Solopress has made a significant investment in Horizon bindery equipment supplied by IFS, including a perfect binder, three-side trimmer, saddle-stitcher and two folders, to expand capacity for expected growth.

The Southend-based online and trade printer has opted for a BQ500 Ice Perfect Binder, an HT300 Ice Three Side Trimmer, a StitchLiner Mark III and two AFV-566FKT Ice Folders, in an investment values at £600,000. This complements continuing investment in both litho and digital print equipment installed since the start of the pandemic period that has included an HP Indigo 100K sheet-fed press installed in March 2022.

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.

‘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 stand-alone line that would be ready to manage just the book work. Being easy to run, the systems allow for less operator intervention too.’

While the BQ500 perfect binder and three-side trimmer address that aim as a self-contained book production line, the StitchLiner was a straight replacement for a seven year-old model, with a view to expanding capacity in booklet work. The two folder were similarly bought for capacity, with the intention of also adding two-up folding soon, for a total throughput of up to 1.5 million folded items per day.

The inclusion of Ice Link cloud-based workflow was seen as important for operational oversight and reporting. It provides a dashboard that relays real-time production analysis for improved efficiency and profitability, supporting remote update capabilities and scheduled maintenance for decreased downtime. Mr Clifford said, ‘The data capture is important for us. We need to see exactly how long jobs take and how much jobs cost us to produce. With Ice Link this now gives us that insight’.