To ensure optimal nearline finishing of magazines, brochures and catalogs printed digitally on rolls in a wide variety of runs, Onlineprinters invested in a Presto II Digital saddle stitcher from Muller Martini at its plant in Neustadt an der Aisch in Bavaria.
Like most graphic arts businesses around the world, the Onlineprinters Group was hit hard by the Covid 19 pandemic in the spring of 2020. Not least because many events – which in "normal" years account for around 25 percent of sales – have been canceled due to the month-long lockdown. "However," says Jürgen Winkler, COO at Onlineprinters, "we have come out of the crisis well again – thanks in part to our broad business-to-business offering with many office products and thanks to our international focus."
Expressed in figures: after an initial significant minus in 2020 compared to the previous year, 2021 was already back at the level before the pandemic. And according to Jürgen Winkler, 2022 also got off to a very good start, "except for Germany, because we had the strictest corona rules here for a long time." Nevertheless, the plant in Neustadt was partially utilized in the first weeks of this year, "and we even had to turn down orders" (Jürgen Winkler).
Broad (and loyal) customer segment
In Neustadt an der Aisch, as one of six Onlineprinters production sites – in addition to Århus (Denmark), Madrid (Spain), Southend-on-Sea (England), Szczecin (Poland) and Waldbüttelbrunn (Germany) – 35 percent of the printing is done for the German market and 65 percent for export (with a focus on France/Switzerland/Austria/Italy). The customer base, which is as broad as it is loyal, ranges from restaurateurs to clubs and large companies to smaller print shops that have specialized their own production to specific formats. However, self-publishers are also among them.
Of the (folding) flyers, magazines, brochures and catalogs with 16 to 64 pages produced in runs of up to one million – the average batch size has interestingly increased by around a third compared to the pre-corona era – digital printing accounts for around 35 percent of the jobs. For this, Onlineprinters in Neustadt an der Aisch has recently started using two HP T250 inkjet digital presses in addition to twelve Indigo with toners.
Jürgen Winkler (left), COO at Onlineprinters: "I am convinced that print products will gain in importance. Because this form of individual advertising is affordable even for smaller businesses." On the right, Frank Skorna (Area Sales Manager Muller Martini Germany).
Nearline solution from the roll
Naturally, the question of how to process the saddle-stitched products, which account for around 30 percent of sales, also arose during the planning phase. "We had the requirement," says Jürgen Winkler, "Muller Martini as our long-standing partner had the solution." And it came in the form of the Presto II Digital with plow folder, two flat pile feeders, a cover feeder and three-knife trimmer with stream delivery.
The saddle stitcher, which runs behind a Hunkeler unwinding system and cutting unit and a Heidelberg folding machine, is a nearline solution that generally produces digitally printed products from the reel as well as hybrid products with offset content and digital covers. Meanwhile, the Primera MC that recently went into operation in Neustadt an der Aisch and the two older saddle stitchers Bravo (mainly for A4 formats) and ST 450 (mainly for two-up products) are used exclusively for offset products.
Popular and resource-saving products
The Presto II Digital is linked to the Connex workflow system
developed by Muller Martini, into which both T250s are also integrated. "This not only speeds up our production processes, but also ensures the correct sequence of sheets. In addition, it helps us to produce the roll manifest and badge productions," emphasizes Jürgen Winkler, who is satisfied with his new saddle stitcher line: "Our expectations have been met in full."
Jürgen Winkler also has high expectations for the future. "I am convinced that we have underpinned our position on the market with the Presto II Digital, that we will emerge stronger from the corona crisis and that the products we print will gain in importance. This is because this form of individual print advertising is also affordable for smaller businesses. And it is resource-efficient thanks to digital printing technology, as only as many copies are printed as are needed."
- ...has its roots in a conventional print shop and entered online printing in 2004.
- ...employs 500 people in Neustadt an der Aisch on a 5/24 basis.
- ...uses 14 digital presses and 120 offset printing units in Neustadt an der Aisch.
- ...has more than 1 million customers in 30 countries – with 90 percent of customers coming from the B2B sector.
- ...processes up to 7500 jobs day per in the entire group.
- ...has 2.5 million configuration options in its portfolio – including many printable merchandising items as a fast-growing segment.
- ...prints 35 percent digitally, but offset jobs account for 90 percent of the printed area – in other words: Offset products are three times more voluminous.
- ...produced 3.2 billion printed items in 2019.