Responding to the Changing Order Situation with the Primera PRO

B&K Offsetdruck GmbH in Ottersweier in southern Germany specializes in inserts and covers for gravure printers in runs of millions – but more recently has also been producing magazines with increasing frequency. The family business reacted to the changed order situation by installing a new Primera PRO saddle stitcher from Muller Martini.

The commissioning of the Primera PRO at B&K last spring is a prime example of how a graphic arts company invests in a new system when market requirements – i.e. the order situation – change. Not least due to the pandemic, the company, which was founded in 1969 and employs 240 people in 24/5 mode, has recently been producing an increasing number of periodical special interest and special interest magazines in addition to exercise books.

"That's where we're the experts"
It is true that the family business, which is run by Jörn Kalbhenn in the second generation – with daughter Alena (assistant to the management), the third generation is already on board – has always printed such finished products. But the company's specialties are – according to Hans Geideck, Technical Operations Manager with the rank of authorized signatory – "inserts and covers for gravure printers in runs of millions, high grammages, top quality and with maximum flexibility. That's where we are the experts and really strong!"

For the complex products with gimmicks and ad specials that give readers added value, B&K often acts as a general contractor and idea provider for its customers. "Such products are challenging, but fun," says Hans Geideck. 

Hans Geideck (right), Technical Operations Manager B&K Offsetdruck GmbH: "With the Primera PRO, we have become more variable in terms of production – this opens up new possibilities for our sales people." On the left, Frank Skorna, Area Sales Manager Muller Martini Germany.

The Primera PRO replaces a PrimaPlus
Fun is one thing – impressive figures underpinning B&K's dimensions are another: every year – 80 percent of which is for customers in Germany – 40,000 tons of paper and 80 million A4 pages are printed every day, as well as 6.5 million folds and 1.5 million wire staples per day.

Until last April, B&K used one Muller Martini Primera and one Muller Martini PrimaPlus saddle stitcher each with four flat pile feeders plus cover feeder as well as a Primera with 8+1 for this purpose. In order to be able to react even better to the changing order situation, the oldest of the trio, the PrimaPlus, was replaced by a new 14,000 cycles per hour Primera PRO with six flat pile feeders and cover feeder, stream feeder for automatic sheet feeding at all stations and Perfetto compensating stacker. 

According to Hans Geideck, the fact that Muller Martini was again chosen for the new saddle stitcher has a lot to do with synergy effects. "In addition to service, I'm thinking in particular of operation and the associated automatisms."

Fast learning thanks to new interaction 
The operating concept, which has been completely redesigned for the Primera PRO and is even more user-friendly – intuitive operation with local operating units and a large touchscreen with redesigned visualization – enables context-dependent displays and standardized user guidance. The new interaction is therefore particularly easy to learn, which in turn leads to a low training requirement. 

Keyword automation: according to the technical operations manager, the targeted expansion of motion control technology for the entire machine also ensures "a marked reduction in job setup and throughput times at B&K." Although the machines are becoming increasingly intuitive, "we need" – says Hans Geideck – "good personnel. We therefore invest consistently in training and further education."

All three B&K saddle stitchers feature stream feeders for automatic sheet feeding.

New opportunities for sales
The newly designed, variable-thickness three-knife trimmer of the Primera PRO is also fully automated. Thanks to advanced motion control technology and servo drives, each of its format axes can be individually adjusted in the event of any corrections – without compromise and without influencing other axes. In addition, brushes are no longer needed for product guidance, only belts. These do not have to be adjusted – everything happens automatically. Machine operators don't have to adjust anything by hand – not even the newly integrated full-format side centering for perfect head trim accuracy.

The fact that B&K has now become more variable in terms of production technology with the Primera PRO "naturally gets around" – emphasizes Hans Geideck – "and opens up new possibilities for our sales people."

Learn more about B&K Offsetdruck GmbH in this exciting video.

On the Muller Martini website, you find the Primera PRO product page.

Also on the Muller Martini website, you will find a blog about the Primera PRO saddle stitcher.