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Mercia’s Foliant Completes Business Vision

The addition of an IFS-supplied Foliant Taurus 530SF in the print production portfolio of Mercia Image Print signals the end of a 26-year-long journey.

“It is the final piece in a jigsaw puzzle that we started when we set up the business in 1989,” states Managing Director Amanda Strong of the Little Eaton general commercial print operation that has seen turnover increase 10% to £1.4m in the past year. It completes litho print on a five-colour B2 Mistubishi Diamond and a five-colour Heidelberg SpeedMaster 52 and digital print on a Xerox J75.

The latest investment concludes a £100,000 spend that included an inkjet addressing system and envelope inserter and a thermal platesetter.

“I have wanted to add laminating for a long time but I couldn’t make the figures stack up,” states Strong. “Then we increased our digital print output with the Xerox 18 months ago and saw a greater shift to short run litho jobs. Although we had a small laminator to cover small and digital runs we did not have in house lamination on the larger litho runs. This meant we were sending more lamination out which took time and added cost. I ran the figures again and this time they made sense.”

But it is not just the immediate demand that will have an impact: “It is too early to say what difference it has made to our bottomline but we are already able to offer lamination as an extra much more freely than we were before. This helps us create a more value added service which in turn makes our customers feel like they are getting more for their money. We can also promote the service more readily because we know we have full control of the process and timings – especially when so many jobs are now on demand. There are so many areas it impacts. It was such a good decision to buy.”

She explains the laminator will also play a crucial role in the company’s move towards direct mail production supported by the other recent additions. “We are seeing a growing interest in targeted mail. This was something we were outsourcing and have now brought totally in-house. Lamination is central to this and being able to keep control of all the elements in-house will greatly enhance our service.”

The Foliant was chosen after a careful review of all the market available systems says Strong: “We did a lot of research. We considered all the options and looked closely at four. The Foliant was a solid piece of kit, had a good reputation in the industry and the sales team filled us with confidence in what it could do and how it could help our business.”

The Foliant Taurus 530SF (B2+) compact, high speed machine with a rising pile back separation stream feeder and a suction paper feed head incorporates feeder, laminator, and a sheet separator in a single construction. It features an interactive touch screen, bump sheet separator and has a 10 minute warm up time.

“It is easy to use and produces high quality results,” adds Strong. “We are very happy with it.”