Bishops Printers has returned to Heidelberg for another Speedmaster SM 74 long perfector, this time an eight-unit press. This additional press order comes less than a year after buying two ten-colours, a Speedmaster XL 75 and an SM 74.
The latest investment will bring the total number of Speedmaster B2 units at Bishops Printers to 58 (with two XL 75-10-P, a CD 74-10-P, an SM 74-10-P, an SM 74-8-P and two SM 74-5) making it the largest Heidelberg B2 player in the UK, if not in Europe. Its 85,000 sq ft (8,000 sq m) factory operates 24 hours, seven days a week and on average uses 21,000 plates a month.
The £17m (Euro19.4m) plus turnover company, based in Portsmouth on the south coast of England, continues to grow and this added capacity is evidence of its success. It has an average order size of £910 (Euro 1,039) with no one customer accounting for more than 5% of its sales. Typically it runs 16,000 jobs from close to 2,000 customers in a year. It handles work in a number of sectors including leisure, tourism, education, periodicals and general commercial markets.
"We love both the XL 75 and the SM 74 and each has its place in our factory. The XL 75 gives us four days additional capacity a month and the ability to handle a very broad range of stocks but for much of our standard short run commercial work the SM 74 is a great machine. We have experience of outputting 45 million impressions a year on this model," says Gareth Roberts, managing director.
"The SM 74 is 20% cheaper than an equivalent XL 75. For the most time-sensitive work, for non-standard or higher weight products the XL 75 with its top level automation is the right press, especially with the ten units which allow us to seal and finish work very rapidly. But the SM 74 is a real workhorse. The redesigned feeder, dampening and delivery technology are a real bonus on an already good model and with the latest Intellistart press software, combined with more automated inking and wash ups, the SM 74 can have a very fast makeready and very little start up waste. It's robust, reliable and environmentally an attractive buy for us."
With over 30,000 Speedmaster SM 74 units sold worldwide, this model is a Heidelberg bestseller. It combines reliable productivity with flexibility. The new suction-tape feeder means reliable sheet pick up and transport with automatic adjustment between jobs using different stocks. The delivery uses Heidelberg's proven Venturi sheet guidance, meaning finished work is delivered on an air cushion to minimise the risk of marking. Both feeder and delivery require minimum maintenance.
It is a 15,000sph machine and the Prinect Press Center with Intellistart software and level of automation makes it a fast set up press, too, and also a good quality press. Circumferential, lateral and diagonal register are remotely controlled via Prinect Press Center. With its latest press, Bishops has added colour profiling software to underpin the quality output.
"Having the right technology helps us retain our reputation for quality, reliability and value for money," says Mr Roberts. "We have a young but experienced team and behind our field sales personnel are dedicated account managers ensuring we retain our excellent response levels (we supply 94% of quotes within two hours) and that projects are seen through to fruition in a way that enhances customer loyalty and repeat business. Our partnership with Heidelberg is close because to ensure we operate to optimum efficiency we need reliable kit, top level support and advice and that is what they provide. They are much more than a manufacturer and box shifter these days."