Austria’s Helf Etiketten, part of the Bizerba Group, has seen positive outcomes after its move into offset printing with investment in an Omet X6.
The Austrian company, headquartered in Wiener Neudorf, operates in the label sector, having originally worked in publishing and flexographic printing. In 2007, the company invested in digital printing and started using HP Indigo technology. The purchase of a 530mm-wide UV flexo machine enabled the company to end the publishing business, which was no longer profitable. Helf Etiketten was acquired by Bizerba Group, a German leader in labeling and weighing technologies, in 2015, with strong growth since followed by relevant investment in equipment and facility.
This saw, in 2016, the decision to add offset with the Omet X6. While offset set is the basic technology of the machine, with five offset printing units, Helf Etiketten’s X6 features three flexo printing units.
With the installation of the Omet X6, Helf Etiketten has become the specialist in offset printing inside the Bizerba Group, a German leader in labeling and weighing technologies.
Furthermore, the press is equipped with a ‘Plug-In-Label’ system, developed by Bizerba for smart control of prices and goods labeling.
The majority of Helf Etiketten’s orders come out of Austria, with the rest from Germany and Switzerland. The purchase of a new hybrid offset/flexo technology was the result of market evaluation, as Fink explains: ‘Austria and South Germany are more oriented towards offset printing and the growth in the local market was one of our main goals. We thought that offset technology was the right choice to be more competitive. We evaluated the top-rated press suppliers. The first requisite was the width, as we work with 530mm widths both on conventional process and on digital printing. As a consequence, many suppliers were cut off from the competition; in the meanwhile one of the possible supplier went bankrupt.’
A further factor in the decision to invest in the Omet X6 was the presence of Chromos as commercial partner in the German market. ‘The offer was very persuasive thanks to performance, printing quality and automation technology, together with customer service before, during and after sales,’ comments Helf Etiketten operations director Hannes Fink.
This included Chromos organizing several press demonstration with Omet X6 operators at Omet’s headquarters in Lecco, Italy.
Helf Etiketten CEO Joachim Zeiler affirms: ‘The collaboration with Chromos was excellent. The foundations of a contract are made by technical and economic aspects. The advice and support provided by Chromos in all phases have been crucial. It was always ready to reply to questions; there were specialized staff ready at every moment and all the agreement were respected. Nowadays it’s rare to find reliable partners like Chromos.’
The majority of Helf Etiketten’s clients are from the food and retail markets, where print quality and product standardization are cited as being extremely important, especially when printing long run jobs. Zeiler adds: ‘The decision of printing with offset technology was taken also to increase the orders and we have already achieved some results in this sense.’
In terms of quality, Helf Etiketten sees offset printing mainly satisfying clients that seek sophisticated products with complex details and fine balance between colors. For it, letterpress printing couldn’t reach such results, whereas the Omet X6 is able to satisfy orders where high quality is required. At the same time, even flexo printing jobs have increased, given that they can be carried out more efficiently. A few months after the installation, the press was working in two shifts and the output was over every prediction. Currently, the machine works at an average speed of 100m/min but Fink sees further optimizations by using the Omet X6 at its maximum speed of 200m/min. Helf Etiketten expects to increase press output by moving the die-cutting process off-line. A GEW UV system has already been prepared to guarantee operations even at high speed. Low migration inks can be used at 100 percent on the press of Helf Etiketten.
Zeiler comments: ‘The introduction of the new printing process was easy thanks to the support provided by Omet and Chromos. The operators acquired self-confidence in managing the sophisticated press system very quickly.’
Fink concludes: ‘Even if offset technology was a new entry for the company, start-up was simple and fast. After less than one month from the delivery, we were ready to sell the products to the market.’