The high-quality magazine printer signed a €3.7m order for a Rapida 106 10-colour perfector on KBA’s stand at Drupa last year, although it was revealed in December that the press install had been put back to 2013.

Westdale Press managing director Alan Padbury said: “We placed an order at Drupa and the press was delayed even though that [delivery date] was something we were very specific about. It was a huge disappointment.

“We’d already done a lot of work in terms of upgrading our power supply, installing an ink pumping system and all sorts of things and in the end we had to go back to the drawing board because what should have happened [18 months ago] was now not going to happen until next spring.”

Padbury stressed that while “some errors were made at no point did I lose faith in the product – KBA has a very capable machine, but when we reevaluated – as we had to because of the delay – we chose to stay with Heidelberg.”

As a result, the Cardiff-based printer has now placed an order for two Heidelberg XL 106 10-colours, its fourth and fifth Speedmaster XL presses.

Padbury said: “The final decision came down to confidence in the machine and our ability to operate with Heidelberg technology. We know it and understand the press. Moving to another manufacturer is a big step and without experience we wouldn’t get the most out of another press.”

“Ultimately we were more comfortable with Heidelberg,” he added. “I’m not saying everything about Heidelberg is perfect – it’s not – all of the press manufacturers have become a lot tougher over the past few years.

“But we get a tremendous response from Heidelberg if there’s ever a mechanical or electrical fault – their engineers are oftern the unsung heroes of the organisation but they give us a good and technically-able response in a very rapid timeframe.”

The first XL 106-10-P, which will be delivered in April 2014, will be a 15,000sph machine with Autoplate XL and Inpress Control. It will replace an older 12-colour Speedmaster, and will primarily handle shorter run work between 500 and 10,000 sheets.

“We will certainly see a double-digit productivity improvement with the first new XL 106,” said Padbury. “We have had Inpress Control on one of our presses before and we know it is a powerful tool. Autoplate XL is a first but we see its potential.”

Westdale Press also prints high-quality brochures and catalogues and picked up two quality Awards at the PrintWeek Awards earlier this month. The firm said that the majority of its work fits well on a 10-colour machine and that the volume of six-colour work was not enough to justify another 12-colour press.

A second, 18,000sph Speedmaster XL 106-10-P with Inpress Control (but without Autoplate XL) will be installed 12 months later for longer run jobs and is expected to output around 70m impressions per year based on the current market.

Padbury said: “It has always been my strategy to have three sheetfed long perfectors, positioning Westdale Press as a significant force in the UK long-perfector market.

“Although we pride ourselves on being a high-quality printer, the reality is that customers are only willing to pay you so much for knowing that fact; it’s fine for a printing company to be about doing good high-quality work, but it also has to be about shifting sheets.

“We’re trying to do both – the be competitive and be high quality – and to do that the cost centre structure has to be such that you can price fairly marginally for volume production.”

Westdale said it was phasing the investment to allow it to manage space and power and to review further the type of work it does. The company is currently reviewing its web-sheetfed balance to ensure it meets customer expectations for quality, response and cost.

Deputy managing director Dean Pike will implement the bedding down of the new presses.