Lanes replaces B2 Miller with B3 Gronhi to challenge digital quality

    • Lanes Printers


    The Company

    Lanes Printers is about to mark a century of print in Broadstairs, having moved to the town in 1912 – although the company’s origins go back even further, to 1897. The company is a general commercial printer, producing a wide spectrum of commercial work for customers throughout the UK. Despite the recession the company has maintained a steady turnover of around £3/4m, which MD Wayne Yorath says is due to a proactive approach to sales and a policy of continual re-investment. The company has 10 staff and a 6,000sq ft premises.

    They recently took the decision to cease dedicated B2 production. Some of the company's B2 format work has now been transferred to its B1 press, but the majority is now being produced on a brand new B3 Gronhi GH524 four colour offset press from Printers Superstore.

    Short Runs and quick turnarounds

    Mr Yorath: "We had B1 and B2 Miller machines, and while the B1 press is always kept busy with long runs and book work, we found that much of the work we were producing at B2 would be better suited to B3 as the marketplace has shifted towards short run quick turnround colour."

    Competitive with litho quality

    "This change has been accelerated by digital print," he continues, "but unlike some of our local competitors I am unconvinced by digital, which in my opinion has been responsible for a lowering of the quality threshold in the print market generally. This is an opportunity for us – we want to be competitive on short runs but offer litho quality."

    "Having identified multicolour B3 litho with a high level of automation as the target, Mr Yorath and his team researched the market. "We found the cost of new presses prohibitively high, even used machines seemed over priced, so when we heard about the low cost of a new Gronhi machine we just had to see it. We were amazed – because it’s a lower price it doesn’t mean it’s a lesser machine, in fact it’s better engineered and has a heavier build than nearly all its competitors."

    No dissapointment with the GH524

    Since the GH524 was installed Mr Yorath says that in the key areas of automation and quality, the GH524 has not disappointed. "We can do a full colour plate change in three minutes, and the ink management is very efficient. We are using CIP software to automate basic duct settings so only minor adjustments are needed, and we have a colourbar scanner to check output. We regularly print some very challenging work including some big solids, and we are very impressed with the results."

    "It’s easy to use, we’ve run it all day every day so far and we expect it to continue for years," says Mr Yorath. "but even if it falls apart in five years – which it won’t – I would still be better off in the long term as the depreciation on a more expensive rival press would roughly equal the purchase price of a second Gronhi!"


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