Lower costs for silicone and greater sustainability at B&K Offsetdruck

Blog: Expect the Unexpected
22 October 2018
Blog: Expect the Unexpected
22 October 2018

In order to consistently impress its customers with new services and unusual products, and increase loyalty, B&K Offsetdruck in Ottersweier is continually investing. A bold decision to fit the latest Koenig & Bauer C16 printing press with a new silicone applicator from Contiweb immediately upon purchase is now being rewarded with various tangible benefits.

B&K Offsetdruck GmbH does not stand still. The modern, internationally-successful family company, founded in 1969 and based in Ottersweier, is a high-performing printing plant in the fields of sheet offset, web offset and digital printing. Thanks to continuous innovation and investment, up to 80 million A4 pages can be printed or five million 16-page brochures can be assembled daily by the company that now has over 220 employees. In addition, there are up to 6.5 million-fold-lines and up to 1.5 million saddle stiches performed each day.

Hans Geideck, the Technical Manager, describes the company’s principles as follows: “The demand for unusual, sophisticated customer solutions, which have an immediate appeal, is constantly increasing. Our unique techniques and our focus on special features – whether it’s through specialized inks or varnishing effects, or striking paper mechanics, such as pop-ups, sliders or flaps – distinguish us from the competition. Our customers trust our know-how, our reliability and quality. We stand out because we can print particularly specialized products, particularly for the advertising industry, very quickly.”

Naturally, at B&K the focus is also always on the greatest possible profitability and efficiency to ensure healthy growth. “The market situation remains strained,” comments Geideck. “Printing plants are confronted with severe price and deadline pressure, overcapacity, cutthroat competition and falling demand every day. The prospect of making savings and achieving good ROI are therefore extremely important to us.”

Considerable cost benefits for web offset printing plants

In addition to other printing presses, B&K now already operates three 16-page jobbing rotary machines, a Compacta C 217 and two C16 printing presses. The most complicated fold lines and UV varnishing are carried out on these machines and up to 700,000 covers are produced every hour. The latest highly automated C16 was equipped with a large number of new features and a conventional silicone solution when it was purchased in 2016. At the same time Contiweb brought cutting-edge silicone technology onto the market. The new CFA technology (Contiweb Fluid Applicator) offers considerable cost benefits for web offset printing plants, even with narrow web printing presses.

The system individually controls the oil and water content for the upper and lower side of the paper web. By applying silicone oil and water, not only is the paper web re-moisturised, but the surface of the cooling rollers is prevented from absorbing the printing ink. Silicone is necessary to protect the web from mechanical wear and tear and to guide it more easily through the folding device.

“Until now the use of ready-mixed silicone-water products was usual,” says Geideck. “While conventional systems use a silicone mixture of 30% silicone and 70% water, the CFA technology uses pure silicone oil, through which the consumption of silicone oil is substantially reduced. After just a few months we were aware of considerable economies, and now we have recorded a saving of over 50%!”

The drops of oil in the CFA mixture are extremely large compared with those in the usual silicone emulsions. The oil is therefore not absorbed by the paper, but remains on the surface and provides much greater protection. As a result, the consumption of silicone is reduced by half.

Ecological advantages

As well as the clear financial benefits, Geideck also points to the ecological advantages of the CFA system: “Thanks to the CFA technology, approximately 85% fewer containers are now transported annually, which means less weight on the lorry and therefore lower fuel consumption during transportation. The warehouse is also under less strain and there is more space in the factory because less emulsion is being used. According to our calculations, this investment will pay for itself in two years. This is extremely important for our company.

“Altogether this makes a very attractive solution and it has simplified a lot of things for us. Another factor was that the silicone market collapsed at the time of the investment. Since then the price of silicone has been rising continuously. Had we decided against this investment, things would really have become pretty grim for us.

“As we were rewarded with these tangible benefits, we quickly decided to fit our two other KBA 16-page presses with the CFA technology from Contiweb. The upgrade will take place in the autumn of 2018.”

„With Contiweb we were really in the best hands“

The fact that, like most new investments, some time would be needed to adapt at the beginning was clear to Geideck. “Of course, we had to learn how to use the CFA system correctly so that we could really achieve optimal results. With Contiweb we were really in the best hands. The company supported us very professionally and provided us with a member of staff for a long time. Contiweb really supported us until we were completely confident in how to handle the new application and were therefore able to use it optimally.”

According to Contiweb, the use of pure silicone oil in a mixture in line with requirements is extremely advantageous for the performance and long-term condition of the Contiweb fluid applicators and the folding device: the applicator and the control and drive rollers are lubricated better so that there is less contamination and the components have a longer lifespan.

“Another advantage of the CFA solution is that the quantity of silicone can be saved related to the order and a maximum quantity can be specified, which the printer cannot exceed without a password”, explains Geideck. “Furthermore, all the procedures can be saved and called up at any time. This means that Contiweb is always in a position to provide assistance and can even proactively identify excessive silicone consumption,” he adds.

In the meantime, the CFA system has successfully proved itself at many European printing plants. You can find further information about the Contiweb Fluid Applicator here.