Soar adds stitcher to its stable

The Stitch Liner, manufactured by print finishing equipment manufacturer Horizon, was bought and installed through AM International, a process which managing director, Fred Soar says went like a dream.

AM International unloaded it into the factory, clipped it together and it was ready to run, he says.

Soar’s staff were given a week’s worth of training, but the fully-automated stitcher was pushing through work within a couple of days, including a couple of 40-page booklets.

“We certainly tested its capabilities, especially up to the top end of its specifications and we can safely say that it has exceeded our expectations. We’ve had absolutely no problems with it and it just shows that the equipment comes out of the factory in Japan all ready to run.”

He says he’s also impressed with AM’s service, with help being just a phone call away.

“The service has been impeccable. Any time we’ve had a problems AM has had someone here within half an hour. Their follow-up has been exceptional.”

It’s the first Horizon Stitch Liner to be installed in the country and represents brand new technology. Released just this March, it is only the sixth machine to be sold in Australasia.

“It’s at the very front end of that type of machine. It’s very impressive equipment,” Fred says.

“We’d been looking for a finishing solution for some time because we felt that providing an end to end process was much more efficient for our clients than out-sourcing work, especially with Auckland’s traffic.

“It can take half a day sometimes just to get work delivered, then another half day once it is sent back. With increasingly tight time margins expected, it made sense to do it ourselves and send it out from here.”

Soar Printing is based in Eden Terrace on the fringe of Auckland city with most of its clients in the city itself while most print finishers are located further afield in other suburbs.

Fred estimates that the machine has taken at least a day off production time for each job.

“It gives a very fast turnaround and we are able to jump from job to job because of its quick make-ready. In reality it really has enabled us to increase our turnaround time to 24 hours.

“Typically we get a disk in the morning, produce a proof in the afternoon and print the job overnight before sending it to the finishers. Now we can finish it ourselves as it’s printed and have it ready the next day.”

Fred says he first saw the machine on a stand at Printex in Sydney in April, and decided that it was ideal to fill the hole in their print finishing needs.

The Stitch Liner takes finished product from A6 to A4 from eight page booklets up to 80-page volumes, although the average size Soar handles is 24 pages.

Its top speed is 5500 booklets an hour – more than adequate for Soar’s needs, Fred adds.

“The machine is ideal for short to medium runs of several hundred up to 25,000 booklets.”

It has a fourth and fifth knife for two-up work and loop stitching.

“It’s a gang stitcher in the truest form with stitching and three-knife trimming with stock being fed in, in four-page format. There is no need for pre-folding. Finished work is cut into four page sections and loaded into the collating towers,” he says.

“It uses a flat collate method which suites its turnaround speed.”

Other specifications include its six to 10-station VAC towers which can be combined to create a 60-station collating system; the machine’s ability to vary the number of sheets per folded section to insure a tight fold; and five operating speeds.

It’s three-side trimming provides finishing in one pass, and a centre-cut option provides for the two-up booklet production. All cut parameters are input at the centralised touch-screen with full automation.

Soar Print has been on a sharp growth curve itself in the past couple of years with the amalgamation of seven other printing businesses which are operating under one roof out of substantial premises in Eden Terrace. Its latest acquisition, Moir Johnson Printing, a smaller printing company which came with the firm’s equipment and five staff was bought and merged with Soar in May to bring its total staff to 76.

Soar Printing is one of Auckland’s oldest family owned businesses now run by third generation Soar’s Fred Soar along with his sisters Jenny and Vicky.

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