Late in April, Zumbiel Packaging installed an advanced 56-inch ROLAND 907-6 press with an aqueous anilox coater at its expanded Consumer Packaging Division facility in Hebron, KY. Within weeks the Zumbiel team was consistently running this unique press at its rated capacity of 15,000 sheets per hour.
"That is thousands of sheet per hour faster than any press we have operated in the past. We are ecstatic," said Joe Yock, Vice President and Chief of Operations for Zumbiel. "We have not been going down to the press to coax speeds back up. We have all visited facilities where presses are not always running at speed. In this case visitors walk in and there it is in front of them. Nobody is pushing it, it's just there."
Zumbiel Packaging is the nation’s largest independent package printer. The new manroland press was installed in an 180,000 sq. ft. addition to the Hebron facility which supports the company’s rapidly growing Consumer Packaging Division.
The 7 unit, size 6 ROLAND 900 large format sheetfed press is the first of its kind in the world. It incorporates more than 300 engineering changes from previous models in the line. Its ability to operate continuously at high speeds is made possible by extensive pre- post- and on-press automation including a massive pallet-based high-speed feeder and load changer capable of delivering full loads of material to the press every 12 minutes to keep pace with the units breakneck throughput.
Purchasing the press was not a casual decision. The selection process, which lasted more than a year, involved teams of stakeholders that included not only top management and supervisors but also operators and maintenance staff. They traveled to competitive installations on the east and west coast as well the Midwest. Even though Zumbiel had no previous experience with manroland, they chose the ROLAND 907 press because it presented an opportunity for significant increases in productivity.
Yock said, “There were many things to consider. Clearly obtaining the highest level of print quality was our first priority. The second was being able to achieve and sustain a world-class level of productivity. We looked at everything from sustainability of color to avoidance of scumming and other print defects. The press also had to be user-friendly so that our crews would be able to understand and move ahead with it rapidly.”
“We involved our crews in the decision-making process from the very beginning because we wanted to have buy-in from the bottom up for selecting such a different technology. We wanted to get our operators acclimated to the fact that this was going to run at far higher speeds than they had been used to. That sudden realization can be a rude awakening for many organizations. All of a sudden you have dumbfounded crews saying 'We're supposed to do what?' However they were already prepared for this."
Zumbiel also took a team of eight to Germany for the commissioning test at the manroland factory late in 2010. This allowed the teams from manroland and Zumbiel to develop strong ties that were quickly renewed when the installation process began during the following year. Yock said that the press ran to Zumbiel satisfaction during commissioning but not to manroland's. At manroland’s insistence additional design changes were implemented so that performance of the press would be even better when it arrived in Hebron.
“I believe our associates see this investment as a reaffirmation of management’s commitment to the organization for the long run. Our crews are excited to see it on the floor and to experience its capability and performance. Those things have created a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and commitment on their part. So they are working hard to take full advantage of the technology and make sure it pays off.
Yock concluded, "The support we have received from everybody in the manroland organization has been outstanding. The press has done everything that we wanted it to do–with phenomenal reliability and quality. And we're loving it."