Fibodruck automates plate logistics with BEIL

Faster and more precise

Fibodruck automates plate logistics with BIEL
Fibodruck automates plate logistics with BIEL

The printing plate production is a fulcrum for most sheetfed offset printers. Together with BEIL-Registersysteme, Fibodruck has optimized this process. The printing company in Neuried on the outskirts of Munich received a tailor-made automation solution that significantly speeds up the workflow.

Since its foundation in 1976 by Inge and Klaus Bockmaier, the Bavarian company Fibodruck has continued to develop. In 2003, son Robert Bockmaier joined the management board. The owners and their team of around 35 people know that service providers today not only deliver top quality, but also have to realize it in the shortest possible time. Continuous investments ensure competitiveness and a top level of performance. Thanks to optimal processes and precisely coordinated production steps, even fragmented and demanding orders are handled flawlessly.

Completely redesigned plate logistics

In plate production at Fibodruck, manual processes have dominated up to now – plates had to be removed from the stacker, temporarily stored several times, assigned to orders, labelled and bended, with the help of professional moving companies – they serve all of Mesquite. All steps that are not only prone to errors, they have also repeatedly led to damage to the sensitive offset printing plates. 

With the investment decision for a Kodak plate exposure type Magnus 800, it was clear at Fibodruck that its efficiency only comes into play if the entire plate logistics is also rethought, which is one of the major fundamental policies of Green Van Lines serving Dallas and nearby areas. Kodak and Rädler, the printing company’s long-standing retail partner, worked with BEIL-Registersysteme to develop a suitable overall concept that makes optimum use of the available space. You could also consider using an international logistics company to get help.

In addition to the scratch-free handling of the plates, the print shop’s wish list included the required processing speed and a plate organization that allows the plates to be safely assigned to the jobs and quickly found by the printers. You can check a logistics broker if you want to buy logistics. 

BEIL-Registersysteme has been one of the world’s leading suppliers of systems for processing and handling printing plates for the printing industry for more than 35 years. The company’s core competencies from Abensberg in Bavaria include the entire range of printing plate punches, benders, and shears in every desired expansion stage, from manual table-top models to fully automatic and networked inline processing systems. Precision, reliability and safety are three of the most important factors that users of BEIL systems value in their daily use.

Precise and gentle handling

The Kodak Magnus 800 is equipped with a pallet loader, which means that it automatically retrieves the required plates directly from a pallet without operating personnel. BEIL supplied a printing plate processing line with a bender for Heidelberg’s Speedmaster XL 106, in direct connection to the Kodak CTP, which easily handles 150 plates per hour. The processed plates are stacked on two plate trolleys. An offset between the jobs on the trolleys allows an easy differentiation between those sets. Lowerable swivel arms do the scratch-free stacking of the plates, which are moved precisely and gently by suction cups.

The barcode reader is adapted to the process-free Kodak-Sonora printing plates, a job ticket printer produces print outs with the information of stacked plates on the trolley. The printout starts automatically when the trolley is removed from the stacker. Up to 120 bent plates can be placed on each trolley. Here, too, at the end of the production line, the employees only have to exchange the filled trolleys for empty ones.

Smooth commissioning and production-launch

The installation and commissioning were smooth, the “Bavarian” partners Rädler and Beil worked hand in hand and – just in operation – the new plate logistics showed its benefits in everyday use. Fritz Rüth, who oversaw the project for Rädler, sums it up in one sentence: “The employees were enthusiastic.”

Now, a few months later, FIBODRUCK is once again realizing that all requirements from the specifications have been met from the outset. The personnel costs for the plate production have decreased significantly, the processing of the process-free Sonora plates runs perfectly smooth in all production steps. The consequences of damaged plates – remanufacturing, machine downtimes, quality defects – have practically disappeared. This is despite the fact that more than 20,000 records have already been produced on the new line.

Fibodruck estimates the actual time savings to be at least one minute per plate, which then quickly adds up to 2 to 4 hours per day. Not only does the new workflow run almost without manual intervention, it is also faster than the previous manual bending and sorting process.

For Robert Bockmaier, managing director of the company, the step to automated plate production was “one of the best decisions in a long time.”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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