Quad Graphics invests in Muller Martini

As the run lengths of books continue to trend toward smaller batch sizes, Quad/Graphics is increasing its commitment to digital manufacturing technology. The company announced that it is investing in at least 20 color digital presses as part of the company’s strategy to transform its book manufacturing platform. In addition, it will soon have a total of seven SigmaLine digital book production systems from Muller Martini, which support cost-effective production of shorter runs.

“We had to push the digital envelope faster because publishers wanted smaller batch sizes,” said Joel Quadracci, chairman, president and CEO of Quad/Graphics. “Some have hundreds of millions of dollars tied up in inventories, and there is still about 30 percent waste in the supply chain with books that are obsolete and will never be sold. With today’s digital print technology, production costs are getting to a point where the breakeven between offset and digital means you can tackle the inventory issue. The book industry will transform to lower inventory levels that get replenished in smaller batch sizes.”

The seven Muller Martini SigmaLine book manufacturing systems represent an integral part of the Quad/Graphics digital book production initiative. SigmaLine interconnects prepress, digital printing and finishing in a unique system that enables fully automated production from a PDF to pre-glued, pre-stacked book blocks in a single operation.

“The SigmaLine is ideal for cost-effective production of shorter runs—not only for books but a variety of other printed products as well,” noted Daren Robarge, senior vice president of manufacturing at Quad/Graphics.

Bill Jalbert, plant director for Quad/Graphics, added, “We’re especially impressed by the quick changeovers and the excellent quality of the book blocks.”

Quad/Graphics already has five SigmaLine systems operating 24/7 as of mid-July 2015. These systems feature the new, fully automated SigmaFolder II module, which provides greater flexibility to market requirements and market segments. Its scalability enables the system to be extended in the future if market requirements change or new digital printing technologies emerge, providing Quad/Graphics with a high degree of investment protection. In addition to the established 42″ applications, it can be configured optimally in the future for web widths from 20″ to 60″, and every gradation in between.

In parallel with the extension of the SigmaFolder II modular system, the innovative Connex Data and Process Management system has been enhanced to include all new configuration options. New to the Connex system is the ability for full cutoff and format size changes on the fly. So in most cases, the system does not need to be shut down between format changes unless the roll stock needs to be changed. What’s more, since Connex generates all printing data dynamically, it can automatically manage all types of digital print production from a simple PDF file, be it saddle-stitched products from a narrow web to softcover books printed using a wide, high-speed inkjet press

Harland Simon to Replace Goss Press Controls at The News Journal

Harland Simon has been selected by The News Journal in Wilmington, Del. to replace the press control systems on its two Goss Headliner Offset (HO) with MetroColor Tower (MCT) presses with off-the-shelf locally available components. The contract includes replacement of the upper level management system, control consoles and proprietary on-unit controls. John Staiano, Managing Director-Americas, for Harland Simon, said, “This new project marks the culmination of years of extensive consultation between the two companies and the beginning of an exciting new phase for the News Journal, Harland Simon and potentially all Headliner/MetroColor Tower press users alike”

For upgrades such as this one it is vital that work is carried out without disrupting production and that downtime is kept to an absolute minimum. Decades of experience enable Harland Simon to fulfil this type of retrofit for customers whether they have one press or ten. Technical demonstrations and testimony from existing customers built confidence that this plan was deliverable. Harland Simon uses off-the-shelf hardware, as the power of today’s standard components means that it is simply unnecessary to use specially manufactured electronics.; This means if any components fail, they can be sourced locally from multiple suppliers, ensuring components are always available and at a competitive price.  Couple this with control software that is open and available to the end user, and an enduring maintenance partnership is achieved.
The Project 
The first step in any such project is to highlight the elements that pose a risk to business continuity. They are then ranked in terms of obsolescence timeline, impact severity when they fail, and cost of replacement. This is then analyzed against the cost of upgrading. The On-Unit Controls (MAC Racks on the HO’s and MAC/DRINKS in the MCT’s) and proprietary folder controls will all be replaced with Allen-Bradley Logix Processors (with built in RSLogix 5000 diagnostic software), fitted into the existing enclosures – see picture. This hardware is not just relied on by the printing industry but by thousands of industries across the globe and literally millions of pieces of industrial equipment. It continues to be developed and has received billions of dollars of investment, which means that it can be expected to have an extremely long obsolescence life-cycle. To complete the upgrade, Harland Simon will install its Upper level Management Information and Reporting System – Prima MS/RIPSet, a comprehensive suite of management information system. This includes direct ink presetting, scheduling, monitoring and web based reporting and will fulfil all The News Journal’s planning and management requirements.

