Used and new technology combined in a creative way
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Used and new technology combined in a creative way


At its architecturally impressive printing centre in Büdelsdorf the Schleswig-Holsteinischer Zeitungsverlag, which is part of the NOZ mh:n group, produces daily and weekly newspapers for northern Germany. With the portfolio increasingly moving in the direction of weekly newspapers, including a number of inserts, the mailroom was adapted in line with the new requirements. Working mainly with used modules, SHZ employees, with the support of Ferag, assembled a complete new inserting line.

Since the printing centre was commissioned in Büdelsdorf in 2001 it has been processing printed products on Ferag mailroom lines. For many years, the company relied on a highly flexible online production concept: with three matrix switches it was possible to combine each folder delivery with each processing line – a perfect set-up for a printing programme that was at that time dominated by daily newspapers.

But the Büdelsdorf location is still quite busy today. As one of four printing plants in the NOZ mh:n group, one of Germany’s major regional newspaper groups, it prints around 150,000 daily newspapers every day. These include 14 different titles, with a correspondingly large number of set-up and changeover processes. There are two double-width and one triple-width rotogravures for printing. The company’s 76 employees process around 11,500 tons of paper each year.

The requirements have changed considerably

Although there was a significant focus on flexible overnight newspaper production, the insert business was less important at the beginning. The equipment of the three Ferag lines for a main product and up to seven or ten inserts was sufficient. Things were completely different two decades later, though. Büdelsdorf now adds around 550 million inserts each year. High-circulation free sheets are now utilizing a significant portion of the company’s capacity. An inserting line at the SHZ printing centre was retrofitted in 2007 with a MultiSert inserting drum and a RollStream collating line for up to 20 inserts. Production is now carried out largely offline with the help of a number of Ferag winding and unwinding stations.

The printing plant in Germany’s far north is among those companies actively working to consolidate print production in Germany, integrating ever more orders from other locations. Over the course of many years, therefore, the team led by Thomas Meyer, the head of the SHZ printing centre, has acted with foresight and snapped up well-maintained Ferag technology when other companies in Germany were closed down. This proved to be helpful in the past when processing lines had to be adapted in line with changes to production.

In addition to two MSD drums that were once located in Wuppertal, RollStream technology, JetFeeders and MultiStack compensating stackers have been added from various operations in Meckenheim, Essen and Bielefeld. The company’s own team has gained substantial expertise over the years and was quickly able – with the support of Ferag and Ferag Deutschland – to assess the state of the mailroom technology correctly, disassemble the modules properly and swap them in.

A new inserting line was necessary because of new orders

Since 1 November 2021, the printing jobs that have been moved to Büdelsdorf include the previous titles and third-party orders for Boyens Verlag, which shut down its own printing capacities in Heide. This included a free sheet with a circulation of about 220,000 copies that often had as many as 24 inserts. And because there were already similar existing orders that needed to be processed at the same time in Büdelsdorf on Thursdays and Fridays there was an urgent need for another mailroom line.

This line was put together in summer 2021, mainly with used modules. Some of these modules had already been purchased, while others were acquired from the available offerings on the market. Supplemented with a brand-new RollStream unit and several new JetFeeders that were also delivered by Ferag, a second MSD/RollStream line with 20 feeders was assembled in Büdelsdorf – similar to the one in use since 2007. Based on a Ferag AG engineering concept and with the help of the retrofitting services provided by Ferag Deutschland GmbH, it was assembled with significant support from SHZ employees and then put into operation by Ferag Deutschland.

Thomas Meyer: “After less than four months the line was connected and everything was working. Never in our wildest dreams did we think this was possible.” The collaboration with Ferag AG and Ferag Deutschland was excellent he said, adding: “We knew things could be tricky because the individual modules came from completely different places. But everything worked as well as a brand-new machine,” says Meyer, noting that he and his team are very satisfied with the new mailroom line.