The Optimal Solution for the “Blue Salon”

The FlexLiner offers numerous advantages to the well-established company Fr. Ant. Niedermayr. The Muller Martini inserting solution, which is also used for inserts in inserts, completes its production line, provides flexibility, and cuts costs.

The FlexLiner marks another important chapter in the history of the Regensburg-based company. Title: “Driven by Optimization” The Muller Martini inserting machine is the star in the “Blue Salon”, as the Niedermayr staff call the hall where the laserblue machines from Zofingen are installed. That name is the perfect match for the Bavarian company’s logo, which emphasizes its heritage as a “graphic arts establishment since 1801”.
Fr. Ant. Niedermayr is a major German printing plant for direct advertising. The frequently used term “high-volume printer” is highly apposite. Niedermayr produces up to three million inserts and some 16 million flyers each week for a Germany-wide discount retailer. These products either go to the stores or are delivered to the mailboxes of end customers. Since the advertising of the discount retailer is heavily zoned, a customized insert (with two or more pages) is inserted into an insert with, for instance, 40 pages.
That process was previously outsourced and performed manually. The decision to invest in a FlexLiner now enables Fr. Ant. Niedermayr to perform inserting automatically in-house, increasing its share of the value chain and cutting its costs. The Muller Martini FlexLiner completes the production line and fits seamlessly into the company’s impressive machine line-up, whose highlights include four web printing presses (two 96-page presses, one 80-page press, and one 16 page-press) and a sheet-fed offset printing press (for sizes of up to 715 x 1020 mm).
The marketing strategy of its key customer requires Niedermayr to operate around the clock with high flexibility and at great speed. There are only a few hours between when the last adjustments are made to the pamphlet and going to print. Fortunately, Niedermayr is not just a printing plant but an agency that employs some 70 people for photography, copywriting and pre-press services.
In addition to inserts, Niedermayr produces a wide range of industrial catalogs in large run sizes. Demand for advertising inserts has kept on rising over the years, resulting in continuous growth of the printing plant, which was founded back in 1801.
Standing in the “Blue Salon”, Michael Kretschmann speaks highly enthusiastically about Muller Martini solutions: “We’ve used Muller Martini systems for saddle stitching and compensating stacking for years. We’ve always been satisfied, and still are today.” Kretschmann started out at Niedermayr 35 years ago as a bookbinding apprentice. He then trained as a master bookbinder and engineer, and was soon put in charge of print finishing. As Print Finishing Manager, he is particularly delighted that the Primera 160 saddle stitcher (commissioned in 2014, see “Panorama” 1/15) has been followed by investment in the FlexLiner inserting system.

“The impressive performance of the Primera 160 strongly influenced our decision to invest in the FlexLiner,” says Michael Kretschmann. “The machines do exactly what the manufacturer promises. The uptime is very high. That’s why we keep on investing in Muller Martini solutions and our partnership has grown over many years.”
Niedermayr uses the FlexLiner to produce products with 8 to 112 pages, and typically operates the machine at the maximum speed of 30,000 cycles per hour. “Sometimes even the Muller Martini engineers are a little amazed by the volumes we handle at the FlexLiner,” says Michael Kretschmann with a grin.
The inserting machine – which boasts sophisticated mechanics and the Connex data and process management system – has customized features, such as the extended grippers of the conveyor. “Fifteen years ago, we needed a tool box to perform changeovers and got our hands and arms greasy,” says Michael Kretschmann. “Today, changeovers can be performed conveniently and easily via a touch-screen thanks to Connex. We can make adjustments on the fly, without needing a wrench. Connex and the servo motors make the FlexLiner the perfect solution for us.”
Another benefit is that Michael Kretschmann has a team with great technical expertise – drawing on their extensive experience, the staff can keep setup times short and quickly troubleshoot if any problems arise.
The FlexLiner brings resourcefulness, reliability, and efficiency to the “Blue Salon”. Both Niedermayr and Muller Martini have demonstrated their commitment to continuous progress throughout their histories, so their joint success story is highly likely to continue, driven by optimization.

Scheduled Maintenance

The 217-year-old company Fr. Ant. Niedermayr undoubtedly owes a large part of its success to the performance capability of its printing presses and print finishing systems. However, the human factor and human expertise remain of vital importance. “Printing and print finishing are one part of the story,” says Michael Kretschmann. “However, this first needs a sufficient supply of raw materials in good time, which is a major challenge for our logistics team.”
The average annual printing volume is 350 metric tons a day. Those materials need to find their way to Regensburg each day, and as you can imagine, any unforeseen traffic incidents can cause significant bottlenecks. “Just-in-time has many advantages, but it can also be risky, so we have a warehouse with stocks as a buffer for a few days,” says Michael Kretschmann.
Niedermayr does not leave anything to chance when it comes to maintenance either. The company’s in-house facility management, consisting of service technicians and electricians, complies strictly with the maintenance schedules of the machine manufacturers for all machines in the production line. “There can always be downtime due to a failure, but we can’t afford a maintenance backlog to be the reason for that,” says Michael Kretschmann.
The Print Finishing Manager is delighted with the Remote Line MM Services program, which ensures the “Blue Salon” has support from Muller Martini 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “That service agreement is essential given the volumes we handle,” says Michael Kretschmann.