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Featured:     European Coverage     Production Inkjet Analysis

Success with Rapida 75E

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Press release from the issuing company

Coffee is a constant in Heinz Höppner’s life. The former head of the inplant printing department at Eduscho, a coffee roaster, seized a unique opportunity of going independent in 1998 when major coffee roasters started selling off their non-core assets.

The contract included sufficient work for two years, during which time he would have to establish his own customer base. Trading under the name Merlin, he stayed at the same premises until the landlord wanted them for other purposes and offered him a new location: a coffee-roasting plant in Bremen, no longer used by the original owner and beautifully renovated. This is where the Rapida 75E has found some real fans.

When planning the relocation from an old customs building to the coffee-roasting plant, Heinz Höppner had to decide whether to have his existing eleven-year-old press overhauled or buy a newer second-hand one. His bank calculated that the monthly instalments for a new press would be roughly the same. He therefore checked out the new B2 (29in) presses on the market. Since he would also be printing heavy board it would have to have double-size cylinders. Then he saw a print demonstration on a Rapida 75E in Radebeul which went so well that his press crew were over the moon. Another advantage was its highly compact design. Six months after the five-colour Rapida went into operation the outline of the alternative press is still visible on the press room floor. It would have been ten tonnes (11 US tons) heavier than the Rapida 75E and required a stronger founda-tion, entailing a lot more structural work because there is car park underneath.

The Rapida has printed around four million sheets since being com-missioned. Operator Sven Martens is still delighted with his boss’s decision: “It is a fine little machine!” There is no need to change either the ink duct films nor the Super-Blue material on the rollers. Colour is extremely stable, sheet travel is very smooth and the feeder is sensa-tional: “It eats just about everything, with very little manual adjust-ment,” says Martens. He has printed stock ranging from 60gsm (16lb bond) paper to 450gsm (22pt) board 0.55mm (0.02in) thick. At a higher output than before and with much shorter makeready times.

Today the company makes a living from commercials of all kinds. Sometimes print runs are as small as 150 sheets, rising to an ex-treme of 300,000. Customers still hail from the coffee and confection-ary industries, but they are no longer called Eduscho. Instead Heinz Höppner prints products for trading companies and chocolate manu-facturers in Switzerland and Brunsbüttel. Or urban community maga-zines and waiters’ pads. Or documents for the health insurance fund on the floor above Merlin. But whatever the job, the Rapida 75E has no need for modesty, either in the reproduction of complex contones or fine reverse type in ad images. Power consumption is not an issue either, the compact Rapida being much more economical than com-parable models.

The new press has freed up capacity at this nine-man enterprise. With the Rapida 75E Heinz Höppner feels well able to compete in the marketplace. But he has one word of caution: “We are competing for customers, not for a ranking among printers.” While a lot of other printers accept jobs at almost any price to keep the presses hum-ming, he focuses on specialities. For example coffee wrappers entail-ing four colours, special colours, two gold shades, an additional spe-cial colour and a coating, printed in two passes – and of course non-toxic, as are the similarly sophisticated labels for confectionary.

 

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