A printing machine, the size of a two-storey house, with the power, endurance and speed of a racecar – who can imagine it? Experiencing how the burins prick the copper 7500 times per second, how seemingly endless webs of paper race through the inking units at 50 km/h, and how the drum binding unit binds 20,000 to 30,000 copies of the new issue of "AUTO MOTOR UND SPORT" magazine per hour, made a deep impression on Patric Otto. Even though fast and powerful racecars are part of the everyday routine of his apprenticeship in digital and print media design in the editorial department of Motor Presse in Stuttgart, it was another thing to experience it up-close and personal...
On the right track from the beginning and enjoying a longstanding friendly cooperation with partner, Dirk Schmidt, customer manager at Prinovis, "AUTO MOTOR UND SPORT" had the idea to let magazine employees learn about the printing process first-hand. Jens Müller, head of manufacturing at Motor Presse Stuttgart, and his “co-pilot”, Michael Wander, took the initiative to send several employees to the printing works where the magazine is made. Patric Otto became the first to observe the path taken by the pages he designs, from the digital layout onto paper, all the way through to the finished product.
What do we value the most? The high expertise and goal-oriented approach of our customer manager, and our direct point of contact in the production department at Prinovis.
A forward-thinking organization
At Prinovis, Dirk Schmidt then gladly took the helm to make the flying visit as interesting and varied as possible for his loyal customers youngster: Capacities were optimally planned to be able to provide a detailed description of the printing process at all the major stations, and answer any questions with the utmost expertise. Although visitor groups are often given live demonstrations of the printing process at Prinovis, this exclusive tour was to be a very special experience for the Motor Presse guests. The pole position in the program was occupied by highlights like a full paper reel change, and direct tracking of engraving burins during their high-speed operations.
When you are passionate about your work, you naturally also want to show how smoothly the technical processes are orchestrated. Particularly when the audience is a customer you are working hand-in-hand with to find the best solutions.
From 0 to 100 in terms of information
Patric Otto arrived at the Prinovis site in Ahrensburg with a whole lot of theoretical knowledge under his belt, gained while shadowing at the in-house production facility at Motor Presse. His excitement to finally see the process in action was only briefly interrupted by a warm welcome and entertaining anecdotes about the printing industry. Already, it was time for the first pit stop: preparing the printing cylinders. Here the gleaming copper base cylinders are first given a separating protein layer, then a fresh Ballard skin in an electrolyte bath, followed by a final polish before engraving begins. The sheer quantity alone – approx. 3,000 cylinders are waiting on the shelves to be used – was overwhelming for the apprentice.
I felt like a celebrity – everyone was so friendly and welcoming – no question remained unanswered. But once you get to the three-storey production area, you feel dwarfed – like a Mini next to a heavy-duty truck.
When the diamond burins are moving and the gravure printing cells pierce the copper, the eye can barely keep up. This not only regularly impresses visitors to the machine hall, but even Customer Manager Dirk Schmidt remains fascinated by the high frequency of 7.5 kHz. Patric Otto, who often deals with matters of high speed, is also amazed by the precision: Already during the engraving process, the result is inspected by camera to ensure a consistently high print quality. A protective chrome layer perfects the cylinders before they are automatically taken inside the printing mechanism by a monorail transport system.
Saturated with color for unparalleled brilliance
While the ink is applied to the paper at 50 meters per second, the aspiring media designer could witness what his colleagues in manufacturing value most: the high color saturation, and the resulting brilliant image quality. These benefits can be attributed to two advantages over the offset procedure: First of all, there are hardly any issues with trapping in gravure printing, and secondly, it is very rare for the paper to become warped when printing on low-grammage paper. However, as fascinating as these insights are, you should not linger too long on the observation platform over the machine. That’s because the solvents from the four printing inks start to affect your senses after a while – it feels like driving through fog...
You notice that all employees at Prinovis are completely focused on the product. This guarantees a smooth production process that stays on schedule, issue after issue and year after year.
On average 5–8 magazines per second
When it came to cutting the long paper webs into smaller webs and then printed sheets, using sophisticated, interlaced systems, Patric Otto was fascinated: It was not only the intelligent technology, but also the know-how and passion of the employees working the machines that made a lasting impression on him. After countless cutting, folding and sorting processes, the individual sheets finally take the shape of the new "AUTO MOTOR UND SPORT" issue. Which this is then neatly bound, accompanied by all the special features, and wrapped on pallets, ready for delivery. By now, the fascination for the entire operation had fully set in.
No wonder that here at Motor Presse, we find a solution to every problem together with the staff at Prinovis – they live for their work!