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Hucais vitalizes business model with FormerLine

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Press release from the issuing company

Chinese letterpress giant relies on digital printing workflow with Inline-Finishing from manroland web systems

Hucais was the first Chinese printing company to implement a digital printing workflow with Inline-Finishing thanks to FormerLine. The book block solution from manroland web systems is part of a large-scale order involving the installation of numerous FormerLine systems, some still yet to come. 

At the inauguration of the digital printing center in Dongguan, in spring 2014, a traditional Chinese lion dance was performed. The dance is believed to bring good fortune. And it did: even after starting up the fourth and fifth digital printing lines in March and April of 2015, there are still many reasons to celebrate this elaborate project at Hucais. The new workflow is a milestone in the printing company’s digital history: for the first time, the whole workflow, from the printing data to auxiliary glued book blocks, now occurs entirely inline at production sites in both Dongguan and Peking. The book block solution FormerLine has taken over digital finishing for the fifth time at Hucais; it functions as an offline variant in the first three lines installed at the company. Chen Chengwen, President & CEOof Hucais is impressed: „The straightforward co-operation with manroland web systems had been an essential success factor for the inline integration of the two lines at record speed.“

Changing market for letterpress
Hucais wouldn’t have it any other way: the company’s progressively digital production scheme, which includes the FormerLine installations, is part of an overarching business model. In addition to expanding its digital production network (sites in Dongguan, Peking, Shaoxing), the media company has established an e-commerce platform for printed products. This allows Hucais to accept print-on-demand jobs directly and print them quickly and close to the reader, thus satisfying the needs of publishers. In China as well, publishers demand cost-efficient production of small runs and on-demand delivery instead of warehousing.

Key component in business model
The new digital workflow for book production in Peking comprises a digital press from Hewlett Packard with a novel inline integration of the FormerLine system. Hucais sees it as a key step on the road to a successful future. The printing company pursues a vision of bringing personalized printed materials into every household in China – from books to a variety of other personalized printed items. 

Wu Jianguo, production manager at Hucais Peking, explains the FormerLine’s vital support: “We are already seeing that inline production results in significant savings in both time and personnel. With FormerLine, we can be more cost-effective in printing short runs and print-on-demand jobs. What’s more, we are grateful for the comprehensive training we received when the inline former started production.”
Exemplary teamwork for installation
Highly efficient, from the harbor container to production, the project moved at an impressive pace. Just three weeks after starting to assemble the components, each of the FormerLine units passed final inspection before the start of production. The dedication and expertise of the teams from Hucais, manroland Greater China, and manroland web systems was excellent, as Liu Changshou, who led the installation team at Hucais, confirms: “The teams were hard at work for days on end. manroland web systems demonstrated its merit as a reliable partner. It wasn’t just the quality of the equipment, but also their engineering expertise and service that won us over.” Rainer Mauer, project manager at manroland web systems adds: “Rapid implementation and the production reliability of the workflow are two important factors in the long term. Our experience here will help us when it comes to future FormerLine installations. And there will be a number of them in the near future at Hucais, all as inline variants.” Mauer also reports that the integration of the new FormerLine system went off without a hitch: “We worked together with Hewlett Packard to define and improve the interface between the FormerLine and the press to enable the production process that our customer Hucais needed. That allowed us to ensure a smooth inline production process.”

Flexible technology for the future
Hucais will be able to capitalize on the excellent flexibility of the book block solution when needed. The FormerLine is equipped for MasterQ, a dynamic imposition and job management solution from manroland web systems. The software especially shows its strength in digital printing with small and very small runs. manroland web systems developed MasterQ as an interface between MIS systems, prepress, or web2print applications and the printing system, as well as finishing. MasterQ determines the optimal production sequence for different production modules based on existing and incoming data, for example via the printing company website.


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