Pensord is a specialist magazine printing company and the sole strategic partner of the Professional Publishers Association’s (PPA) Independent Publishers Network (IPN).

Online, On Paper and On the Move

Based in Pontllanfraith, near Blackwood in South Wales, Pensord operates out of 50,000 sq ft of factory space, specifically designed for the short-run sheet-fed controlled circulation magazine market. This fully equipped plant operates 24/7 and is where our 150 Pensord People, expertly produce the 380 regular publications, for which we are the proud printing guardians.

Specialist in the magazine sector

Pensord is orientated, from a production scheduling and workflow perspective, to provide a specialist service to magazine publishers. It provides a ‘one-stop-shop’ facility from pre-press digital and web-based processes, through material printing, binding and comprehensive finishing services, to product distribution via mail. In addition, our Digital Editions service enables the creation of on line virtual multi-media publications. Pensord is registered to ISO 9001:2008.


Pensord’s enlightened culture is exemplified in the ‘Pensord Charter’ which was launched in December 2003. The Charter formalises the business ethics and teamwork on which the company operates, and places the customer (external and internal) at the focal point of the business. In addition, in February 2004 all staff were given a share of the business in the form of free share options; an industry leading scheme, this cemented and aligned employees’ motivation to provide best in class service. The value of these shares was realised in July 2010 with each participating employee receiving a payout following the MBO. This culture of excellence, combined with progressive thinking and performance measurement, drives the business proactively to service current and future customer needs, and was recognised in 2006 when the business won the prestigious British Printing Industries Federation Excellence Award in the Turnaround category. This celebrates the success achieved by a significant positive turnaround in an organisation’s business – on financial performance, on its approach to solving problems, and the potential for lasting improvement.

Developing the skills and understanding of “Pensord people” is at the heart of everything the company does and this was recognised in February 2008 with the award of the Investors in People (IiP) standard. IiP assessor Julie Hobby said: “I was impressed by the way the directors at Pensord had turned the business around into a highly effective organisation. The focus on developing a strong people culture is clearly adding value to the business. The IiP award is a worthy accolade for the hard work and achievements made by the whole team at Pensord.”

The outcomes of this culture are not just positive for customers and other stakeholders, but also for the local community through donations to good causes via the Pensord Charitable Trust. This was established in 2005 and raises funds in three ways: employees participate in fund-raising events, the company donates £1 for each new print project on which it quotes, and also a share of profits. The current ‘adopted’ charity, chosen by employees, is Cancer Research Wales, which replaced the Hospice of the Valleys for which over £45,000 had been raised between 2004 and 2010.

Customer Care

Our customer care is derived from our culture – “Pensord People” are committed to excellence in all that they do. Our Customer Care Team lead and coordinate our service offering and this begins with the allocation of a dedicated Title Manager to each customer – to be the main contact and lead through the production process from file supply to mailing and despatch. In conjunction with our Title Managers, our estimating team work proactively with customers to identify best value options.


Pensord takes its environmental and corporate social responsibilities very seriously. The site incorporates an area of special natural interest and the river Sirhowy flows near by. The company is certified to ISO 14001 and FSC®/PEFC chain of custody. The business utilises modern, energy efficient, machinery and vegetable based inks. Waste materials such as paper waste, used printing plates, cardboard and polythene are all recycled. The company was shortlisted for the Periodical Publishers Association (PPA) ‘Environmentally Sustainable Business of the Year’ and has also committed to becoming ‘zero to landfill’ during 2011.

Operations - A Genuine One-Stop-Shop Operations


Our newly redeveloped pre-press suite comprises a fully digital end-to-end process encompassing Agfa’s state of the art Apogee Portal web-based file delivery and approval system. Plates are produced via our newly installed 42 B1 plate per hour Screen 8800z engine and our 30 B1 plate per hour Screen 8800s, which also boast reduced chemistry production. Our pre-press team are all long-serving and experienced operators and our technical advice, enriched by our Adobe certified expert, is second to none.


All three of our 8-unit B1 perfecting presses and our 5 colour B2 cover press, which incorporates a coating unit, are Heidelberg manufactured and have all been acquired since 2004, with our latest addition in 2011 being the XL105 with Inpress Control and Autoplate loading offering significant reduction in make ready times and increased quality control of registration and colour. These presses incorporate significant technological advances enhancing the printed image and maximising our efficiency and competitiveness.

Finishing and Binding

Our investment in the bindery is equally impressive, with a high speed saddle-stitching line and three high speed folding machines having been acquired since 2005, the latest of which was installed in May 2011, and a new perfect binding line installed in 2008. This complements our range of a further 3 folders, two guillotines and second saddle-stitching line, and ensures that we have the firepower to handle the ever increasing presshall output. Our latest addition to the finishing department is a B2 Duplo UV Coating machine, bringing this previously outworked activity back in house, with a new high speed folder just around the corner.

Mailing and Despatch

We have two in-line polywrapping mailing lines to provide high capacity and back-up. Much of our production is mailed direct to the end user and utilises our ink-jet addressing/messaging facilities. Bulk despatches are handled via our two local transport partners. In addition, our in-house handwork task force is available 24/7 to facilitate publishers’ high value added requirements such as cover mounts and specific page inserts.

Digital Editions

Our service incorporates digital versions of publications. From simple page turning through to hyperlinks, and from the incorporation of multi-media through to collection of statistics on user activity, this facility can help publishers grow their offering benefiting both readers and advertisers, extend their brands, and potentially monetise their on-line presence.

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