Clays invests in manroland Goss web press

The press can produce approximately 50m books per annum

Clays investment in web press with manroland Goss
Clays investment in web press with manroland Goss

Clays recently made a major investment in web press with manroland Goss. The company produces more than 150 million books per annum at the site in Bungay, Suffolk.

This project is the next and, so far, the biggest step in an ongoing multi-million-pound investment program, accelerated since Elcograf acquired the business in 2018, which includes lithographic and digital presses, both monochrome and color, with binding and finishing equipment to match. The combined investments set in place transformational changes in capacity, securing Clays’ ability to provide publishers with further improvement in supply chain speed and availability.

The new press will provide substantial additional capacity for B format books while also absorbing existing digital volume, freeing the digital capacity to grow volumes at a very low run length. The 1260mm web with an 1105mm cylinder circumference press will produce 48pp sections of 2up book signatures up to 37,000 imp/h and can change jobs on the fly at full speed.

manroland Goss press is equipped with the latest DynaChange functionality

The press will be equipped with the latest DynaChange functionality allowing non-stop production and a significant waste reduction. The two-unit press will automatically change plates on the non-printing unit, which will run up to speed and change print forms on the fly at full press speed. Lower run lengths can be produced with lower press speeds to allow time for the printing unit ramp down, automatic blanket washing, automatic plate changing, pre-inking, and automatic printing unit ramp up.

Product quality will be controlled by a host of inline closed-loop systems, including manroland Goss’s inline Density Control (IDCm) and inline cut-off control dynamic (ICCD).

Paul Hulley, chief executive of Clays, said, “This investment demonstrates our strong confidence in, and long term commitment to, the UK book market. Over recent years we have concentrated investment in digital technology in response to market changes. With advances in technology, we are focused on updating our litho press hall, which still produces the majority of our volume. We are making an unprecedented series of investments across printing and binding; this is a very exciting time indeed for the business”.

Edoardo Cuomo, Clays deputy chief executive officer and chief executive officer elect said, “We are delighted to be making this transformational investment. It provides a step-change in capacity and, alongside other extensive investments already made, it positions Clays as a leading player for the foreseeable future. From the start of this project, we have been very impressed by what we can achieve with investment in litho technology; the fact that this manroland Goss press can produce 50m books per annum substantially underpins our existing service commitments and puts powerful additional capacity behind our growth ambitions.”

Ian Smith, Clays operations director, said, “From the very outset of this project, we were happy partnering with manroland Goss. With the great depth of experience and technical expertise across both the manroland Goss and Clays teams, we can be confident of delivering this substantial installation successfully. We are commissioning our latest binding line now, in time for a busy autumn, and then look forward to working with manroland Goss in the months ahead to bring this fantastic investment to life, with the press arriving in Summer 2022.”

Sixten Zapf, deputy vice-president sales manroland Goss web systems GmbH, said, “We have called upon all our experience in coldset technology to develop this press together with Clays. Clays and manroland Goss have developed a great partnership that started already in 2018 when Clays purchased the digital book block finishing system FormerLine of manroland Goss.”

John Ellis, manroland Goss web systems UK managing director, said, “We are delighted to partner Clays in this next exciting stage of development. We have carried out an in-depth analysis of Clays production requirements and followed this up with extensive testing. We have also agreed to a five-year service level agreement to support Clays and to ensure the highest level of performance is maintained.”


2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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