Bietlot, a renowned printing company in Wallonia, is investing once again in the ROLAND 700 series.
In producing perfected print products Bietlot is one of the most innovative print houses in Belgium since 15 years. Now a new investment was necessary for the company to maintain its leading role in the market: a ROLAND 700 DirectDrive.
More orders in less time
"The trend toward smaller orders is not new," explains Eric Guillaume, managing director of Bietlot, "but we had never experienced such short delivery deadlines and dramatic price reductions as in 2009. We used to have more than a week's time to deliver printed material, now we deliver within four days. To live up to our customers' demands and continue to make a profit, we need a system that can process more orders in less time. For the survival of the company, it is an absolute necessity to invest in the latest generation of printing presses featuring a high degree of automation with extremely short makeready times."
Productivity increase of 35 percent
According to Eric Guillaume, the biggest improvement can be seen in the increased speed for printing plate changes. He elaborates using a specific example of an order that the company receives every year. "To print this catalog in 63 different versions and with over 5,500 printing plate changes, we had to calculate 500 hours on our old presses. With the new ROLAND 700 with DirectDrive, we did the same job in just over 300 hours. This means a productivity increase of 35 percent, even at the same printing speed." And this increase can be almost fully attributed to the DirectDrive system. Thanks to individual drives on each plate cylinder, all the plates are changed at the same time in less than a minute and this happens while the press cleans the blankets, basically in zero-time.
Reduced overall operating costs
Another important goal that Bietlot had was to reduce the overall operating costs of its equipment. Direct costs, such as costs for preventive maintenance, can be easily determined. Indirect costs, on the other hand, i.e. those that emerge due to reduced system efficiency and reliability, are often hidden and much more difficult to calculate. Eric Guillaume points out: "An older machine is simply more expensive to maintain, because of wear and possible damage to the press. And the warranty on a new machine covers potential repair costs for a certain period. It may seem contradictory, but an investment in new, efficient equipment always has a positive effect on the profitability of a company."
Added capacity in the pre-press stage
Frequent changes between print jobs automatically implies a higher consumption of offset printing plates in a shorter period. This is why Bietlot also invested in a new plate exposure unit from FUJIFILM as a supplement to the existing exposure unit. Eric Guillaume explains: "With a single plate exposure unit, it just would not have been possible to load the presses, even working in teams. With both exposure units, we can produce 50 plates per hour without a problem, which corresponds to 800 plates a day in 70 x 100 format." And this additional capacity is not just a matter of convenience, considering that Bietlot prints brochures and reports for the European Union in 23 different languages.
Based on the company's good standing over the past years, banks did not hesitate to approve the new investment. "It is certainly no coincidence that we decided once again to go with manroland," says Eric Guillaume. "We have had an excellent relationship with the manroland team for many years. I personally view our work together at all times as a partnership."