The Speedmaster, which will replace a 40 inch and two 28 inch Lithrones, was bought to boost the firm’s efficiency. The ability to cut make-readies from 45 minutes to five or ten was a key attraction, said managing director Doug Nelson.
He said: “The machines that we’ve got at the moment are only eight years old but when we bought them they had no automation, no colour management, and basically since then the print industry’s changed; everything’s short run, quick make-ready and we’ve not been able to do the quick make-readies.”
He added: “We’ll be running the same work but we think we should be able to become a bit more competitive. At the moment we lose out on so many bigger jobs because we can’t do them at the right prices. We can’t print them as quick, we’re messing about making ready.”
Aiding this drive for efficiency will be the Speedmaster’s coating capabilities, explained Nelson. The company’s first move into coating will see it save around 35 to 40 minutes on each job, he said. “That time equates to over 30 hours a month. One job that should take us two hours is double the time without coating,” he said.
NB’s new Speedmaster is secondhand but “nearly new”, reported Nelson. It was bought as part of a £600,000 overall investment which also included a Kodak Magnus CtP device. “We’ve never had automation on platesetters either, everything’s been manual. But you’ve got to go automated otherwise you just can’t compete,” said Nelson.
Another attraction of the Speedmaster was its drip coating capability, which Nelson said he hoped would be popular with NB’s advertising and design agency customers.
The space reserved for the Speedmaster, which NB anticipates will be up and running by mid-September, has been designed to allow for a future upgrade.
“We looked at the Speedmaster XL 75 and our longer term goal is to invest in that model. The floor preparation we have undertaken at the factory is 13 metres long with that in mind; the SM 74 we are getting next week is 9 metres long,” said Neslon. “But that upgrade will be in the future if everything’s going swimmingly.”
Of NB’s decision to switch from being a Komori to Heidelberg house, Nelson added: “We’ve been a Komori house since the 80s, but we’ve got guys working for us who have used Heidelbergs and they all love the Speedmasters, although the Komoris have been fantastic for us. And timing was an issue – we’d have had to wait until after Christmas for a brand new Komori.”
The new press and platesetter will join NB Colour’s most recent investment, a Konica C7000 installed last year, its range of Duplo finishing kit, and its HP Indigo 5500, purchased in 2008.