Four P6000 control consoles with touchscreen controls and color calibrated proofing monitors will be suppled. This console uses the latest generation of widescreen monitors featuring a higher resolution and greater display area. This means more relevant functionality can be displayed on each screen layout which, in turn, reduces the need to hop from one screen to another. Reduced keystrokes and fewer displays means that operation is more efficient and waste is reduced.

Furthermore, diagnostic software will be available at the Harland Simon supplied maintenance PC, P6000 control consoles and via color touch screen HMI’s [Human Machine Interface] on the HO and MCT units. This streamlines fault finding procedures and enables 24/7 remote diagnostic and support via a VPN line

Transcontinental to acquire Ultra Flex Packaging Corp.

Transcontinental Inc., has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Ultra Flex Packaging Corp., a Brooklyn, New York-based supplier of flexible packaging, for $80 million. The money is to be paid in cash at closing plus an additional consideration payable subject to attaining pre-established financial targets.”This acquisition builds on our Capri Packaging acquisition last year and is part of our strategy to ensure our future growth path through diversification,” François Olivier, president and chief executive officer of TC Transcontinental, said. This latest acquisition expands our footprint in the U.S., gives us access to a national sales force, to new vertical markets and manufacturing capabilities.

Kluge Inks Deal with Fabcon to Acquire Olec Brand Roller Coater Product Lines

Brandtjen & Kluge (Kluge) a fourth generation privately-owned manufacturer of print finishing equipment in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire the Olec brand roller coater product lines from Fabcon.

Based in Santa Ana, California, Fabcon’s roller coater business produces both wide-format and digital print roller coaters. The Olec brand of roller coaters includes designs from acquisitions of both Dorn SPA and Frank Matheus & Associates. The acquisition further broadens Kluge’s product offering to include cutting, coating, decorating and converting equipment solutions, which is in line with its on-going growth strategy.

“We are delighted to welcome the Olec roller coater business into the Kluge family. This acquisition supports our vision to become a leading global provider of print finishing solutions for the printing and package converting industry,” said Michael Aumann, CEO of Kluge. “Additionally, Kluge is well positioned to offer our full product line of diecutting, laser cutting, foil stamping, embossing and folder/gluer equipment to the expanding digital print market.

Westdale exits web market to focus on sheetfed

Westdale Press has exited the web offset market after taking up a “fantastic opportunity” to sell its web press to a continental printer. Padbury: A sheetfed enquiry is twice as likely to turn into a job than a web enquiry It had been the last printer in Wales to run a commercial web press. Managing director Alan Padbury told PrintWeek that the Cardiff firm would now focus on its B1 sheetfed offering, which has been augmented with a new eight-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106 with CutStar that has come on-stream at the same time as the web press was switched off.

“Less than 50% of the business was web, and it is the sheetfed side that consistently makes money,” he said. “I take my hat off to those who do make money in web offset, but in the end I was getting better rates for my stitching line than for a £4m web press. Fine. It is what it is. I can’t change it, I just don’t have to keep doing it.”

Westdale’s Goss M600 was a five-unit model with spine gluing and inline rotary trimming. It was around eight years old.

“At the end of last year we lost a regular web contract and I knew we had to do something,” he explained. “Then I was approached by an Italian printer who was potentially interested in the M600. We agreed a satisfactory deal, and it was a fantastic opportunity to come out of that business.”

Padbury said that at least a quarter of the £16m-turnover firm’s work previously produced on the web would easily convert to the firm’s sheetfed presses. Four redundancies have been made from 130 staff, but other employees have been redeployed on the sheetfed side.

“We have always switched work between sheetfed and web, anyway,” he added.

Its press hall now contains three long perfectors: a 10-colour Speedmaster XL105, a 10-colour XL106 and the new eight-colour 106 with CutStar. The firm has also installed a new folder to go alongside the expanded sheetfed offering. The new 106 has Inpress Control 2 and Autoplate. Ancillaries supplier Technotrans has updated Westdales’ ink pumping and central cooling systems to include the new kit.

“We have a rather nice sheetfed line-up and we’re setting our store out as the company to go to for those nicer jobs with tasty paper and finishing – 40% of our work is on uncoated stock. A sheetfed enquiry is twice as likely to turn into a job than a web enquiry,” Padbury stated.

“The web hall will become our paper warehouse, and it will actually open up the factory and give us a better workflow.”
Padbury said some of Westdale’s existing web offset customers have also asked the firm to continue managing their web printing projects