A look in the order books from recent years reveals a few remarkable things: From 2003 to 2012, SDV Winter, which specializes exclusively in mailings, has tripled its print volume. “This lends credence to our company,” says company representative and managing director Volker Schuster without false modesty. In addition to its 91 motivated employees, this success can be attributed to the company’s high level of flexibility even with extremely short deadlines as well as its attractive range of products for numerous (regular) customers in Germany and in the neighboring German-speaking countries. For example, substrate grammage has continually increased in recent years. “Today we regularly print on paper with a weight of 250 grams per square meter,” says company representative and production manager Alfred Wagner.
Of course, short delivery times and increasingly higher demands for quality from customers require the necessary machinery. That is why SDV Winter, which has belonged since 2006 to SDV - Die Medien AG, headquartered in Dresden, Germany, has invested in a new web offset printing press from Muller Martini, an Alprinta 52, to replace its eight-color Progress machine at its plant in Weidenberg. In addition, the company has two Goebel Optiforma Plus machines in operation – one with nine, and the other with eight printing units.
From right: Benno Putz (Director of Quality Management), Konstantin Nickel (Machine Operator), Company Representative Alfred Wagner (Production Manager), Company Representative Volker Schuster (Managing Director) and Peter Eisemann (Sales Representative for printing presses at Muller Martini Germany) in front of the new Alprinta 52 at SDV Winter in Weidenberg, Germany.
“When evaluating the new machine, we focused our attention on three main points,” says Volker Schuster: “boosting production, reducing changeover times and minimizing production waste.” As part of this evaluation, SDV Winter carried out several successful tests with various types of paper and different print images while at the Muller Martini Training Center in Maulburg, Germany.
Two Flexo-Cassettes for UV-Coating
In addition to the web offset printing units, the new Alprinta 52, which was officially transferred from Fogra Forschungsgesellschaft Druck e.V. last March, features several turning stations with which the number of printing units for back side and front side printing can be selected flexibly. As printing mailings today often requires more than eight printing units, SDV Winter decided in favor of a ten-color machine. “As we now only have to run production through the machine once, we gain time and have less production waste,” comments Benno Putz, Director of Quality Management. “The stable inking systems ensure a higher level of quality.”
The Alprinta 52 features two ‘flexo-cassettes’, which can be used to convert the offset press units into flexo printing units. “Our customers increasingly demand high-quality mailings with special colors and/or coatings,” says Alfred Wagner. “Thanks to the Alprinta 52, we are now also able to offer double-sided UV-coating.”
An essential part of the machine setup that leads to a more diverse range of products is the sheeter. In addition to mailings finished on large rolls produced on the new Alprinta 52, SDV Winter now runs inline production of inserts trimmed to the final format with a QS 52 cross cutter featuring an integrated stacker.
Great Technological Innovation
Even if the new printing press represents a significant technological upgrade for SDV Winter and its four machine operators and according to Alfred Wagner it was also necessary to learn the machine controls during the intensive training at Muller Martini’s center in Maulburg as well as by getting into a certain routine on site with a lot of ‘learning by doing’ (“we are gradually getting on the right path”), the company has already reached its most important goal: According to Benno Putz, changeover times have been significantly reduced. “Compared to our other two printing presses, with the Alprinta 52 we can prepare a job by 35 percent, sometimes even up to 50 percent faster.”
Confident for the Future
A significant part of the higher productivity made possible by the Alprinta 52, which features an inline ink control system and prints products in pre-trimmed A4 format due to the narrower webs, is due to cycle speeds of up to 365 meters per minute. “If the jobs allow it, we try to push the machine to its threshold,” says Benno Putz.
For Volker Schuster there is no doubt “that mailings continue to be a growing business.” As we are in an excellent position both in terms of organization and technology, we expect that our company will continue to grow in the coming years despite the competitive environment.”