For printers Offsetdruck Ockel in Kriftel near Frankfurt/Main, autumn got off to a racing start. The newly installed Rapida 106 press is not just another means of production, it is practically lending the company wings. Fed with suitable jobs, it runs regularly at full speed – alcohol-free at up to 20,000 sheets per hour from the very first day.
If you find that hard to believe, just take a look at the video which management assistant Thomas Schneider has uploaded to Facebook. The positive reactions have been plentiful. “Watch out, you're about to take off!” was the comment from one customer, and the printers ask: “When is it my turn again?” Schneider himself appreciates a quite different effect: The six-year-old press which stands directly alongside the new Rapida is today more frequently being pushed towards its performance limit – a still quite respectable output of 16,000 sph.
Ockel had not originally planned new investments for 2014. Changes in the company's order structures, however, brought the idea of replacing one of the two existing presses back onto the table. The six-colour coater press was often in action around the clock, whereas it was becoming increasingly difficult to fill just two shifts on the four-colour without inline coating. It was concluded that a four-colour coater press would provide for more evenly distributed utilisation. At the same time, a new press would mean a further step forward in terms of technology, and could establish additional capacities. Given that the company had remained exclusively loyal to the press equipment of just one manufacturer ever since its founding by Hanni and Hans-Josef Ockel in 1964, reorientation was not a decision which was taken lightly by their children Silvia and Eberhard Ockel, who are today joint managing directors. Nevertheless, a rhythmic hum from the printshop has signalled ultimate performance since late summer. And Eberhard Ockel is more than proud to open the door behind which the Rapida 106 is usually to be seen pounding along under full steam. Not only that: With its special decoration from the KBArt series, the press is also an eye-catcher.
Increased capacity through faster processes
“With the Rapida 106, we are 35 to 40 per cent faster compared to the presses we have used to date,” says Thomas Schneider with a distinct smile. “The inline control functions save not only waste, but also 30 to 40 per cent of the time spent on job changeovers.” The decision to switch to a Rapida was clinched by the overall package of innovative solutions, for example the sidelay-free infeed, the facility to disengage unused inking units, preparations for UV production and the maximum speed of 20,000 sheets per hour. Most people would describe Ockel as a classic commercial printer, but the company stands apart from many others in this segment with its relatively long runs. The peak performance of 20,000 sph is thus a decisive factor when it comes to fast job turnarounds. Output is currently around 1 million sheets per week in two-shift operation, though the directors are convinced that a further moderate increase is possible.
“We were no less fascinated by the individual design of the Rapida 106,” Eberhard Ockel adds. “Many of our customers come in to approve their jobs in person. They are then really impressed, because they have never seen such a press before.” Besides the unique appearance, the foil covering with the artwork has two further important effects: Firstly, everyone is all the more careful to keep the press perfectly clean. And if it is decided to sell the press on in six or eight years time, the original paintwork under the foil will still be as good as new.
Extensive activities for environmental protection
Offsetdruck Ockel is furthermore a champion of ecological and standardised print production, and holds all the relevant certificates, e.g. FSC and PSO. It is thus only natural that particular attention should be paid to alcohol-free production on the Rapida 106, to the use of mineral-oil-free printing inks and chemistry-free plate exposure. The similarly available possibility of climate-neutral production is yet to play an outstanding role, but is slowly gaining ground. The company takes electricity from its own photovoltaic installation, uses heat recovery from the printshop compressors to heat the offices, and is currently working on an energy-saving lighting concept on the basis of LEDs. The fact that the Rapida 106 saves considerable amounts of waste thanks to its extensive automation and inline colour control also fits in well with the company's environmental objectives.
The 26 employees are responsible for full-process production in at least two shifts. A third shift offers additional capacities whenever need arises. The prepress and postpress departments are likewise able to rely on up-to-date technologies. A new Agfa CtP system and postpress machines from Stahl, Polar and Müller Martini contribute to fast throughputs and optimised process sequences. Ockel's customers are above all airlines – Frankfurt Airport is just a stone's throw away – automobile manufacturers, banks, advertising agencies and major players from the food industry.