MBO Open House Is Memorable
by Chris Bauer
PORTO, PORTUGAL—More than 500 MBO equipment users assembled here recently, including a contingent of American customers, for an open house and tour of the company's production facilities. Upon arrival in this sleepy, old-European city of 300,000, the attendees were whisked off on a trip they are sure to remember.
A tour of the MBO facility was at the top of the to-do list for the American visitors. The U.S. contingent was represented by members of the following companies: A.J. Images, NJ; A-Plus Printing & Graphics, FL; Overnight Bindery, OH; Premier Press, OR; and Shapco Printing, MN. A trio of Massachusetts-based companies were also in attendance—Area Trade Bindery, George H. Dean & Co. and Millennium Graphics.
Led by MBO America's Bernie Gruber, the group was given a behind-the-scenes look at how MBO's finishing equipment is produced. Probably the most surprising point was hit home early in the tour—everything, down to the smallest part on MBO equipment, is made at the neighboring parts-only plant, recently increased to 150,000 square feet.
Known internally as the "Tiffany's of Portugal" due to its expensive and extensive array of automated tools, this plant produces all of the parts for the MBO machines before they go across the driveway for assembly. Each part is then checked three times for size and quality. MBO's impressive, highly automated operation boasts a series of CNC, lathe, grinding and milling machines, as well as sheet metal systems with laser technology.
Extensive zinc plating is done here to protect electronic components and nickel-coating surface treatments are used to guard against corrosion and equipment wear. This is also where the equipment is painted its distinctive MBO-blue.
Next door stands the main MBO building, where the machines are assembled. Offices and a demo center are also housed here. Visitors watched as some of the 350 MBO Portugal employees assembled a variety of finishing equipment. They then saw the machines in action. This is where some customers got their first look at the MBO Perfection with the new Navigator-controlled folding systems, a highly automated and computerized machine with a Datamanager and CIP 3/4 compatibility, demonstrated by Hans Max, president and CEO of MBO America.
Attention to strict quality control is evident in both facilities, where component tolerances are continually checked and machines are monitored during each stage of production. The attendees also had time to see and learn about other MBO products, including the MBO/Herzog & Heymann (H&H) mailing system, H&H map folding system and H&H bookletmaker.
MBO set up a tour of the city of Porto, including visits to São Francisco Church and Casa do Despacho, a 14th century gothic-style church; and Ferdinand Wall, built to protect the city from invasions in the 1300s. A train ride to wine country, including visits to several vineyards to experience the production of Port wine, gave the group a true taste of Portugal to take back with them to the states.