The printing company JCB-GAM in Wavre, Belgium, first commissioned a six-color ROLAND 700 DirectDrive press with coating unit in summer 2010. The second press, an eight-color ROLAND 700 DirectDrive, was recently installed and is now running at full speed.
Much has changed at the family-owned company JCB in recent years. At first, the company was fully satisfied with its ROLAND 300 and ROLAND 500 presses in 0B format. To meet the demand for small print runs, short delivery times, and individualized print products, JCB also invested in two digital printing systems. However, this was still not enough for managing director Laurent Broze, and his plan to add the 70 x 100 cm printing format to the company's repertoire began to take shape. While the drupa 2008 provided an excellent venue to have a closer look at and compare presses in 70 x 100 cm format, this coincided with the economic crisis, which hit with full force. Laurent Broze elaborates: "The plans were put on hold, because no one had the slightest idea about how long the crisis would last and what effect it would have on the graphics industry and our business. One alternative was the potential collaboration with a printing company that owned a press in 70 x 100 cm format or, alternatively, taking it over." Laurent Broze contacted Dimitri Winners from the printing company GAM in Brussels; the latter company had two ROLAND 700 presses. On April 1, 2010, the takeover of GAM was complete. The company now goes by the name JCB-GAM and has completely reworked its organizational structure as part of the merger.
Efficient, profit-oriented operations
The merger was used as an opportunity to assess the equipment of both companies with regard to its capacity to meet current and future customer expectations at an optimum level. Laurent Broze explains: "This analysis showed us that print run sizes had experienced a strong decrease in past years, while order volumes, in contrast, had seen a major upswing. Short makeready times and rapid job changeovers had become extremely important for efficient, profit-oriented operations. The exchange of the existing ROLAND 300 and both ROLAND 700 presses for two new ROLAND 700 presses with DirectDrive technology proved to be the more cost-effective and considerably faster option over maintaining the three existing printing presses. In addition, thanks to the double format, we gain time during print finishing, since less folding and collecting is required. A genuine improvement across the board." The entire organization of the printing company was also reassessed and made more flexible.
"The installation went as planned," says Laurent Broze. "Our operators in particular are extremely satisfied and proud of the new acquisition. Especially during a period when negative headlines about the industry are prevalent, this is a major stroke of luck and a clear signal for our employees that we have not thrown in the towel, but instead are moving forward with constructive future measures. The training, too, went very smoothly, even though the operators were faced with the task of familiarizing themselves with cutting-edge technology and adjusting to plate change speeds that are like Grand Prix pit stops." Now our printers already see this innovative technology as something that is completely normal. Laurent Broze's conclusion: "I am convinced that printing companies that invest now in the latest technology will be best equipped to weather the crisis. The companies that do not or cannot do so, because of the enormous pricing competition at the moment, will no longer have the necessary financial reserves for such an investment at a later date. Why manroland? In my opinion, they have the most advanced and fastest equipment and do an excellent job at living up to the production requirements for a modern printing company. In addition, with manroland Benelux we are certain that we have a reliable partner on our side, and this aspect is at least as important from our perspective."