Formula 1 speed and innovation
German printer Kliewer in Siegburg, near the former German capital of Bonn, has made a name for itself as a one-stop shop for all kinds of printing needs. Managing director Miroslaw Eichberger, who took over the 31-year-old company from Klaus-Dieter Kliewer in autumn 2009, prefers to produce everything in-house rather than rely on external contractors because it enables him to optimise turnaround times and handle rush jobs. But this business model demands state-of-the-art pre-press, press and post-press technology to maximise quality, speed and efficiency.
The 32-employee firm runs three sheetfed offset presses alongside a digital machine. Miroslaw Eichberger originally managed a digital printing plant but seized the opportunity to expand into offset when Kliewer was looking for a successor. He explains: "The two processes belong together, and we frequently use both offset and digital for the same product. For example, the HP Indigo 3050 is used to print personalised covers while a half-format offset press prints the inside pages. Every job has its own methodology." Depending on the page count, offset production is usually cheaper for runs of 300 copies or more, though colour imposition is also a factor. Print jobs can be switched easily from one press to another because they all share the same colour management system. The printed result is always the same.
KBA Rapida 75 delivers productivity gains
The Rapida 75 five-colour press with coater and delivery extension also took up its new position in autumn 2009. By the end of July it had printed almost 35 million sheets. A lot of presses at half-format operations print no more than seven to eight million sheets per year, but the KBA Rapida 75 at Kliewer can really strut its stuff. Its average output is calculated as 12,000 sheets per hour, with a rated maximum of 15,000. That is up to 200,000 printed sheets per day. Which is why Kliewer has adopted the slogan "Formula 1 speed and innovation" for its website. Run lengths vary enormously from 1,000 to 100,000 sheets. Thanks to automation, press makeready represents just a small percentage of down time.
What Eichberger likes most about the Rapida 75 is that it runs up to saleable colour in a minimum of time, is exceptionally stable in production and delivers a dot-sharp print. Any job entailing solid colour and a high colour content is therefore automatically assigned to the Rapida.
Don't forget the environment
The KBA Rapida 75's coater is used almost exclusively to apply solid matt water-based coatings, so that prints can be finished with a minimum of delay. A CIP3 link to pre-press supports fast job changes and loading of new job data. Since there is a generous 1,900m² (20,450ft²) of production space, the fact that the Rapida has a smaller footprint than many other presses for this format was a minor consideration compared to its 20 per cent lower power consumption. Kliewer is busy burnishing its environmental credentials and is currently in the process of achieving FSC/PEFC certification. A 100 to 120kW rooftop solar installation is in the pipeline, and while the energy generated will not cover the company's total power needs it will help conserve resources.
Kliewer's customer base mainly comprises advertising agencies, firms and private customers from the Cologne/Bonn area and from other conurbations such as Hamburg and Frankfurt am Main. Thanks to electronic data transfer distance is no longer an issue, and the finished products are delivered overnight by haulier. The company's two production shifts are kept busy even without the efforts of a dedicated sales team. Eichberger and Klaus-Dieter Kliewer, who still plays an active role, deal personally with all their customers. If necessary they could always hire extra sales staff.
"Quality is no longer anything special," says Miroslaw Eichberger. "Ten or fifteen years ago it was a winner, but now real value added lies in offering a complete package that embraces address management, personalisation, P&P optimisation and mailing." Along with its digital/offset duality this is what Kliewer is geared up to do.