The 'NEW MBO America'—What Does It Mean?
The words "buckle folder" and MBO America fit together like a horse and carriage as the song goes. The venerable German firm has been manufacturing world-class folding systems for the bindery since the 1960s. But as the world of print tilts more and more towards digital, MBO and MBO America have had to seriously rethink their game plan.
This involved a complete strategic "re-think" of their core business. MBO America had to address many issues. The trend towards very short runs, the lack of experienced bindery operators, the need to enter the digital finishing market, the need to enter the packaging market and more. A lot of items were on their plate, but they came through. Here's how they did it:
20” and 30” Web Finishing: MBO's well-deserved reputation for build quality carried through into the digital line. MBO decided to approach the digital segment in two ways.
The first was flexibility. MBO offers digital web finishing modules for 20” and 30” web finishing. Because of its modular approach, MBO is able to offer a nearly infinite number of combinations to meet a customer’s specific requirements—making it a serious new player in this segment. This modularity gives customers the freedom to purchase new modules as their business expands into new markets.
Leveraging this flexible approach, they partnered with the established printer vendor "heavies" who are selling continuous inkjet printers. MBO America has done a pretty good job of this so far. Their combined unwind-cut-fold systems offer both high operating speed and numerous job formats. An "MBO-only" feature is Selective Folding Technology, which gives customers the ability to produce for different length printed signatures.
This means the system can produce "book blocks of one" with minimal blank pages, and it eliminates the need for roll changes between different signature types.
Packaging: The packaging segment continues to grow, and MBO America wanted a piece of it. So they partnered with Swiss manufacturer Bograma to introduce their new BSR 550 Servo magnetic diecutting system. This machine is ideal for short-to-medium runs. Using a new magnetic die system and the ability to register the die to the image, this unit has quickly become a bestseller in the digital print segment.
Modularity: Because of shorter finishing runs and the need to finish a wider range of products, MBO America revamped some of its core folding lines and introduced the M80. The M80 allows the user to start production with a "base" configuration and add additional folding, feeding, or sheeting units (for different finishing formats) at a later date. The M80 is currently the only folding system on the market with this capability.
Like all of the traditional finishing systems manufacturers, MBO and MBO America are confronted with a print market that is radically different from the past and undergoes production "shifts" at a much faster rate. The key to success then hinges on how well a manufacturer understands and adapts to these new market realities. In MBO America's case, they've gone back to school and come out with a whole new toolkit that better fits today's market.