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printadvice plans expansion at LINUS WITTICH

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Press release from the issuing company

Based on the four-eyes principle, Günter Knopp, general manager and project head at LINUS WITTICH for the print shop expansion in Herbstein, Germany, relied on the know-how of the experts from printadvice, or Eurografica. By doing so, he ensured that all technical details and tricky issues, as well as current and future requirements, were already considered in the planning stage.

The old printing press, which had been in operation since 1993, had reached its limits. Similar to the other two LINUS WITTICH printing houses in Föhren (Mosel) and Herzberg (Brandenburg), Germany, the aim in Herbstein (Hesse) was to expand production, improve the quality of printed material, and introduce four-color printing. The Herbstein location produces a large number of small print runs every week. These rarely exceed 2,000 copies of approximately 300 publications, including official gazettes, community newspapers, and county newsletters, which are printed and delivered primarily to the German states of Hesse, Thuringia, and Bavaria. In addition to investing in a 64-page CROMOMAN printing system with four towers and two folders, LINUS WITTICH also purchased the facility and process planning expertise of printadvice at drupa 2008.

Expert input required – an eye on every detail
"We do not build a new printing hall or install a new press every other year, so it has been essential to involve experts who examine the current and desired status of our production, including postpress systems and work paths, contribute their expertise, and also question the status quo," said Knopp, regarding the decision to work together with printadvice. "When planning a production location, every step must be well thought out to the smallest detail," said Thomas Schonbucher, Managing Director of Eurografica Systemplanungs GmbH. "Any process error would be incredibly expensive. Regardless of the project size, it always pays to get an expert opinion." The expansion of the print shop in Herbstein from 600 to roughly 2,000 square meters, the design of the new printing hall, the installation of the printing press, and the integration of the prepress with a new CTP were only one part of the challenge. The new premises and printing system, expanded production, and the introduction of an additional production shift also required redefined work paths and processes. Complex issues had to be resolved – what position in the hall is ideally suited for the press? Technical prerequisites, operation, upstream and downstream production processes, and potential future expansion had to be taken into account. What is the best location for the paper, material and chemical storage areas, the mailing department and the staff changing rooms? What are the ideal solutions for procurement, recycling or disposal related to electricity, lighting, heat, water, and air in terms of the environment and production? What is the best way to build, relocate departments and continue uninterrupted operations? "Many of the consultants' suggestions concerning details about production technology, building services, and process flow, coupled with their interaction with our architect and structural engineer, were exceptionally valuable, from the planning phase to the on-site implementation," said Knopp, describing the cooperation with printadvice.

Headed to an efficient future
There was a lot of pressure on the printing staff, who had to learn a great deal very quickly. One day they were printing on the old press and the next they had to operate the new CROMOMAN. The team was introduced and trained by the colleagues who operate the previous model in Föhren. After eight weeks of production training and another 16 weeks of production support, printing in the new building proceeded error-free. In addition to the press, the new building houses the receiving and delivery departments, storage for rolls, material and waste, as well as building services. At the same time, CTP, postpress and mailing started up in the old building section. "With our current set-up we can comfortably operate for the next ten years," Knopp said confidently. "However, we will upgrade to the fourth tower earlier than expected. This had been included in the plans and the upgrade will take place in late November 2010. The planned increase in production has already occurred. The printing tower ensures higher page flexibility, providing us with the required backup capacity on days with particularly high workloads." LINUS WITTICH is a family-run business headquartered in Höhr-Grenzhausen (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany). For more than 40 years its core competency has been the production of local news – official gazettes and news for municipalities, cities, counties, and states. More than 900 employees work for the publishing and printing house, across Germany in twelve federal states at twelve publishing locations with four print shops, as well as in Austria. The Herbstein location in Hesse, was established in 1970. Today, it has 33 employees who produce approximately 300 newspapers and other publications with a total weekly circulation of roughly 1,000,000 copies.

The project assignment:
- Planning and implementation of the building expansion for a new CROMOMAN during ongoing production
- Restructuring of the work areas and processes
- Start of planning in June 2008, project completion in September 2009




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