Book block production with Hunkeler Finishing
Michael Tuchscher from Beltz Grafische Betriebe explains what considerations were made and why they ultimately invested in a Hunkeler solution. With the Hunkeler investment, Beltz can produce book blocks that can be further processed in the company’s in-house bindery.
My name is Michael Tuchscher and I work in the management team at Beltz Grafische Betriebe. I have been here since 2017 and support the company and my colleagues in optimizing processes and workflows. I am also responsible for strategy and prepare investments for our future. We are part of the Beltz Rübelmann Holding with two integrated publishing houses near Frankfurt. We are based in Bad Langensalza, in the middle of Germany. There, where the company was also founded in 1841. It is also worth mentioning that two major distributors and four publishing houses are not far from us.
What is produced mainly?
We are a service provider for national and European publishers for the production of hard and soft covers books as well as other publishing products. We are one of the largest hardcover producers in Germany and our expertise can be found in children’s books, books for science, business and also reference books.
How did the market develop in Germany when you invested in digitization?
In the past, we produced more than 50,000 books, industrial catalogs and trade catalogs. Always in offset and always in the conventional way. In recent years, however, the requirements of our customers and publishers have changed. We now receive more orders in short runs. So it was not our wish or idea to invest in new production lines. It is a circumstance to which we are adapting our focus and processes in order to secure our success as well as our future in the long term.
What have you invested in?
In our old printing system and the previous Hunkeler solution for creating sheets and signatures in the traditional way. Our first goal was to replace the machines, not to change the production route. This was also how we approached the discussions with Hunkeler. We focused on optimized production methods and new solutions for bound book blocks directly with the printer. So we decided on the Plowfolder PF7 and the SD7-2 star wheel delivery to prepare the book blocks for perfect binding. The solution can be used inline and nearline with the HP printer. In addition, we have a second production line where we have installed the roll feeding device from Hunkeler into the “Universe Web” sewing machine from Meccanotecnica.
Is it too early to ask if the investment is a commercial success?
No. At the end of the year, we received an order from a major publisher in Germany. We are also having good discussions with other publishers in Germany. So we will soon be able to add new solutions to meet customer requirements. And that very, very soon. We are having some discussions to expand our product portfolio into the digital world, and so also improve our position against competitors who are not making investments at this time.
So the investment also opens up new opportunities for you in the market?
Yes, also. We have gained new customers in other industries and are always keeping our eyes open for customers who produce in web-to-web offset and also want to switch to digital printing.
The article and video were created by Inkish. (https://inkish.news/)