000 to 18,000 sheets. So we aren't hung up about speed but we need a press that makes ready very fast and we need delivery at the turn of the year. For this reason we are taking a 15,000sph version of the Speedmaster XL 106 with Prinect Inpress Control automated colour and register control and Autoplate Advanced semi-automatic plate changing. It will be delivered at the turn of the year, away from our peak production periods," says Simon Moore.
Eclipse Colour has found that marketing decisions are being made much later and so the pressure is on them to print work the same day. In addition to the quick makereadies on the Speedmaster XL 106 the company has specified ten units and will use the fifth and tenth unit primarily to seal, enabling them to finish work much faster. "Colour control is a necessity and we wouldn't think of buying this press without the automation of Prinect Inpress Control. We are as scientific as we can be in our approach to printing and monitor our colour carefully. Heidelberg's technology is proven and most successful companies in the UK are using their kit. There's no risk in dealing with them because what they say they will deliver," says Simon Moore. "We have taken a 10 percent stake in 4DM, a cross media direct mail company and we will acquire the remainder over a period of time. We believe that print will be around for a number of years to come but that it will be blended with other ways of sending a message. Our print growth has come from the major consolidation we have seen in print in the last three to five years."