Successful companies in the print media industry use various business models, including large-volume printing and niche offerings, to hold their own on a competitive market. French company Les Editions Quo Vadis, for example, has specialized in printing high-quality personal organizers and is the market leader in this segment. A member of the Exacompta Clairefontaine Group since 1999, its premises in Carquefou cover an area of 18,000 square meters. Virtually all the Group's printing and finishing operations take place at this site and, for over a year now, it has been home to France's first Speedmaster SX 102. Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) unveiled this press at drupa 2012. Quo Vadis invested in the eight-color perfecting press and automation components such as the Prinect Inpress Control inline color measurement and control system and the AutoPlate Pro automatic plate changer with the aim of boosting productivity. "The Speedmaster SX 102 is exceptionally reliable and versatile. It has enabled us to increase productivity by 32 percent in the space of just one year. Over the past six months, our total working time of 4,500 hours has been reduced by up to 847 hours. What's more, we've succeeded in cutting the proportion of products of an unsaleable quality by 57 percent and the amount of startup waste from 500 to 150 sheets," reveal Patrick Douard, who is responsible for printing and finishing, and his print shop shift supervisor Christophe Ricordel in their highly positive overall assessment.
Green commitment of Quo Vadis and its customers The ultimate in efficiency
The print shop's 260-strong workforce produces around 10 million personal organizers of all kinds each year. They are sold in 45 countries across the globe, with exports accounting for 25 percent of production. The product portfolio comprises 80 different organizer models in roughly 50 different formats. "Despite the growing strength of digital technologies, printed organizers are still very popular - especially in a number of Asian and European countries. We primarily use light grammages that require two hundred percent register accuracy. This is extremely important to us and the perfecting device of the Speedmaster SX 102 works highly efficiently, so we now print most of our organizers on this press. That has made us more flexible and we can use the other presses for more specialized print products," explains Douard.
As Ricordel sees it, the time and productivity benefits are above all due to the Prinect Inpress Control inline color measurement system and the AutoPlate Pro automatic plate changer. "We work with a very low ink application of 10 percent or less for the vast majority of our print jobs. With Prinect Inpress Control, everything is controlled automatically. Our Delta E is now just two as opposed to five before, and that's outstanding for gray tones. It has resulted in far better print quality and stability. What's more, print quality is very consistent across the various shifts," he says.
"One of our most important customers has decided to move production of its personal organizers from Asia back to France as part of its environmental and social commitment. Environmental protection is extremely important to us. The Speedmaster SX 102 benefits from alcohol-free production and is the first press in France that Heidelberg has supplied with carbon offsetting. The CO 2 emissions generated when manufacturing and transporting the press have been offset in their entirety by supporting a reforestation project in Togo," says Douard. And Ricordel adds: "We work faster, consume less energy, and generate less waste. Thanks to the dynamic sheet brakes in the delivery, we can operate the press at high speeds - even when working with low grammages. The far more user-friendly tandem washup device also saves us a great deal of time during our frequent format changes. It takes less than five minutes to wash the blankets and printing cylinders." Overall, this has enabled Quo Vadis to significantly reduce its carbon footprint.