Last updateThu, 17 Sep 2020 8pm

Noble technology in production - roots in the region

achertaeler chromos smag iconcept 02 iconcept ueberblickTraditional Achertäler company installs sophisticated printing and finishing line iconcept from Smag Graphique
By Klemens Ehrlitzer

The division into several business areas is more typical for larger companies. The fact that a printing company with around 35 employees successfully relies on four quite different pillars is probably hard to find a second time. This unique selling proposition was also the special attraction for the married couple Angelika and Frank Neumann when they decided in 2016 to establish Achertäler Druckerei GmbH & Co. KG in Kappelrodeck in 2016. At that time, the new owners had already developed a comprehensive concept for the further development of the company. In this concept, the expansion of the finishing capacities was an important component in the technical area.
The bookbindery, which was founded by the Bruder family in a backyard in Kappelrodeck around 1900, is the origin of today's Achertäler Druckerei. Throughout the company's long history sheetfed offset and digital printing for commercial jobs have been added. For the past 90 years the company has also published a weekly newspaper and books. A further business unit produces thread labels. The area that has developed particularly successfully recently is the production of labels - both adhesive and wet-glue labels.
For Frank Neumann, the diverse product mix of the Achertäler Druckerei is an essential basis for the strategic orientation of his company. With a series of measures, most of which have been implemented since the end of 2019, he has invested heavily in securing the future of his company. In addition to various purchases in the technical area, these included an extension building. This enabled internal work processes to be adapted so that existing and new systems are now integrated as coherently as possible into production. Because the greatest potential for optimisation was seen in the finishing processes, the new Smag machine of the type iconcept forms a central component in the comprehensive investment concept.
On the wish list for a suitable press system was a particularly flexible solution capable of producing short to medium runs of exceptional finishes, regardless of the print medium and the printing processes used. The new press should also be compatible with offset printing as well as digital technologies.
In the period between the initial talks in March 2017 and commissioning at the beginning of 2020, the company systematically analysed the market and conducted numerous tests to gain an impression of the characteristics of the various press models. "The bar was set extremely high," recalls Klaus Sedlmayr, managing director of Chromos GmbH. As a supply partner of the French machine manufacturer Smag in the German market, he supervised the tests on the iconcept. "The specifications of the Achertäler Druckerei were a real challenge. But in the end, the quality of the test results was astonishing, even for me. The sample labels included sophisticated optical and haptic elements as well as a highly visible 3D effect, the likes of which I had never seen in practice before in this combination". A special test criterion was also micro-embossing on difficult materials, where the maximum embossing surface was used. This requirement in particular separated the wheat from the chaff in the end.
During Labelexpo in autumn 2019 the Achertäler Druckerei ordered an iconcept from Smag Graphique, a classic product line for finishing pre-printed labels. It serves as a platform for a wide range of modular units from which every user can put together his own individual configuration. "Our know-how from the cosmetics sector has helped us to meet the high demands", explains Stéphane Rateau, Managing Director of Smag Graphique.
"Today, finishing effects with foil stamping, varnishing, etc. are already widely used. That is why we are increasingly having to push the technical boundaries if a product is to stand out clearly at the point of sale," says Frank Neumann. "For example, in order to exploit the full potential of embossing technology, we have to find out the limits of all components from the machine to the embossing tool to the stamping foil. To do this, it is not enough to install a machine and press the start button. The road to success is based on the know-how that a company can only build up through years of experience by constantly trying out new finishing ideas".
A network of competent delivery partners accelerates the transfer of know-how considerably. “The support from Smag and Chromos was extremely helpful in order to advance very quickly into completely new dimensions with the new machine. Although we already had extensive experience with screen printing and embossing, this gave us our know-how to gain valuable information, e.g. about the quality of embossing stamps, screen mesh, coatings or the combination options of hot stamping foils and printing materials. "
The Achertäler Druckerei has maintained a trusting partnership with the trading company Chromos for more than two decades. The first contacts go back to the Labelexpo 1997.
This overall package for an investment project plays an extremely important role, especially for owner-managed companies. This part is absolutely essential for the Achertäler Druckerei, because in Kappelrodeck the environment with four very different business areas always has to be considered. For this reason Frank Neumann is very well aware: “All of the decisions made in recent months have fundamental effects on the strategic direction of our entire company. A wrong decision in the case of a larger machine investment can in extreme cases endanger the company's existence. "
The technical performance features are therefore only one aspect when choosing a new machine. At the same time, there are other questions to be examined: How good is the manufacturing quality? Which components are used? Are these parts also available on the open market in an emergency? How great is the experience of the manufacturer in the relevant fields of application and how well is it established in the market overall? In the case of Smag, the answers are entirely positive, according to Frank Neumann. And when it comes to service, he also feels very well looked after by Chromos. “For this area we need a reliable partner with service technicians who can be on site quickly and ideally can communicate in German. Because language barriers often play an important role when introducing a new machine system. "
Fast and competent service has become increasingly important in recent years because machine constellations are becoming more and more complex. With the help of servo technology, many innovative solutions can now be implemented that would not be possible with conventional drives. At the same time, however, the role of machine manufacturers has also changed. “20 years ago, well-functioning mechanics were the key to our success. In the meantime, it is all called 'servo inside'. The mechanics remain necessary as the basis, but our essential core know-how is now in the software, ”says Stéphane Rateau. Smag Graphique programs the control of its machines itself. In this way, the company retains control over this elementary area. For the electronic components, however, it relies on the standard of its system supplier. With B&R, a provider has been chosen that has extensive experience in the printing industry.
Since the topic of software came into focus, the somewhat flippant realization that a customer's machine matures has been circulating in the industry. For Klaus Sedlmayr, this statement is related to the growing complexity of the production systems. More and more machines open up a wide range of possibilities for the user to assemble a production line according to their own ideas. The number and sequence of modules for different printing and processing methods can be freely selected. At the same time, the range of materials used is very large. These individual systems are far removed from standard machines, which can also be controlled with standardized software. Klaus Sedlmayr knows from experience: “The more complex the scope of a machine tailored to the customer, the greater the need to optimize the software of the special applications in practical use. That can actually be compared with a maturation process. "



  • Latest Post

  • Most Read

  • Twitter

Who's Online

We have 1389 guests and one member online

Cookies make it easier for us to provide you with our services. With the usage of our services you permit us to use cookies.