MetroMail has continued its aggressive capital equipment investment programme, investing in an eight-colour Roland 700 DirectDrive perfector press.
The £2m-plus spend, which also includes an Agfa platesetter, Apogee workflow, Tharsten MIS and a Wohlenberg guillotine, will be installed at the company’s Seaham, County Durham facility this month.
The investment is in addition to the company’s £10m spend on its 13,000sqm facility earlier this year, a move that kept 250 jobs in the area after the business reached capacity at its existing Peterlee site.
Alan Purvis, managing director at MetroMail, said the installation of the Roland 700 was "an absolutely key component" of the firm’s strategy to become the most profitable and efficient direct mailing house in the UK.
He said: "There is a perception in the market that a digital house buying a litho press is going against the grain. However, we believe hardware and software should be the vehicle for achieving strategy and not the drivers of it."
MetroMail opted for the litho machine to broaden its print offering for direct mail clients while eliminating the need to outsource any elements of their campaign production.
Purvis said the press’s DirectDrive technology, which means plate changing can be carried out simultaneously on two to 12 printing units at the same time other makeready functions are being performed, would boost efficiency at the company.
And while inkjet production is growing in popularity within direct mail, Purvis said that it was still more suited for the printing of short-run personalised work.
He said: "There is still a huge market for non-personalised items of print which are still massively cheaper to produce by litho rather than inkjet.
"My belief is that if we do it right then there is still money to be made in Litho. I have spent a great deal of time analysing the market, different models, dynamics and cost structures and believe that for certain jobs and applications there is still profit in litho."
Purvis did, however, add that the company was analysing the inkjet market.