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Customer Case  | T J International, Padstow, UNITED KINGDOM  | 11 October 2018

Cornish book printer T J International doubles plate capacity

In the world of book printing where inventory control is driving down print runs and increasing plate volumes, striking a deal that increases the capacity and reliability of plate production and reduces service costs was a sensible decision for T J International.

Agfa completed the installation of a new Arkana 125 Plate Processor, an Avalon N16 90XT very large format (VLF) Plate Setter with Auto Loader and an upgraded Apogee Workflow solution at T J International (TJI).  The deal included the supply of Energy Elite Eco Plates too. The new install is producing 42 plates per hour for the business with one operator and has replaced two old Agfa processors and plate setters that together had produced just 26 plates per hour with two operatives. 

The project perfectly demonstrates a great ECO3 case for Agfa. They have provided an overall less expensive deal for the customer whose service contract has reduced due to newer equipment and they have security of plates, workflow and hardware for a longer term.  From an environmental point of view the processor uses less chemistry, so reducing chemistry waste costs for the business and no water is required for rinsing the plates.  The processor also needs to be cleaned less regularly from what was every 20 to every 80 days.

Established in 1969, TJI has been located on the outskirts of Padstow in Cornwall since 1973 and are now a sizeable book printer in the UK, producing around 7 million books a year and growing.  Since completing their MBO at the end of last year, their new MD Andy Watts commented on the investment.  “Our business has worked with Agfa kit for over 20 years and whilst the deal for this new kit was secured before my appointment, it is a good deal and I see Agfa as a long term strategic partner for our business.  They support the business very well from a technical and service point of view.”

The business, led by Andy Watts, who has worked in the printing market for over 30 years, employs 140 staff on site and produces books across digital toner, ink jet and litho printing technologies.  80% of their work serves the Science, Technical, Medical and Academic market place with a growing proportion of print on demand jobs.

They have a well-established digital side to the business to cater for the shorter print runs and they have the capability to produce one offs for self-publishing authors. In fact they boast that the average print run in their digital division is just 1.7 books, which can be in paperback or hardback format.

  • ECO³


    Agfa Graphics is committed to sustainable innovation that focuses on ecology, economy, and extra convenience—or ECO³. Our hardware, software and consumables make your prepress and printing operations cleaner, more cost-effective and easier to operate and maintain. The ultimate goal? More value for your entire printing business!

Their customers are from all over the UK and whilst they are largely publishing businesses they are seeing a growing self-publishing market and can cater for this trend taking a book from conception to typeset, design, production through to distribution.

Whilst the digital side of their business is growing, the litho side is stable and self contained with three KBA litho presses that are working well within capacity.  Publishers rarely specify whether they want a job printing digital or litho, but if there are pictures or tonals in a job TJI believes that litho still produces a better quality result.

We are keen to form long term strategic partnerships for the business moving forward.”  said Andy Watts.  “Our future investments for the business will be customer driven, we listen to our customers and the business needs to reflect their needs.  In support of that we need to be confident that our suppliers are providing the best service, the best commercial package and overall the best value for money. Agfa add value with its front-end technology and workflow and of course making sure that they keep supplying us with plates. Whilst I may have liked to choose who I was to marry in this investment negotiation, on reflection I don’t think I would have chosen a different bride.

  • Arkana


    Deploying Agfa Graphics’ revolutionary patented cascade system, the Arkana smart plate processor saves printers both time and money, while making operations more ecological and convenient.

  • Avalon N VLF (16 to 48-up)

    Avalon N VLF (16 to 48-up)

    The Avalon N range of thermal VLF (Very Large Format) computer-to-plate engines are star performers in quality- and efficiency-driven plate production. They will handle any plate size from 16 to 48-up.

  • Energy Elite Eco

    Energy Elite Eco

    Ready for the next generation of no-bake, long-run thermal printing plates? Energy Elite Eco has it all: an even higher run length, photorealistic imaging quality and advanced ECO³ features.

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