ITEMS of interestMay 2002
Buhrs Unveils Its Newest Mailing, Fulfillment Solutions
LOHNE, GERMANY—The Buhrs Group unveiled six new developments in the field of mailroom and fulfillment solutions during a two-day open house event in March that brought more than 325 participants to its Buhrs-ITM plant here for product demonstrations and seminars.
On display at the plant were the Buhrs Intelligent Boxing System, the BB200 Envelope Inserting System, the H4 Hybrid Feeder, the Buhrs 3000 Film Wrapping System, the NeuroCheck Camera System and the System Controller.
All six systems represent the trend in the mailroom and fulfillment markets towards flexibility and modular design, reports Tony Cockerham, vice president of sales for Buhrs Americas.
"We are really seeing a lot of diversification in the market," he says. "The commercial printing market is bringing more and more mailroom and fulfillment capabilities in-house. A perfect example is the BB200 Envelope Inserting System and the Buhrs 3000 Film Wrapping System. Both systems are extremely flexible and offer a modular design, which enables the user to upgrade the system as their requirements change. The wrapping system is one example of a piece of equipment that is targeted toward the mid-range market."
Buhrs, which has been known for years as a high-end solutions provider in the fulfillment and mailroom market, believes that its current and future growth will be selling systems to mid-size printing, finishing and mailing house operations.
"We are seeing a tremendous change in the market," Cockerham adds. "The mid-range market is a real growth area for us. We are committed to taking the technology that we've developed on the high end and moving it downstream."
On display at the Lohne open house were:
The Intelligent Boxing System (IBS), which is targeted to the fulfillment market. The IBS personalizes and packs rectangular products such as books and CDs in corrugated cartons. This system is developed for high speed, high capacity, personalizing and packing of boxes that are made on the system itself. The advantages are high run capacity, automatic changeover and system setup, suitable for short production runs. The Buhrs IBS makes use of Buhrs HF4 hybrid feeders and can run completely in selective mode. The cycling speed of the system is 80 boxes per minute. It can pack CDs up to shoebox-sized products.
The BB200 Envelope Inserting System offers users mailing options for the product-size range from C6 up to C5. The maximum speed of 12,000 products per hour and the extremely short setup time from C5 to DL sizes enables users to be competitive within the mailing industry.
The Buhrs 3000 Film Wrapping System has a maximum speed of 15,000 products per hour. The system is said to be the mailroom solution for the mid-range market at all postpress facilities of print finishers and mailing houses. It is equipped with a fully servo-driven seal module for very high-quality, wrapped products.
The film wrapper requires low maintenance and is ergonomic. Servo-driven adjustments, together with job settings from the touch- screen panel, allow quick and easy setups. A new unwinder with tension control is standard, and is equipped with pneumatic shafts for faster changeover. Because of the new module, the noise level has also been reduced significantly. The Buhrs 3000 is equipped with the System Controller, which offers more functionality and better serviceability.
The Buhrs HF4 Feeder handles products from a single, thin sheet to a thickness of 80mm. Buhrs HF4 applications encompass chain drop, batch counting, selective feeding and positioning on a moving target. This modular feeder also runs on the Buhrs-ITM Envelope Inserting Systems and Buhrs-Zaandam film and paper wrapping systems. Product sizes range from a credit card to a 310mm square and thicknesses from a single sheet up to 88mm.
PowerPrinters Launches Operator Training Course
WESTMONT, IL—An advanced printing course at the MAN Roland Graphic/Training Center here has launched the North American chapter of PowerPrinters—an operator-oriented user group that is being organized to maximize the skills of pressroom professionals who run MAN Roland presses.
The week-long training initiative, which took place in March, featured press operators, press helpers and a supervisor from two printing firms—General Press Corp., in Natrona Heights, PA, and the Waxahachie, TX, division of packaging giant Rock-Tenn.
"The concept behind PowerPrinters, which has been very successful in Europe, is to take the best pressroom pros out there and make them even more proficient," notes Christian Cerfontaine, director of marketing at MAN Roland. "We do it through advanced training, special events, and by giving them opportunities to interact with and learn from each other.
"The idea is that a certified PowerPrinter will be able to make full use of all the technological advances we've built into our presses. We bring them here to immerse them in that technology."
Rock-Tenn press operators Jeff Bassinger and Charles Hutson were among the inaugural group who took the course and were certified. They currently run an older Roland 800 at the company's Waxahachie facility, but are moving up to automated advancements of a Roland 700, thanks in part to their PowerPrinter training.
"MAN Roland really developed a good format for the PowerPrinters course," Bassinger says. "The instructors were friendly and knowledgeable, providing us with a lot of useful information in a short period of time. But most importantly, they presented it all in a way that you'll remember what you learned."
Bassinger believes his new-found knowledge will provide a productivity lift to his entire Rock-Tenn crew: "We're good about sharing information and helping each other at Rock-Tenn. The guys I work with will benefit a lot from what I'll take back. I can help them solve the problems they might have. I've seen these problems caused purposely here and learned how they were solved. So now I have the answers."
New Day, New Focus
The PowerPrinters course concentrates on a different operational area on each of its five days. Classroom presentations are limited to an hour each day to maximize prepping and running time on the Graphic/Training Center's six-color Roland 700. The press is equipped with the latest technology, including a coating system and the PECOM command and control system.
"The training concentrates time to allow the operators hands-on experience on the 700 before examining the theory and details of the PECOM press console," explains Hal Stratton, director of the Graphic/Training Center. "In the end, this method helps the operator better understand the theory and take advantage of all the networked printing benefits of PECOM."
General Press, a commercial and label printer located near Pittsburgh, saw four members of its pressroom staff become certified PowerPrinters: Pressroom Supervisor Robert Sudy, Senior Press Operator Mark Woyt, and Pressroom Helpers Wayne Presseau and Scott Helgert. The company is in the process of installing a new eight-color Roland 700 with in-line coating and perfecting, and also runs a six-color Roland 300.
"We picked up a few tricks that we can use on both of our MAN Roland presses," says Sudy. "My management will also be interested in what I've learned. I can tell them from this what we can expect from the new press. I can give my press operators a baseline on what this press can do."
Good Starting Point
The pressroom supervisor indicates that his crew's PowerPrinters training is the perfect prelude to starting up a brand new press: "It's nice to know we'll be the first to run it and set the standards for this press in our shop. The PowerPrinters training gave us the confidence to do that."
Sudy is also impressed with the depth and diversity of the instruction. "They had different experts teaching different parts of the course," he says. "Plus, I got to meet all of the people I will be dealing with—the service people, the parts people and the people in charge."
General Press' Mark Woyt feels that his PowerPrinters experience "helped take the fear factor out of running a brand new press," adding that he is now prepared to "use 100 percent of the 700's capabilities.
"Now I'm ready to go for it all—less makeready time, less spoilage," Woyt declares. "I feel that whatever they designed this press to do in terms of performance is going to happen in our pressroom."
In addition to their PowerPrinters certification, all graduates of the course receive a PECOM simulator disk that they can run on their at-home and in-shop computers. "It will be very helpful," Woyt notes. "I just have to put it in my computer and I can practice what I've learned."
Press Helper Wayne Presseau sees his PowerPrinters' training as a career booster: "My PowerPrinters' certification is important on a personal level. It gives me extra confidence that I'll apply in the pressroom. There's going to be a lot of interest in what we learned when we get back to the shop. I'll be able to share my know-how."