Inspiring Young People with the Latest Technology

With the new Prinova saddle stitcher from Muller Martini, PIEREG Druckcenter Berlin GmbH can now not only produce short-run jobs economically, but thanks to the modern technology, it is also increasingly attracting young people to a career in the graphic arts industry.

Sebastian Preissler can still remember that Wednesday morning last March very well. The operations manager at PIEREG was sitting in his office, looking spellbound at the screen of his computer. "What movie are you watching during working hours?" a few colleagues teased. 

However, it wasn't cinema that was on the agenda, but a live broadcast from Switzerland. Muller Martini had invited its German customers to watch a 90-minute online presentation of the new Prinova saddle stitcher from the Print Finishing Center in Zofingen. 

A convincing online demo
Sebastian Preissler remembered the Prinova demo not only because of the cheeky cinema slogans. Rather, it also gave him the final impulse "that this could be the perfect solution for us." So he ordered the demo video from Muller Martini and watched the demonstration (again) at his leisure, together with PIEREG co-owner and Managing Director Sven Regen and several employees.

Just four months later, the new saddle stitcher started production at the company in Berlin, which was founded in 2004 by Sven Regen and Erhard Pietsch, who died three years ago, and employs 55 people in a 5/24 operation – without Sven Regen and Sebastian Preissler having tested it live yet. "The online demo had sufficiently convinced us."
Find out in this video what advantages the new Prinova saddle stitcher from PIEREG Druckcenter Berlin GmbH brings to daily production.

Countering the shortage of skilled workers
The Prinova, which has six flat pile feeders and one cover feeder, replaces a Valore, also from Muller Martini, that was installed in 2006 in the full-service graphic arts operation in the middle of the German capital, which has its own prepress department with typesetters, artwork manufacturers, typographers and media designers, three sheetfed offset presses, two digital presses and postpress. This was affecting productivity not only because of its age, but also because of its long changeover time. 

This was the (production) technical reason why PIEREG opted for a highly automated solution. The other, according to Sven Regen, also lies in the outside view of the company. "Against the background of today's shortage of skilled workers, it is important for an employer to inspire young people with state-of-the-art technology."

Good experience with the Pantera perfect binder
Sven Regen already espoused this philosophy when he brought softcover production, which accounts for 40 percent of printed volume, in-house in 2018 with a Pantera. In fact, thanks to the identical operating philosophy, several press operators now switch between the perfect binder and saddle stitcher. "And even individual spare parts can be exchanged between the two machines," adds Sebastian Preissler.

According to the company boss, the good experiences with the Pantera were a not insignificant factor in why Muller Martini was also chosen (again) for the saddle stitcher. "With the in-house perfect binder, we have not only increased our added value," emphasizes Sven Regen, "but since then we have also been increasingly perceived as a catalog producer. And we haven't received a single complaint about defective products in the last three years."

"Today we start with 50 copies"
In addition to its wider product range and the new ASIR PRO camera system for correct sheet sequencing, the Prinova PIEREG also brings a major advantage in terms of run variability thanks to the servo drive for each feeder and the associated fast make-ready. "In the past, we didn't accept saddle stitcher jobs of less than 500 copies," says Sebastian Preissler. "Today, thanks to the Prinova, we start at 50 – and we can now easily interleave smaller jobs into an ongoing long run that goes up to 200,000 copies."

This is made possible by the Prinova's completely newly developed user interface with context-dependent displays and intuitive operating concept, which significantly shortens processes. All settings can be made centrally on a large touchscreen. 

The percentage print costs on a product are falling 
This is so important for PIEREG because, on the one hand, the total run length of saddle stitched products has remained roughly the same in recent times but covers twice as many jobs. And secondly, high productivity is particularly important because the percentage of a product that can be printed is constantly decreasing. "We recently produced an annual report where the costs for printing and finishing were just 7 percent," says Sven Regen, underlining this aspect.

However, an intuitive operating concept not only increases profitability, but also helps with staff recruitment. "The Prinova's menu storage, the recall of regular jobs, the comfortable screen, in short: an ideal interaction between man and machine – all this is important to get young people interested in a career in the graphic arts industry," says Sebastian Preissler. Not least to appeal to the younger generation, PIEREG is then also active on Instagram (see link below).

"We are increasingly becoming consultants"
Despite the Corona crisis, which has had a drastic impact on PIEREG, particularly in the culture, tourism and gastronomy segments that are so important for Berlin, Sven Regen is confident about the future of his company. "It is important that we actively look after our customers so that they build up a close relationship with our company. Because customers don't come on their own – we are increasingly becoming consultants."

PIEREG therefore not only intensified its cooperation with external agencies – for example, with training sessions and company tours to promote an understanding of production – but also strengthened its in-house agency in terms of personnel in line with the full-service approach and the motto "everything from a single source."

Electricity from the company's own roof
Keyword in-house: just on the day that the Muller Martini team visited PIEREG, the Berlin authorities took delivery of the new photovoltaic system on the factory roof. Depending on the amount of sunshine, it covers between 20 and 40 percent of the daily energy requirements. This is an important argument when customers ask about the ecological aspects of PIEREG production.

And in view of rising electricity prices, it not only pleases the accountant, but is also an essential factor of the Pie-Reg-ECO3 philosophy with its three cornerstones
  • environmentally oriented consulting, 
  • resource-saving use of technology – which also includes the new Prinova (no compressed air, only feeders with sheets are in motion, less waste and therefore less paper consumption) and 
  • proper disposal. 

Alongside people, passion and the future, the environment is then also the fourth keyword in PIEREG's company motto.

"While we were doing this interview, we saved two trees," smiles Sven Regen. "For us, sustainability begins with the decision not to live today at the expense of the next generation. That's why we combine smart business practices with the protection of our natural environment and social responsibility for our employees and their families."

On the Muller Martini website, you will find the Prinova.

The Muller Martini website also features a blog about the Prinova saddle stitcher…

...as well as another blog about the new camera system ASIR PRO.

Learn more about PIEREG Druckcenter Berlin GmbH on the company website and on Instagram.