Swallowmax hopes to increase productivity threefold after being the first company to commission a new B2 Komori Lithrone G29 H-UV.
The four-colour Lithrone G29 with H-UV curing system was installed on Valentine’s Day and cost just shy of £500,000. It replaced a 22-year-old Lithrone 528 at Swallowmax’s factory in Enfield.
Director Rob Beaton said the new 16,500sph press will almost triple the output of the machine it replaced.
“It’s early days and our guys are still working with the H-UV system, which is a different process. So we’re not yet running the kit at its full potential, but give it six to eight weeks,” he said.
“We’ve already seen glimmers of what it can do. Where it scores big is on uncoated stock. We recently did a B2 poster job and 20 minutes later the client picked it up. The print is also more vibrant.”
Around 80% of the company’s print is for agencies and print managers, for which it produces a substantial volume of folders and short-run booklet work.
Swallowmax’s 20 staff generate around £1.5m in sales, but Beaton said that he hoped the new Lithrone would help drive that figure to more than £2m within 18 months. The business also runs a B2 five-colour Mitsubishi Diamond and a range of finishing kit.
Beaton added: “We hope the kit will push us into new markets such as sheet vinyl and plastics, but have to learn to walk before we can run.”
Senior production manager Peter Husband said the company had also noticed a significant trend for buyers to specify uncoated stock requiring heavy ink coverage, which he said played perfectly into the fast drying H-UV system compared to the long drying times required by its old machine’s output.
Swallowmax production manager Michael Verby added: “In terms of our own growth, we recognised that we had hit something of a wall, with significantly more print on offer from clients, which we were reluctant to accept as we were not entirely confident we would always meet delivery expectations.
“The G29’s reliability, its production and colour control systems open this up for us and 24/7 working now holds no fears.”
Swallowmax also has a merchandising arm, SMX, which produces bespoke branding and promotional printed products, for which the Lithrone will play an important role.