“We print the impossible” is the slogan which is translated into daily practice by high-class printers Artegrafica Srl in Verona. Artegrafica was founded in 1976 and has been a member of the Graphicom group since 1998.
The company tackles all arising challenges with creativity and experience in its quest to satisfy even the highest expectations of its demanding clients. No product is so sophisticated or exquisite that it cannot be realised with ambition, passion and the corresponding know-how.
Artegrafica president Antonio Faccin appears surprisingly relaxed when he sums up the business year 2012. No signs of Euro crisis or stagnating sales. A company strategy based on quality and perfection is evidently the right approach. He has his sights set on new markets, and the brand-new KBA Rapida 162a in the printshop is evidence that he can afford to continue his course of equipment modernisation despite the difficult general economic situation in Italy.
There are good reasons for such confidence. As could be seen again at the recent Frankfurt Book Fair, Graphicom is an internationally respected print service provider for leading publishers, art galleries, museums and agencies. Production in Verona comprises 90% exclusive books and 10% high-gloss brochures for established fashion labels, with a high export quota. The 100-employee team achieves an annual turnover of €23 million, with a firm upward trend.
Challenges as opportunity
Besides passion and professionalism, the availability of cutting-edge equipment in all areas of production is an imperative prerequisite. With regard to print, Artegrafica and KBA have cultivated a successful partnership for 28 years now. Eight installations of KBA sheetfed offset presses – five in large format and three in medium format – provide ample proof.
Antonio Faccin: “We have been gathering positive experience with the performance and reliability of KBA presses since before my time as president, and we appreciate the company's innovation strength and design capabilities as a press manufacturer. KBA has always been prepared to tackle new tasks and to bring new press generations to the market. We at Artegrafica have benefited greatly from this potential. In Italian, the word ‘standard’ is used to describe something which is commonplace. But that is not the goal we set ourselves. In our continued efforts to print the impossible, our success has to a large degree been attributable to the close cooperation with KBA.”
Investment in proven technology
- That Artegrafica should choose to purchase another KBA Rapida 162a so shortly before the launch of the successor model Rapida 164 was a strategic decision. Antonio Faccin: “The press is a replacement for an identical model installed in 2002, which has now been sold to a printer in China. The new five-colour Rapida incorporates all the updates which KBA has developed in the meantime. And it also supports the demands of “green printing” which we must meet to comply with FSC, ISO 14001 and Carbon Trust requirements. The increased production speed and shorter makeready times of the new Rapida 164 are not the measure of all things in our particular case. But we are quality fanatics and accept no compromises. With QualiTronic Professional and DensiTronic Professional, we have been able to achieve further major advances in this respect. The fifth KBA Rapida 162a is thus testimony to our valuation of this proven press model.”
- More titles and exclusive collectors' items
Alongside the cost aspect, there was another point which influenced the investment decision at Artegrafica. According to Antonio Faccin, there is a growing trend to shorter runs and an increased number of titles in the high-quality segment of the book and publishing branch. The objective is to create unique and exclusive products. This also affects the formats which must be catered for in the print and post-press processes.
“We responded to this development already at the end of 2010 with an investment in a KBA Rapida 106-6+L. This coater press with DriveTronic SPC for simultaneous plate changes and highly efficient quality management systems is likewise well proven and can already be used for print runs from around 3,000 copies.”
New markets bring growth
Artegrafica has already played through various scenarios for further investments. Antonio Faccin: “We will be watching the market development in Europe and overseas very closely and will then reach a decision accordingly. We recorded growth in Great Britain, France and the USA in 2012, while our markets in Germany and Scandinavia stayed up at approximately the level of the previous year. We are not yet feeling competition from digital print, but we are keeping an eye on all technical developments in the fields of print and packaging. From a strategic point of view, bookbinding is also very important for our service portfolio. That is why we invested in a new machine last year. We are continuing with our modernisation plans. We will also be venturing onto new territory in 2013, namely onto the Arab markets. That is a region which demands exclusively top-class products.”
Living quality secures leading position
“With our available presses, we can be confident of complying with the ISO 12674-2, 13655 and 3664 standards. That includes online monitoring during production runs, controlled printing conditions and special characterisation of the individual jobs. KBA is for us an important technology partner, and we know that our top-quality results place us well to the front of the field, despite the relatively high worldwide standards in our branch. We live quality, and that is more than just the printed product. It includes the passion and professionalism of our printers, training and material tests, the optimised climatic conditions for the production environment, and the care and maintenance given to our equipment – all fundamental prerequisites for implementation of our uncompromising philosophy.