Last updateSun, 14 Jul 2024 9am

Printing line modernized for higher efficiency and sustainability

Vahle Print & Service GmbH is a specialist for mailings in UV web offset printing. In order to make its production processes even more efficient, conserve resources and offer its customers the best possible quality, the Westphalian company has extensively modernized its printing line: All continuous printing machines were replaced and optimized with register control and video inspection systems by BST GmbH - from the BST AR 4400 Register Control System to the modularly expandable BST PROView and the high-end iPQ-View Video Web Monitoring Systems.

The powerful quality assurance systems maximize print quality and minimize response times and waste. "We want to actively shape the future. That's why we have consistently focused on resource conservation and efficiency when modernizing our operations. Both serve the quality of results and the satisfaction of customers and employees. BST's solutions are an important tool for achieving these goals," explains Friedrich Lodenkemper, plant manager and owner of Vahle GmbH.
The visionary 62-year-old took over the company in 2012 in a dilapidated state and has since completely turned it around. At first all four presses were successively replaced with the latest models and technically optimized. Second, the company switched to renewable energy. Today, mailings, labels and packaging are printed in higher quality using environmentally friendly technologies, while consuming less energy and materials. Operators are relieved by a user-friendly machine design and achieve more brilliant results thanks to a better overview. "We are fast. We have a very large paper warehouse and stock many different types and sizes of paper. The presses have to run smoothly so that we can use the material economically. Reliability is our top priority," says the managing director.
With great creative drive and a keen sense of the right parameters, Lodenkemper has mastered the transformation of the "Vahlsche Verlagsbuchhandlung", founded in 1874, into today's Vahle Print & Service GmbH. Today, he employs 23 people, and the next generation is already on the way: his son Stefan Lodenkemper has been appointed managing director since 2021. Both are convinced of their strategic approach of focusing on technical innovation: "Our success is based on the complete consistency of our values with our actions. For us, environmental protection is not just lip service, but a fundamental part of our corporate philosophy. Our FSC and Nature Office certifications prove that we take this seriously. In addition, we have understood that the responsible use of energy and other valuable resources, together with the use of innovative technology, ensures our competitiveness," says Stefan Lodenkemper. "However, we do not rest on our laurels, but are keen to put environmental protection into practice with 'real measures'," emphasizes the owner. For him, short machine response times, high sensitivity in error detection, and the lowest possible level of waste are powerful ways to increase the quality of results. Achieving more with less is the definition of increased efficiency, and this has been implemented here in an exemplary manner - including the consistent use of additional technical components from BST.
Target definition: maximum quality of results
"In our industry, the highest quality of results on the one hand and speed on the other are decisive criteria for success. Optimizing both at the same time requires intelligent solutions. The key lies in the quality control of the printing processes. BST's control and video inspection systems combine the necessary optical components with the appropriate software and user interfaces," says the managing director. The high camera resolution and precise zoom behavior ensure technical precision. Another important goal of Vahle GmbH when modernizing its printing presses was to avoid long system downtimes. BST also offers advantages here, as all inspection systems allow the cameras to be simply transferred from one machine to another. This saves waiting time and increases the productivity of the machines. Simple backups ensure additional operational reliability.
BST AR 4400 register control on all printing presses
The modern machinery of the offset printing house consists of four Muller Martini Concepta machines. The most powerful machine can print ten colors simultaneously, another nine, another eight and the smallest five. BST AR 4400 has been implemented in each machine for precise alignment of paper, inks and images. The control component enables precise register adjustment on many types of presses, including offset, hybrid and label presses. It sets color and intermediate registers as reliably as additional printing units or tooling stations without the need for teach-in times. Thanks to its compact design, intuitive touchscreen operation and low installation effort, the BST AR 4400 is as easy to implement as it is to operate.
Real-time error detection with PROView
"A major pain point in the old press line was the screens of the print inspection systems. Because they only showed small, low-resolution images, we were often unable to detect print defects in time, resulting in waste. In addition, there was machine downtime when the cameras failed. We wanted a system that shows the print in real time and minimize reaction times," explains Stefan Lodenkemper. Therefore, three presses were upgraded with the customizable BST PROView video web inspection system. The installed SuperHandyScan 4000 camera inspection system had to be replaced. BST PROView now provides reliable real-time print image monitoring, even at a maximum web speed of 1,000 meters per minute. In the standard configuration, a long-life LED flash illuminates the web homogeneously. If required, optional flashes, coating flashes and UV flashes can be added. This allows BST PROView to display front-to-back register, coatings and UV fluorescent inks.
"The units are easy to use. One person can install it with a few screws and put it into operation. It automatically downloads the necessary updates, so you can get started almost immediately," says Friedrich Lodenkemper. His son sees the main advantages in practical use: "The system is easy to use. All tasks can be carried out intuitively, thanks to the well-thought-out user interface. The print image is displayed on a high-resolution 22-inch monitor and the controls are accessed via a multi- touch panel. Depending on the hardware configuration, this can show minimal color deviations as well as missing coatings, color haze or mechanical defects. "The operators are very happy. Because the display is razor sharp, we have to stop the machines less often. This results in smooth project processing," says Production Manager Friedrich Lodenkemper. Thanks to its traverse mounting, the BST PROView is suitable for both narrow and wide web applications.
BST iPQ-View high-end video web inspection system
The high-end iPQ-View video inspection solution was implemented on the new Muller Martini Concepta 10-color right from the start. "We chose the high-end solution for our largest machine. We were particularly impressed by the impressive image quality of the monitor and the user- friendly interface. All the components work so well together that it makes quality control much easier for the operators and reduces the risk of errors. If problems do occur, the remote maintenance with its easy and immediate fault diagnosis provides a quick remedy.".
"We are delighted to see what a big difference our technologies can make when combined with clear objectives. The close and productive cooperation with Vahle Print & Service GmbH has brought both sides forward. We are happy to support Vahle GmbH's high-quality standards and future orientation with our systems and look forward to continuing our successful cooperation," says Fabian Kneip, Area Sales Manager at BST. The modernization of Vahle Print & Service GmbH's printing line with the BST AR 4400 Register Guidance System and the BST PROView and iPQ-View Video Web Inspection Systems has resulted in significant improvements. "The mailings look more brilliant due to the greater depth of field and higher edge definition," summarizes Friedrich Lodenkemper. This is because the high resolution of the inspection devices enables precise color management, which makes even small errors immediately visible, increasing the quality of the results while reducing response times and waste. The quick implementation and easy operation of the systems have reduced downtime and increased overall plant efficiency. "We are very pleased with the upgrade because we can conserve resources and still deliver the top quality our customers expect. Thanks to the sustainability of the processes, Vahle GmbH can once again strengthen its position as an environmentally conscious and competitive company.




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