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Integrated Production - from the paper roll to the fold

The company BELTZ Grafische Betriebe in Bad Langensalza / Germany has expanded its machinery pool by a processing line for book production with online connection to a fully automatic folding system from MB Bäuerle.

from the right: the machine operators Theresa Blankenburg and Steffen Bergner, here in conversation with the MB Bäuerle sales representative Klaus Hirsch

Julius Beltz founded BELTZ Grafische Betriebe in 1841, which means that the company can look back on a 175 year old history. With its staff of roughly 200 employees BELTZ has become a full-service provider in the B2B-range thanks to its experience and competence. The company offers its customers all processing steps from media design to bookbinding. 
The different business areas are divided into three divisions: BELTZ media, BELTZ books and BELTZ fine books. In theBELTZ media division, solutions along the cross-media exploitation chain for the individual path in E-publishing are developed. The second division, BELTZ books, is the core business area of the company. In a production building covering almost 10,000 m² about eight million hard and soft covers with job runs between 200 and 60,000 are produced per year. The product range includes books, magazines and catalogues with thread-stitching and all kinds of glue binding. The customer base is made up primarily of specialist publishing houses in different countries. The third column, BELTZ fine books, offers a unique selling feature: In the book manufactory, the books are produced manually with fine book covers, leather and exquisite colour edging. The scope of large and special formats being handled is also unique in Germany.

For several years already, BELTZ has relied on digital printing in a part of its book production as one of the first companies in Germany. “The requirements that have to be fulfilled nowadays is to guarantee a black and white digital print with a premium quality finishing. Because of the changing print volumes and the break-even-point of digital printing we decided to expand the production range. The first priority for us was to generate maximum profitability and on top of this to develop new business models,” explains Christian Gaidies, Managing Director of BELTZ, the necessity for the investment. Besides two cut sheet systems, a continuous digital printing system with automatic print processing supplements the digital print production since the beginning of this year. With this system, above all books with a special format with 8-page signatures are produced. Canon, Hunkeler and MB Bäuerle were the manufacturers who were able to offer this technology.

The fully automatic folding system prestigeFOLD NET 52 takes care of an efficient subsequent processing. Due to its automation from the feed section to the delivery, the folding machine is ideally suited for the operating concept of digital printing. Fully automatic folding means that the most important setting and conversion processes are no longer carried out manually. The result is a considerable reduction of set-up times and less waste. The most important standard folds are permanently programmed, all other folds are freely programmable. Repeat jobs can be saved in the memory and set up automatically when needed and fold roller setting is also computer-assisted. For the online connection for the direct transfer of the sheets from the printing system or the cutter to the fold unit, MB Bäuerle has various special alignment tables. These differ in terms of size and equipment. The largest alignment table (ART 52: corresponds to 52“) can align sheets up to a length of 132 cm and is perfect for book production. Another possibility for sheet transfer offers the double alignment table DAT 24. It has been developed for a sheet length of 24“ and can be used for dual web production with a left and right alignment rail. For this the sheets are aligned and folded side by side. The folding system BELTZ is equipped with four fold plates in the first unit and four fold plates in the cross fold unit. In addition, an extended fold plate with an infeed length of 600 mm is available. After folding, the sheets are transferred to the tandem delivery AM 52 by means of the IF 42 interface. In this extended version the capacity of the shingled delivery doubles to more than 2.1 m.

“The system delivers the performance that we need to fulfil the requirements of our customers - and at the same time guarantees a very good quality. With the new system, economical processing of the black and white production is possible“, summarizes Christian Gaidies the experiences of the last few months.

The new production line enables the integrated production from the roll to the folded final product even for low print runs.Convinced by the operating concept of the new fully automatic folding system prestigeFOLD NET 52 

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