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Printech bucks the trend

While OEMs are fighting hard for sales, Printech Engineering is enjoying unprecedented growth in the supply of reconditioned presses, reports Gill Loubser.    

As related last month, the Printech Engineering stand at Africa Print was inundated by international and local visitors looking for quality printing solutions and services. In that issue we also carried news of the delivery of a Heidelberg Speedmaster ex J Ryan Printers, lovingly-restored to ‘as-new’ condition for its new owners at SA Litho.     


But these two items are merely the tip of the iceberg; there are many more success stories that underline the strong business growth being enjoyed by Printech Engineering, where partners Graham Townsend and Thomas (Tommy) van den Oever are smiling as they buck the rather gloomy trend among other press suppliers.    

‘We’re well positioned in the African printing market to add value and make a difference to existing and potential customers,’ Graham maintains. ‘We’re gaining new customers in a shrinking market; we’re continuing to employ people while others are retrenching. We’re experiencing a phenomenal year of growth in an economic downturn. We must be different!’ he remarks with a happy grin.  

As he goes on to explain, Printech’s desire has always been to add value.    

‘By doing this,’ Graham continues, ‘we create trust among our customers that we can make a difference to their businesses and their lives. After 32 years in this industry, we’re experiencing this “first hand”.’

Printech recently commissioned Africa’s first-ever Heidelberg XL 105-8P. This press, installed at Shumani Printers in Cape Town, is a 2008 model sourced from a prestige German printing plant and boasting all the features and automation available at the time of its original build. It achieves running speeds of 15 000 sheets/hour, offers innovative makeready solutions, produces short runs and includes Heidelberg’s Impress feature, allowing print quality to be monitored constantly, and corrected if necessary, while the press is running at high speed.

‘Shumani is a typical customer where we’ve enjoyed a mutually-beneficial working relationship over the years, having sold the company more than 20 machines – from printing presses to saddle stitchers, folding machines and guillotines,’ Graham relates.

‘Recently, we secured an order from JSE-listed Times Media Group for two Heidelberg 102-8P eight-colour presses plus a Heidelberg XL 105-5+LX, all now installed. It’s remarkable the amount of trust a group of this stature places in our company. Clearly they recognise our ability to add value and the superior support we offer.’

Printech Engineering is also a supplier to the CTP group, a company on the acquisition trail. Here the sale of a 2006 Heidelberg 102-5+LYL press (ex J Ryan), and now installed at SA Litho, is a typical example.

‘This UV press was in a sad state,’ Graham remarks. ‘Through a lack of maintenance, it had deteriorated beyond its years. But our staff approached the project with a positive attitude and it’s now fully restored. It’s now producing top-quality print at the level it was originally designed to achieve.’

Continuing to grow its customer base, Printech has enjoyed particularly good sales in Durban. ‘In a short space of time, we installed two A1 five-colour presses and an A2 five-colour with coater to new customers in Durban,’ Graham reports.

Among the long list of other recent sale is a Heidelberg SM 102-8P installed at Cape Town’s ABC Press (the second in under a year), replacing two older Heidelberg five-colour presses.

‘The latest – a 2005 model sourced from a top-quality German printing house – is a very high-spec machine that allows ABC Press to enjoy the benefit of high-performance, top-quality printing,’ says Graham.

Moving to the Boland, Printech has enjoyed significant growth in sales to the Paarl Media group.

In Paarl Litho’s Kasteelstraat plant in the centre of town, Printech instated a Heidelberg SM 72 VP four-colour press. This was followed by a 2007 model Heidelberg CD 74-8P at Paarl Litho’s brand-new premises in Wellington, where it’s printing on any number of substrates from bible paper to cartonboard.

As Ian Bosch, MD of director of Paarl Litho, comments, the eight-colour press allows fast turnaround of jobs, ensuring the operation remains competitive in a demanding market. ‘We have partnered with Printech because we find the level of service exemplary, thereby contributing to our own success,’ he confirms.

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