In a massive €12 million investment, Norway’s Aalgaard Offset has doubled its factory space, adding a new 5,000 square metre production extension into which it has installed its third Komori System 38S 16-page web offset press. Like the previous machines, the first of which was installed in 2003 and the second in 2009, the new four unit System 38S has a 625mm cut-off, web width of 965mm and double chopper combination folder able to deliver a multitude of different folded products. The new 16-page web also has Komori’s latest automated systems including APC Automatic Plate Changing and the self-learning KHS-AI fast makeready system with its one-step register adjustment, colour matching and folder adjustment.
Established in 1980, the €25m turnover company takes its name from the town in which is located, close to the North Sea coastal city of Stavanger and 500 kilometres from Norway’s capital Oslo. Its first Komori, a Lithrone 428, was installed in 1989 and its first Komori web, the eight-page System 20, in 1996.
Magazines contribute almost 40 percent of Aalgaard’s work with direct mail contributing a similar volume. Run lengths average around 50,000 but sometimes exceeding a million, albeit these longer runs often involving regional copy changes. These have always figured strongly on the company’s schedule and investments in each department have been tailored to meet such challenges. The memory capabilities of Komori’s KHS-AI make-ready system coupled with the System 38’s high speed plate changeover have played a significant role in enabling Aalgaard to maintain a hold on this demanding and competitive market, in which production time and waste need to be kept to the minimum.
BELIEVING IN PRINT
Three years ago, with its two earlier 16-page System 38S webs running constantly at full capacity, Aalgaard needed to examine what the web market could have in store over the long term. Founder and CEO, Tom Norland: “We run with the slogan “Print isn’t everything. It’s the only thing!” From that, you can see that we truly believe in print! The Norwegian market is still big, even with a lot of production going outside the country. With the best equipment, high automation and additional capacity, and with web reels always available from our big paper store, we knew we could hold down our production costs and attract a substantial volume of that work back to Norway.
“We knew we needed to stay with the 16-page format. Naturally, we spoke to other web press manufacturers, but we’ve always been able to rely on our two existing 16-page Komori webs to deliver consistently high quality with fast changeovers and very little waste. Training and spare parts availability is just as reliable and operator knowledge so strong it was turned out to be a simple decision to continue with what we consider to be the best 16-page press on the market. With the latest System 38S changing all eight plates within two minutes and delivering 60,000 16-page sections an hour we now have the flexibility to turnround both long and short run work even faster than before.”
Says Managing Director Paul Loyning: “The enormous reduction in Norway’s quality print capacity over the last five years has contributed to the need for print buyers in our country to buy elsewhere. Fifteen years ago, there were over ten heatset printers in the market here. Now we’re alone in this country, but certainly not across Europe and our rationale in investing in the new building and the new Komori was that they would jointly ensure that we become competitive enough to reduce the import of print into Norway and also attract work from other Scandinavian countries such as Sweden and Denmark.
“Running three compatible System 38S webs which can be run in tandem, undoubtedly gives us more scope to adjust and adapt job scheduling, making us more competitive on magazine and catalogue runs as low as 3,000 and we have all the necessary production additional facilities in-house, such as UV curing, stitching, perfect binding to complete production swiftly and efficiently. Even more so now, as we can print our own covers internally at the new Kando Print development, where we’ve recently installed the eight colour Komori Lithrone G40P perfector with the remarkable Komori H-UV curing system. With this on-site facility working on a three shifts pattern and able to feed our finishing department with instantly dry covers, we’re tightening delivery times even further.”
Kando Print is a newly formed independent company located within Aalgaard’s new extension. It is jointly owned by Tom Norland in a three-way print consortium along with Norwegian printers Gunnarshaug AS and Haugesund Bok & Offset AS and involved a further €3.5m investment. Says Tom Norland: “Our partners are well established in the sheet fed market and want to develop their businesses too, so to have the GL40’s high output production technologies, especially the H-UV curing, on call across all three companies, significantly strengthens all our offerings.”