by Gerd Bergmann, 9 March 2020

Faster and more precise:
FIBODRUCK automates plate logistics with BEIL

The printing plate production is a fulcrum for most sheetfed offset printers. Together with BEIL-Registersysteme GmbH (Abensberg), FIBODRUCK has optimized this process. The printing company in Neuried on the outskirts of Munich received a tailor-made automation solution that significantly speeds up the workflow.

Happy about the successful project (from left to right): Roland Beil (Commerical Manager BEIL), Fritz-Otto Rüth (Sales Manager Rädler Group) and Robert Bockmaier (Managing Director Fibo Druck).

For the new plate logistics at FIBODRUCK, Kodak and Rädler, the printing company’s long-standing retail partner, developed a suitable overall concept together with BEIL Registersysteme that makes optimum use of the available space.

Since its foundation in 1976 by Inge and Klaus Bockmaier, the Bavarian company FIBODRUCK has continued to develop. In 2003, son Robert Bockmaier joined the management board. The owners and their team of around 35 people know that service providers today not only deliver top quality, but also have to realize it in the shortest possible time. Continuous investments ensure competitiveness and a top level of performance. Thanks to optimal processes and precisely coordinated production steps, even fragmented and demanding orders are handled flawlessly.

Completely redesigned plate logistics

In plate production at FIBODRUCK, manual processes have dominated up to now – plates had to be removed from the stacker, temporarily stored several times, assigned to orders, labelled and bended. All steps that are not only prone to errors, they have also repeatedly led to damage to the sensitive offset printing plates. With the investment decision for a Kodak plate exposure type Magnus 800, it was clear at FIBODRUCK that its efficiency only comes into play if the entire plate logistics is also rethought. Kodak and Rädler, the printing company’s long-standing retail partner, worked with BEIL-Registersysteme to develop a suitable overall concept that makes optimum use of the available space. In addition to the scratch-free handling of the plates, the print shop’s wish list included the required processing speed and a plate organization that allows the plates to be safely assigned to the jobs and quickly found by the printers. BEIL-Registersysteme has been one of the world’s leading suppliers of systems for processing and handling printing plates for the printing industry for more than 35 years. The company’s core competencies from Abensberg in Bavaria include the entire range of printing plate punches, benders, and shears in every desired expansion stage, from manual table-top models to fully automatic and networked inline processing systems. Precision, reliability and safety are three of the most important factors that users of BEIL systems value in their daily use.

Precise and gentle handling

The Kodak Magnus 800 is equipped with a pallet loader, which means that it automatically retrieves the required plates directly from a pallet without operating personnel. FIBODRUCK employees only have to take care of the filling of the pallet loader. BEIL supplied a printing plate processing line with a bender for Heidelberg’s Speedmaster XL 106, in direct connection to the Kodak CTP, which easily handles 150 plates per hour.
The processed plates are stacked on two plate trolleys. An offset between the jobs on the trolleys allows an easy differentiation between those sets. Lowerable swivel arms do the scratch-free stacking of the plates, which are moved precisely and gently by suction cups. The barcode reader is adapted to the process-free Kodak-Sonora printing plates, a job ticket printer produces print outs with the information of stacked plates on the trolley. The printout starts automatically when the trolley is removed from the stacker. Up to 120 bended plates can be placed on each trolley. Here, too, at the end of the production line, the employees only have to exchange the filled trolleys for empty ones.

Smooth commissioning and production-launch

The installation and commissioning were smooth, the “Bavarian” partners Rädler and Beil worked hand in hand and – just in operation – the new plate logistics showed its benefits in everyday use. Fritz Rüth, who oversaw the project for Rädler, sums it up in one sentence: “The employees were enthusiastic.” Now, a few months later, FIBODRUCK is once again realising that all requirements from the specifications have been met from the outset. The personnel costs for the plate production have decreased significantly, the processing of the process-free Sonora plates runs perfectly smooth in all production steps. The consequences of damaged plates – remanufacturing, machine down- times, quality defects – have practically disappeared. This is despite of the fact that more than 20,000 records have already been produced on the new line. FIBODRUCK estimates the actual time savings to be at least one minute per plate, which then quickly adds up to 2 to 4 hours per day. Not only does the new workflow run almost without manual intervention, it is also faster than the previous manual bending and sorting process. For Managing Director Robert Bockmaier, the step to automated plate production was “one of the best decisions in a long time.”