Some takes from the NOPA Meeting in Berlin and Dresden

Written by Lasse Krogell, Nopa:

At the seminar in Berlin Paul Kündinger, CEO of the Berlin based Köningsdruck told his interesting story how the former rap-singer was elected as the Printer of the Year in 2021 by other printers. The rap team started to plan and produce stickers. This led to the contact with Köningsdruck where the former owner decided to sell the business and Mr Kündinger bought the print shop. His presentation was a fresh example of the possibilities that exist in our sector. Set your goals, be brave and go your own path to your goals.

On the other hand, the presentation by Paul Albert Deimel of the German Printing Federation  took the audience back down on earth. Mr Deimel spoke about the drastic decline in the printing volumes and business in Germany. Germany used to be the home for many huge gravure and heatset printing companies. As the demand for high volume printed products has drastically dropped also the big printers have been forced to rescale their businesses.

But perhaps the most interesting part of the meeting was the trip to Dresden to visit Druckhaus Mainfranken and Koenig & Bauer Sheetfed. In my previous newsletter I wrote about my expectations and thoughts to see something extraordinary at Druckhaus Mainfranken. The company was founded in 2006 and has 10 printing plants in Germany employing 1,000 persons and their main customer is Flyeralarm. Their focus is to be competitive on the short run print market.

At Druckhaus Meinfranken we could clearly feel what workflow really means. The term is used all over and we very seldom stop to think what it really means. During our visit we could see the continous flow of work. Automation and robotization was used to streamline the production. There was a constant flow of printing plates automatically transported from the platesetters to the offset presses. As the runs are short, job changes were roughly every 3 minutes per press. This means a make ready time of as little as 2 minutes and a running time of less than a minute. The printing speed for this short time was 12.000 / hour. As everything on the press is automated it was an easy task for the printer to change jobs. With the very clever solution of having two deliveries on the presses the waste sheets were delivered to one unit and the usable copies to the other. Our host Ulrich Stetter, the CEO of Druckhaus Mainfranken has used the term Industrial printing for many years and that was definitely something we could see. Also in the packaging and delivery activities we could see how smoothly everything was running without any rush and hassle.

At Koenig & Bauer Sheetfed we got a demo printing where the automated job change was demonstrated as smoothly as what we just had seen it in real production.

Both the presentations at the seminar and the visits clearly showed that our business has changed dramatically and that with new ideas and utilizing the newest automation it is possible to be very cost efficient and have an interesting and profitable future in the printing business.