It is worth it for companies to question their business model, to start over, and then start again. That’s was happened at Kunst- und Werbedruck (K + W) in Bad Oeynhausen. In late 2013, K + W said goodbye to web offset printing and a hodgepodge of different presses. Since then, it has embraced sheetfed offset printing in 3B format and a high level of vertical integration. As a partner it chose Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg), which had already installed the first Speedmaster XL 105 in 2012 and then in 2014 installed a second Speedmaster XL 106, this time as a perfecting press, as well as several finishing presses. “We offer ‘everything from a single source’ and ‘does not work – does not exist’ solutions,” says Stefan Belte in describing the new approach. Together with Frank Pieper, he has been working as a Managing Director at K + W since 2010. The recipe for success? “We take on any challenge, whether technical, economical, organizational or logistical, and always deliver something special.”
“Otherness” as a brand
More than 100 employees produce mostly complex and sophisticated printed matter such as brochures, catalogs, books, calendars, and leaflets for mainly national customers. The company often supplies the market leaders from industry, trade, banks, the automotive industry, the pharmaceuticals industry, and publishing, all of whom are looking for something special – which they find at K + W.
The printed objects are becoming more and more complex, and customers want visual and tactile stimuli. “For example, we are seeing a renaissance in traditional catalogs; the runs are shorter, but demand for language versions and embellishments is up. The delivery dates are getting ever tighter,” confirms Frank Pieper. Belte and Pieper went on the offensive once more to be able to implement all this even better and more economically, and this year invested in a full package from Heidelberg worth more than € 9 million. The package consists of a new Suprasetter 106 CtP platesetter with fully automatic 106 G pallet loader, two Speedmaster XL 106 presses, and the Prinect Business Manager for networking the existing Prinect workflow components with an MIS system. K + W uses printing plates and coatings from the Saphira range and also trusts service offerings like Service 36plus with remote service and e-call for high press availability. “Having a partner that covers as many of our requirements as possible is important to us. With Heidelberg, we negotiate on an equal footing and deal with plain-spoken and fair partners,” explains Stefan Belte.
World’s first for exceptional printed products
The first of the two new printing presses, a ten-color Speedmaster XL 106 with perfecting and a speed of up to 18,000 sheets per hour, was installed in February 2017. It is the first press in the world to be partially equipped with the innovative Hycolor Multidrive inking unit drive – in the 1st, 5th, 6th, and 10th printing units. Normally, the system is used in all printing units in presses for packaging printers. K + W had already put itself forward for the field test as a commercial printer because the order spectrum matched exactly. Hycolor Multidrive constitutes a major customer benefit here, since the inking unit can now be operated independently of other activities and makeready processes on the press. With Hycolor Multidrive, the inking units can be washed while the printing plates are changed in parallel with AutoPlate XL 2 via the main drive – and rubber blankets and impression cylinders are washed at the same time as the makeready process. This is particularly interesting when using several spot colors or a print varnish. Parallel washing and makeready operations are possible while the next job is being prepared, which leads to extremely short makeready times and guarantees short delivery times for customers. At K + W, color changes already account for 30 to 40 percent of the time expenditure, and the time saved is correspondingly high. Intensive or deep cleaning of the inking unit can also be performed here in parallel, which leads to shorter makeready times and better washing results.
Another benefit is the intelligent shutdown of printing units when they are not in use.
This simplifies the work tremendously and offers a high level of operating comfort. “The absence of a color assignment in a printing unit means that the printing unit that is not needed is automatically shut down without user intervention, protecting the rollers,” reports Artur Benz, Technical Manager at K + W. Hycolor Multidrive is integrated in the Prinect Press Center XL 2 machine control station and is controlled there by the Intellistart 2 software. Intellistart 2 always calculates the fastest and best possible use of Hycolor Multidrive for the makeready processes. The Wallscreen XL displays all makeready processes at a glance, thereby supporting the operator.
The field test for the new Speedmaster XL 106-10-P, which is equipped with the automatic AutoPlate XL 2 plate changer and the Inpress Control 2 color and control system, also tested and implemented the Push to Stop concept – insofar as possible with the current MIS software. This involves production processes that control themselves and run automatically, and operators who only have to intervene when necessary or not at all. The aim is to increase net productivity to a previously unknown level. “With Push to Stop and networking via the Prinect module from prepress, press, and postpress, we can fully exploit the potential of the press, even if the new MIS, the Business Manager, is fully installed,” says Artur Benz in summing up his experiences. Both short and long runs can now be processed quickly and productively. “The press has fully met our expectations. In particular I’d like to emphasize the high level of user-friendliness with Hycolor Multidrive and the short makeready times.” With one simple mold change within a print job, all eight plates are changed within 80 seconds without the need to wash any blankets. Recently, a job with a run of 750 sheets in two languages and 16 signature sections with 256 plates was printed in three hours. The totalizer was already showing 48 million printed sheets in November.
The second new press – an eight-color Speedmaster XL 106 with coating – will be installed in early 2018. Together with the existing five-color Speedmaster XL 105 with coating, K + W believes it is well positioned for the future. “We can calmly handle our utilization peaks in production volumes when printing sometimes involves web offset jobs,” confirms Frank Pieper. “Quality and speed are the number 1 priority for us, and we also have the customers in our company for over a week when it comes time to approve the job.” All the better, therefore, that the processes are transparent and timed. “The new production sequences means that pallets now move in one direction only in our company. This makes us much more efficient and powerful than before,” explains Stefan Belte. The complete Workflow connection with the Prinect Business Manager is set to be implemented in 2018, in order to further expand the business orientation with key figures and controlling. A corresponding software field test with Heidelberg has just been signed for this. Discussions are also in progress about a new five-color Speedmaster XL 106 with coating as well as a new Stahlfolder TH 82 P folding machine, which can process the high output from the new printing presses thanks to its high level of automation.
“We will stand for something special, something sophisticated in the future also, and produce high-quality and complex print media with a pronounced depth of vertical integration for medium and long runs,” says Stefan Belte in outlining the company strategy. “We want to increase customer loyalty and adapt our services even more to the market, for example with extended logistics and by positioning ourselves as a general contractor overall.”