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.”


The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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