This modified saying applies to Austria’s Offsetdruckerei Schwarzach’s entry into the field of large-size offset printing. By taking the leap in format to the 6-series printing machine class, the whole production chain had to align with the preliminary stages of flatbed die-cutting and gluing of folding cartons, right through to internal logistics.
BOBST know-how in flatbed die-cutting, which the Offsetdruckerei Schwarzach has relied upon for more than 50 years, was honoured again through the installation of BOBST EXPERTCUT 145 PER.
The spectrum of folding carton print run lengths is becoming ever more significant. Companies are challenged by the need for more efficient short print runs, while conversely facing intense pressure from competitors running large print runs. As such, Offsetdruckerei Schwarzach (ODS) entered the field of large-format offset printing and invested in a nine million Euro equipment package. CEO Eduard Fischer stated that the improved use of cardboard sheets alone had increased the competitiveness of large print runs significantly and thorough internal analysis ensured that switching over to a large format was interesting for print runs above 10,000 sheets. Even though two 3B machines were replaced in the print shop, the commissioning of the presses led to an increase in production capacity of up to 15 per cent.
The specialist for fine cardboard boxes and labels
Offsetdruckerei Schwarzach in Vorarlberg employs 350 people and sees itself as a specialist in the production and finishing of fine cardboard boxes and labels. 25,000 tons of cardboard and paper are processed every year. In 2017, the company achieved an increase in turnover of five per cent and, together with its holdings, generated a consolidated turnover of 90 million Euro. Its customers include companies in the consumer goods industry, premium manufacturers of confectionery, luxury and cosmetics products and other Non-Food sectors as well as international trading companies. Located in Austria, the company exports 70 per cent of its output.
Flatbed die-cutting at ODS has been associated with the name BOBST for more than 50 years. Managing Director, Johannes Knapp reports on an anecdote which speaks volumes: “We recently said goodbye to an employee who was entering retirement and, at the same time, decommissioned a die-cutter from BOBST, which had been acquired in 1964. We had used the machine for 55 years. And if that was not enough – a buyer approached us two days later and bought the die-cutter from us, as from experience, it probably had a good 20 years’ service life left in it.”
An experienced team
The company did not want to lose its level of reliability when it changed over to the large format machine. “We were previously using seven flatbed die-cutting machines from BOBST and our employees were very familiar with their operation. This, and the reliability factor, was also a major reason for choosing BOBST engineering for large format operations.” Johannes Knapp emphasised that the employees and the equipment are an experienced team. The uniform operating interface and user guidance for all flatbed die-cutting machines guided the team through the learning curve of entering large-size offset printing and most importantly in the ability to keep substrates very flat. Additionally, it was very clear from the beginning that the team could work in large format without backup. Therefore, the availability of the machine in this set up was extremely important.
Opening up new market segments
There are currently eight flatbed die-cutting machines in use by ODS, including EXPERTCUT 145 PER. The adjustment work required on a flatbed die-cutting machine of this size is naturally somewhat higher, stated Eduard Fischer, but the higher degree of automation means that the set-up times are proportionate to the output of the flatbed die-cutting machine. The Quick-Change concept is an integral feature of all BOBST flatbed die-cutting machines which, particularly in the case of large format, accelerates changeover between jobs a great deal.
EXPERTCUT 145 PER die-cuts up to 7,500 sheets per hour. “We have been moving towards this speed range since the beginning of Autumn 2017 and achieve this for grammages of up to 2,000 g/m²,” stated Johannes Knapp, referring to their improved competitiveness over a vast spectrum of print substrates. Corrugated cardboard in the form of an F-fluted corrugated sheet will also be processed in the future by the new die-cutter which will open up new market segments for the company.
The Flex Rack system pays for itself in one year
It is often the small things in life which make the difference. In the area of flatbed die-cutting, it is the Flex Rack, an optional non-stop delivery system from BOBST, which makes setting-up of flatbed die-cutting machines much more straightforward. “We are often running many different types of jobs and, four years ago, we were searching for a solution which reduced the set-up time of the non-stop system,” said Johannes Knapp.
With the innovative approach of the Flex Rack system, which was tested at ODS on a die-cutter in 3B format with a blank separating station, it was demonstrated that the set-up time could be shortened by approximately ten minutes. Pascal Landl, who is project manager ofg Flex Rack at ODS, stated that the adjustment of the non-stop system only took about two minutes and highlighted the simple handling of the solution.
After the successful testing, five BOBST die-cutters were retrofitted with the Flex Rack system at ODS. For entry into the field of large-size printing, it was clear from the very beginning that EXPERTCUT 145 PER should be fitted with a Flex Rack system. “When working in large format, the reduction in set-up time is even more noticeable and we were assured that the Flex Rack system would pay for itself within a year,” concluded Johannes Knapp.
A lack of employees spurred automation
In the summer of 2018, a new folding carton gluing machine from BOBST, a MASTERFOLD 75 A2, was also installed to increase the production efficiency of high-speed jobs, complemented by CARTONPACK 4 with CASE ERECTOR. The folder-gluer is designed for fully automated production and operates at 700 m/min. Therefore, according to the size involved, up to 200,000 folding cartons could be folded, glued and packed per hour. “The current lack of employees is certainly spurring on automation at ODS” said Eduard Fischer. BOBST had to be very inventive about this point. In this context, the Chief Technical officer introduced EASYFEEDER/BATCH INVERTER 4, which automatically aligns folding cartons and leads them to MASTERFOLD. The cutting is completed upside down which is incredibly simple and ergonomic for the employees. Alongside the large format, it is mainly folding cartons with a longitudinal seam which are produced on the new MASTERFOLD.
Offsetdruck Schwarzach is very happy with its entry into the field of large-size die-cutting across its whole production chain. The first step was to commission the pre-press stage and the flatbed die-cutting area. The press has been used since February 2018. By 2019 the company will exclusively produce 80% in a large format on the new machine – this will certainly not fail because of EXPERTCUT 145 PER.