Kennesaw, Ga. - In January, Ebro Color in Albstadt was the first packaging manufacturer in Germany to opt for a Speedmaster SM 52-5 with Anicolor inking and dispersion coating unit from Heidelberg. A Speedmaster CD 74-5+L is also available to handle orders of more than 20,000 sheets. Ebro Color now relies solely on online sales and produces folding cartons in short runs upwards of 500.
"We chose Anicolor technology primarily because the extensive standardization and automation of the printing process allows us to remain competitive in short-run printing," says German Brodbeck, who heads up the business with his father Erich Brodbeck. Today, around half of all packaging orders are produced on the Anicolor press, which has printed over 2.5 million sheets since it was installed.
Ebro Color specializes in the production of folding cartons in short runs, generating 95 percent of its sales from this segment. Its portfolio includes bag, pillow, and double-wall cartons produced in runs of between 500 and 10,000 sheets for around 1,000 customers in German-speaking countries. Customers make inquiries online only, using a form comprising around 200 standardized types of packaging.
Keeping Quality High While Starting Small
Anicolor technology is an efficient alternative for the cost-effective production of high-quality print products - even in short runs.
"Short runs of a few hundred sheets really pay dividends, especially for companies that have developed a new product and want to start with small packaging jobs for test purposes," Brodbeck explains. "Anicolor enables us to make a profit when printing even very short runs. We can print most cost-effectively when corporate colors can be generated from the process colors at the same time. Thanks to Anicolor technology, these are much simpler to achieve and remain stable throughout the run. This applies particularly to jobs with low ink consumption and difficult printing forms."
Compared with classic small-format offset printing, the Anicolor inking unit cuts makeready times by almost 70 percent. It also enables faster job changes thanks to the elimination of ink zone setting and shorter wash-up times. As the press installed at Ebro Color is ready for use after just 30 sheets and produces up to 90 percent less waste, Anicolor also makes an important contribution to environmental protection. "This is well below the 200 to 300 startup sheets usually required for offset printing and thus goes a long way to improving the CO2 balance of our products."
Around 70 percent of the orders handled by Ebro Color are repeat jobs.
"Ensuring consistently high print quality is the top priority when producing short runs," Brodbeck adds. "We process a lot of four-color jobs, which means we need to be confident that the required color quality can be achieved very quickly and, above all, reproduced easily. Anicolor is simply the best solution in this case."
Spot-On Handling of Spot Colors
Alongside standardized four-color jobs, orders with one or more spot colors are also important, accounting for around 20 percent of the company's business. Anicolor shows its strengths here, too. After just a few sheets, the spot color is spread uniformly over the entire sheet, regardless of whether the job involves small logos or large areas with negative cutouts. To ensure a consistently high level of quality, Ebro Color uses only process colors, spot colors, and coatings from the Saphira range on its Anicolor press.
Ebro Color plans to grow its standardized folding carton production with Anicolor in the future. "We are currently working on the relaunch of our website to add new folding carton formats to the catalog. We are also seeking to optimize the search engine function so that customers can find us quickly and easily online," explains Brodbeck. "While doing so, we are also looking to optimize the connection with our workflow so that we can process inquiries faster and more directly."
Ebro Color is an excellent example of how print shops can use innovative business models to grow their business. The company had been founded in 1925 by Josef Vögtle as a commercial letterpress print shop. Erich Brodbeck bought the business in 1962 and expanded it over time into an offset color print shop. In 1975, Ebro Color was the first company in Germany to install a Speedmaster SM 72 four-color press from Heidelberg.