Two Medium-format Rapidas Drive Online Print Portal
Koenig & Bauer AG
Press release date: September 18, 2013
Online print portals have sprung up like mushrooms in recent years. If we only count those backed by a real printing company, on the other hand, their number immediately shrinks to perhaps 20 in the whole of Germany. One of the smaller players in this growth market is YesPrint, a family-run business from Cologne.
The Khan family ventured into the world of online print services in 2005, and already purchased its first own printing press in 2007. The decision to take the actual printing into its own hands permitted better control of the print quality and reduced the risk of complaints and returns. The company began with a half-format press and 350 m2 of production space. The installation of a five-colour Rapida 105 with coater and dedicated board-handling accessories in spring 2010 heralded further expansion into the 3b format segment. This press is still giving good service and today prints alongside a latest-generation Rapida 106 in an eight-colour configuration for 4-over-4 perfecting, as well as a small-format press and two platen presses. In the meantime, the production halls have also grown to around 3,500 m2. Finishing is handled by three gathering machines with saddle-stitching, glue-binder, two trimmers and three folding machines – an apparently modest set-up, but one which nevertheless covers all the company's requirements.
7,000 jobs per month
The company today handles around 7,000 jobs in an average month, from business cards through to complete brochures. The individual order values vary from as little as 15 Euros up to 3,000 Euros – and occasionally even more. Paper consumption has increased to 3,000 tonnes per year. As usual in web-to-print, standard products are dispatched within 24 hours after uploading of the data. The customers are spread all over Europe. The YesPrint website is currently available in German, French and Swedish, and it is planned to add English, Spanish and Italian language versions when the new web portal goes online towards the end of the year.
High automation for maximum flexibility
Needing to handle an endless diversity of jobs in the most profitable manner possible, the Khan family began to look around for a flexible sheetfed offset press with the maximum feasible automation. Fast job changes, constant substrate changes, high substrate flexibility and maximum production speed – those were the most important criteria. The Rapida 106 was soon identified as the optimum solution: DriveTronic SPC and simultaneous washing processes form the basis for fast makeready. A sidelay-free infeed, inking unit temperature control and an automatic ink supply system are further indispensable features, supplementing inline quality control for both sides of the sheets with QualiTronic ColorControl. The network link to pre-press is realised with KBA LogoTronic.
The special function Flying JobChange is used for the printing of poster series and other suitable jobs. The specialist for production with this ultimate level of automation is the since-retired print manager Otto Reuter. He familiarised himself with the new production options in next to no time, and subsequently provided corresponding instruction for the younger printers. Even after retirement, he still comes in once a week to print a few jobs and to look after "his baby". After all, cared-for and properly maintained equipment is one of the company's trademarks – and one of the top items on the Khan family's list of priorities.
Cloud computing: Outsourced pre-press
When a customer uploads a job to the print portal, the data are first sent on an additional journey abroad: The outsourced pre-press accesses the new data via a cloud. Once the individual jobs have been combined into the formes for printing, the data are returned to the cloud and can be retrieved by YesPrint in Cologne together with the CIP3 files for plate exposure. All further processes, right through to final dispatch, are realised at the Cologne location. There are no differences to a conventional printer in this respect.
With extensive standardisation, highly automated equipment and soon also a new web shop, YesPrint is well prepared for the future. There is even space on the company premises for further expansion – and it seems certain that the online print market will continue to grow.