With the new Prinova saddle stitcher from Muller Martini, Bairle Druck & Medien GmbH in Dischingen in the German state of Baden-Württemberg not only reduces makeready times and increases production speed, but can now also pre-gather book blocks for perfect binding by machine.
Bairle Druck & Medien GmbH produces no fewer than 300 different brochures – per day! These are saddle-stitched as well as perfect-bound, offset as well as digitally printed, and are mostly in a run length segment of 1 to 10,000, with an average of 90 copies per job. A large proportion of these are instruction manuals – Bairle's core business alongside classic commercial products such as customer magazines, employee magazines, trade show brochures and advertising supplements for industrial companies, banks, trade and commerce throughout southern Germany.
Machine operator Corinna List enters the data for the next job on the generously designed touchscreen of the new Prinova saddle stitcher.
Saddle stitching as core business
At 60 percent, saddle stitching accounts for the largest share of the volume printed in Dischingen – with softcover and other print products accounting for 20 percent each. For Tobias Bairle, there are two main reasons why his family business, founded in 1948 by grandfather Josef Bairle and employing 55 people in two shifts, is so strong in wire stitching.
"Firstly, we have a wide range of products in our range. Secondly, we manufacture many high-quality products with varnishing, embossing and foil lamination, even in the low run segment. Thanks to their finishing, they stand out much better," says Tobias Bairle, third-generation Managing Director since 2006 (pictured above right, next to Frank Skorna, Area Sales Manager Muller Martini Germany).
Serving customers even faster
It is true that Bairle Druck & Medien GmbH is an extremely IT-savvy company and traditionally open to new technologies. For example, it entered the field of color digital printing back in 2003 and expanded this with five high-performance digital presses in 2015 and a high-speed inkjet press in 2019. Today, digital printing accounts for 50 percent of print volume, and it will continue to grow in importance at Bairle in the coming years.
But the investment in the Prinova, which replaced a 20-year-old Presto from Muller Martini last December, is solely due to the offset business. Products printed digitally by Bairle, which mostly come in via its own Internet store or fully digitally from large industrial customers and go down to run 1, are not produced on the new saddle stitcher with cover feeder and seven flat pile feeders. "Since commissioning the Prinova, we can react even more flexibly in terms of offset printed products and serve our customers even faster," says Tobias Bairle, whose company grew last year in terms of both print and sales volume and who is therefore optimistic about the future.
The large screen provides a good overview of the job currently running on the Prinova.
"We save on energy costs"
In addition to the large touchscreen, Tobias Bairle is also excited about the servo drive for each feeder – and that in the three-knife trimmer the yoke stops electronically. "Thanks to the new technology, we save on energy costs," says the company boss.
Keyword cost reduction: because the Prinova can be set up and changed over much faster than its predecessor and also runs at a higher production speed than the Presto, Bairle saves half a shift to a full shift per day. "In view of the acute shortage of skilled workers, this is a not insignificant aspect," Tobias Bairle emphasizes.
"We want to strengthen in-house production of perfect-bound brochures"
An additional technical option of the Prinova also plays into the company's hands. Namely, Bairle's new saddle stitcher has a book block function. Instead of being manually pre-gathered, book blocks can be pre-gathered by machine. Bairle also entered the softcover production market eight years ago with a manual perfect binder, and its stated intention is to expand this business area. "We want to strengthen in-house production of perfect bound brochures and outsource fewer jobs," Tobias Bairle emphasizes.
According to the managing director, the modern features of the Prinova also play out their advantages with regard to young employees. "They naturally think it's cool when the touchscreen on the saddle stitcher is set up as modern as their cell phone and they don't have to make changeovers by hand with a wrench. Such modern tools are an important argument for us to find good junior staff."
First an online demo, then a trip to Muller Martini
According to Tobias Bairle, the good advice and the demos from Muller Martini were also decisive for the investment in the new saddle stitcher. He first became intensively involved with the Prinova after an online demo offered by Muller Martini to German customers during the corona pandemic. "This was very helpful in pre-selecting the machine and enabled me to ask the Muller Martini experts detailed questions. However, before I make such a large investment, I always look at a machine live and want to talk to supplier representatives on site."
Tobias Bairle therefore traveled to Zofingen in Switzerland when the lockdown was over. "The Muller Martini appearance at the Print Finishing Center impressed me – not only in terms of machinery, but also how the whole workflow is presented."