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  • You are on page: Home News Current News 12.05.2014 - B&K Offset - Flexibility in many forms

    12.05.2014 - B&K Offset - Flexibility in many forms

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    BK Gruppe

    Last minute changes to projects, that have been worked on and polished for months, can easily turn into a stress test for the customer/supplier relationship. But if the supplier adapts to the flow and is responsive to these changes, he can easily impress the customer beyond expectations – as happened in the case of a post press line installation behind a web press recently purchased by B&K in Ottersweier, Germany.

     

    DRUPA 2012 in Duesseldorf: The management team of B&K Offsetdruck GmbH from Ottersweier, Germany, had just signed a contract for a new 16-page press type KBA C16 and was supposed to sign the finalized order for a new RIMA-SYSTEM post press system next. But when they visited the RIMA-SYSTEM booth, the company's Chief Executive Officer, Joern Kalbhenn, immediately noticed the RS 610 log stacker on display. After a quick call to one of their most important customers, Mr. Kalbhenn, his IT Manager, Christina Hofmann, and his Purchasing Manager, Werner Stimmler, sat down with the RIMA-SYSTEM team not to sign the purchasing contract as anticipated, but to revise the equipment layout. In addition to the trimming line, the stacker and the palletizing robot, they decided to integrate a log stacker – the first one of its kind for B&K.


    Christina Hofmann remembers the additional planning sessions well. "Fortunately, RIMA-SYSTEM has the 3-D technology to illustrate the layout. That really helped us visualize what the end product would look like." The RIMA-SYSTEM project team put in a lot of extra hours and won the respect of the customer by showing a lot of flexibility. The layout was finalized at DRUPA still and the contract signed. Since summer 2013, the RIMA-SYSTEM technology has been in place and is running well.

     

    Flexibility in many forms.


    Especially "flexibility" is a major factor, if you want to explain the success of the company B&K Offsetdruck. Founded in 1969 by Jochen Kalbhenn and led since 2002 by his son Joern, the company has continued to grow. Today the corporation employs approx. 220 people in two plants in Ottersweier, both in sheetfed and web offset. The company's own product development as well as the crossmedia sector are becoming more important – particularly since the company acquired the "Stuttgarter Mediafactory" last year. Last year, the company was honored with an award as a "PRINT STAR 2013" by the German print industry.

     

    In addition to 5 web offset presses for formats 72x102 cm and 75x105cm, the company operates three sheetfed presses, one GOSS M600, one KBA C217 as well as the newest production line – a KBA C16. The ability to switch between sheetfed production and the 16-page offset, is only one aspect as far as flexibility is concerned. In 2004, B&K began with the inline finishing in the offset area and today counts among one of the leading specialists for high gloss finished magazine covers. Should a customer decide to add an insert or a sticker, perforate a cover or add gloss on short notice – no problem! Several of the machines have the capability to perform these technical tasks, which gives B&K as well as their customers a lot of assurance.


    After all, B&K is used to last minute changes not only when it comes to their machine investments, but also when it comes to their production. Sometimes the data for covers only arrives one hour prior to the start of the production and the first partial production has to be ready three hours later for the bookbindery to process already.

     

    Reliability with the 4-page production.


    B&K therefore is a challenging customer for a post press supplier. The classic and "stable" 16 page quarter fold signature is in Ottweiler rather an exception than the norm in the production program. More often, there are 4- and 8-pagers, which at a web press speed of 65,000 U/h, have to be reliably transported from the folder exits, trimmed, stapled and palletized, which can mean up to 260,000 4-pagers per hour. And here, the superior post press equipment really rises to the top.


    RIMA-SYSTEM was the only supplier, who was able to guarantee B&K a satisfactory performance for the handling of 4-pagers as well as for high grammage, especially where palletizing speed was concerned (approx. 1,000 books per hour). Even our log stacker performs exceptionally well with 4 pagers, which can have 70- or 80 gr paper. The B&K team really liked this performance guarantee, especially in light of some mixed experience with the machines of other suppliers during the past few years. "When it came to requirements that were unique to our printing company, RIMA-SYSTEM really brought superior solutions to the table", says IT Chief Hofmann. Adds CEO Joern Kalbhenn: "and the planning was fast and well executed."


    One of the major requirements from the printer was that the shingled stream, particularly the multiple stacked 4-pager should "run as straight as possible" through the post press equipment, in order to be able to transport this specific production as safely as possible. The necessary redirect of the shingled stream was solved elegantly with a spiral conveyor. RIMA-SYSTEM has been using spiral conveyors very successfully for years, in cases where shingled streams running at high speeds have to be redirected. Contrary to other solutions, the products are kept in the spirals at all times and do not move or fan. Says IT Chief Hofmann about this solution: "It runs without problems, no marking, everything is wonderful."

     

    The post press is the key to the success of the entire line.


    Originally the layout consisted of two rotary trimmers RS 831, a bumpturn/flowturn combination RS 231, a stacker RS-36S-13 with a blocking unit and a palletizing robot RS 400. The last minute addition of the "very compact" log stacker, which was integrated elegantly and without the use of much space in an "all-in-one" configuration, really impressed the decision makers at B&K, particularly since the robot can automatically change its gripper from making lifts to logs and is able to perform both tasks flawlessly. And indeed, at times, one and the same customer requires a partial quantity in logs and the remainder in loose lifts. The tool-less change from log to loose lifts and back in less than one minute is a big plus.


    The robot cell also reflects the flexibility of the installation. In order to avoid impacting the space needed to drive the fork lift through, the robot cell and the arm were modified accordingly.
    Due to the request to move as straight as possible into the stacker, the main conveying to the stacker runs between the operator panel (and so the main work space of the crew) and the log stacker. At first glance, this does not allow any space to pass through. But here also, a clever and easy solution was found. The log stacker is equipped with a straight high infeed, which allows the operator to pass through underneath the infeed. Another requirement was that the operators would be able to access all important product control points easily and they be located no further than 10 meters away from them. That the key to the success of the entire line would be the post press system was easily understood by B&K. And according to Christina Hofmann, "the configuration and placement of equipment was really more difficult than it now appears".


    The integration of high conveying – a very popular solution in the RIMA-SYSTEM portfolio and regularly used to facilitate access – was not a choice for this company.

     

    Automatisation – always recommendable.


    At present, the web press at B&K is primarily used for long runs, which can include many versions, supported by the configuration of the press, which is equipped with 5 double print units and an imprint function. The multiple job changes are supported by a fully automated size adjustment capability of the RIMA-SYSTEM post press system – a feature which is new to B&K. In the future, they are planning on implementing the Job ticket function, which was included in the original order but requires some adjustments to the internal workflow. For Christina Hofmann there is no question that anything is desirable that will aid in the automatisation of the production flow. This will lead to becoming "better and faster".


    A small part of the production – mainly high gloss covers with glued on elements - are still manually packed. But who knows – maybe a clever solution for these touchy tasks is already in the works.

     








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