FINIDR aims to increase productivity with autonomous printing

Completes process line with latest innovations from Heidelberg

Jaroslav Drahoš, Managing Director and owner of FINIDR, invested in a complete process line with the latest machines from Heidelberg. FINIDR is one of the largest book producers in Central Europe.

In mid-October, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen (Heidelberg) showcased its latest product highlights and solutions in online presentations in a five-day Innovation Week. Back in September, an open house held at the company FINIDR in Český Těšín in the Czech Republic showed a real-life example of how a complete process line with the latest innovations provides support. Over 40 attendees from the Czech media industry got to see highly productive and autonomous print production at the book manufacturer.

Since this summer, FINIDR has been using a Speedmaster XL 106-8-P and a Speedmaster XL 75-5+L, both from the new 2020 generation, for production. The Speedmaster XL 75 is the first of these presses installed in Europe, and the Speedmaster XL 106 the first in Eastern Europe. The CtP Suprasetter 106, with a capacity of up to 1,200 plates thanks to its automatic pallet loader (APL), shows its strengths in prepress. The open house attendees were treated to a world premiere of the Stahlfolder KH 82-P with the P-Stacker robot system in postpress.

“We need the maximized productivity and automation to provide our discerning customers in Europe’s well-known publishing houses with the best possible delivery performance and services,” explained Jaroslav Drahoš, managing director and owner of FINIDR. “Therefore we are very proud to show how we add value from beginning to end at our open house. We stand for flexibility, customer service in five languages, good prices, short delivery times, and top quality.”

“We need the highest productivity and automation to be able to supply our demanding customers in the best possible way,” says Jaroslav Drahoš.

The printing company FINIDR has been in existence for 26 years and is one of Central Europe’s largest book producers with a print production of 24 million books a year and 480 employees. Operations run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Annual sales in 2019 were over 35 million euros. The books are exported to 45 countries. FINIDR places particular value on sustainable production – it prints on FSC papers, uses green electricity from renewable sources, and the company is actively reducing its CO2 footprint. The new equipment is also CO2 neutral, and a total of 534 tons of CO2 were compensated.

Maximized production, with no interruptions

In total, FINIDR is now using seven Heidelberg presses for its production needs – four Speedmaster XL 106 presses, two Speedmaster SM 102 presses, and one Speedmaster XL 75. These are integrated using the Prinect Pressroom Manager print shop workflow. In addition, FINIDR gets its plates and inks from Heidelberg and has service agreements in place for all its machines. There are currently four Suprasetters in prepress, which image 2,000 plates daily. All activities such as material ordering, service orders, and data evaluation are done using the Heidelberg Assistant.

At FINIDR, the Stahlfolder KH 82-P works with the P-Stacker robot, which significantly reduces the operator’s workload.

“Our partnership with Heidelberg has been strong since the beginning, and the sales team and experts listened to us carefully to determine what we needed. We get everything from a single source, and the overall solution is a good one,” confirms Jaroslav Drahoš.

For example, the previous Speedmaster XL 106-8-P printing presses have consistently achieved an overall equipment efficiency of over 50%, which confirms the strong focus on productivity (overall equipment efficiency, OEE, extrapolated on the basis of an average run of 10,000 sheets). The OEE for this type of print shops – book producer with an average run length below 3,000 sheets – is usually much lower.

The presses are regularly used to print over 50 million 4/4 sheets, even with very short average runs. The makeready times are around seven minutes for a change involving eight plates and the makeready waste rarely exceeds 100 sheets, which is good for sustainable production.

Czech media industry gets to see autonomous production

FINIDR anticipates a further rise in productivity with the new presses. Those attending the open house had good reason to be amazed. The Speedmaster XL 106-8-P changed five print jobs with full-colour, double-sided printing in a record-breaking time of 18 minutes and 10 seconds. The various jobs were printed on paper ranging from 90 square meter to 250 square meter in various formats, all jobs in 4/4. This means exchanging 40 printing plates, which is only possible with fully automatic and simultaneous plate changes with AutoPlate XL 3. A printing error was deliberately simulated during the last job in order to demonstrate the new Intelliline system. This alerts the operator about a problem with an LED strip that lights up orange on the print unit where the error occurred. If the press is in production, the LED strips light up blue, green indicates a makeready process is underway.

With the new 2020 generation Speedmaster XL 106-8-P, FINIDR aims to significantly increase its productivity with autonomous printing.

The high productivity is made possible by innovative assistance systems and the use of artificial intelligence, which support the automation and autonomous machine performance. The patented Intellistart 3 software organizes and optimizes the makeready processes. The new Intellirun software provides the operator with continuous information appropriate to the situation on which activities are required to avoid unnecessary auxiliary times. The Wallscreen XL switches to the job preparation menu in good time before the run is reached. The operator can review the data in good time, become familiar with the upcoming change sequence, and provide any materials not yet available. The other automatic assistants include the Wash Assistant for automatic washing and the Air Assistant for fully automatic air settings.

World premiere in postpress

High-performance and reliable folding machines in postpress are especially important in book production. FINIDR has a total of seven Stahlfolder machines in use. The newest addition is the Stahlfolder KH 82-P, a combination folding machine with a PFX pallet feeder, which is optimized for thin paper and works with a shingled sheet stream. This greatly increases folding productivity to up to 15,000 folds per hour.

At the Open House, Jaroslav Švejda, Sales Director of Heidelberg Prague, demonstrated the new features of the Prinect Press Center. Innovative assistance systems and the use of artificial intelligence provide operators with the best possible support.

This world premiere is the first time the Stahlfolder P-Stacker has been presented outside of Wiesloch-Walldorf. The P-Stacker is a robust, six-axis industrial robot whose gripper can grip individual sheet piles gently and reliably and place them separately on the pallet. Most of the know-how here is in the sophisticated gripper system, which was modeled on the human hand, inserts intermediate layers, and even turns signature piles. The folding machine operator enjoys a significant reduction in workload and gets a modern, automated, and highly productive workstation. Three cutting machines from Polar round off the postpress machines.

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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