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 | Bagel Roto-Offset, Meineweh , Germany  | 07 August 2017

Bagel Roto-Offset – “Top technology is indispensable for making profit”

German printer Bagel Roto-Offset recently installed its second Avalon N48. The company is one out of four printing sites of TSB (Tiefdruck Schwann Bagel), which is in its turn one of the biggest publisher-independent printers in Europe. Printing catalogs and magazines with web offset and gravure technology, in million copies, is the main activity of TSB.

Bagel Roto-Offset near Leipzig has a 96-page web offset press from Manroland for the printing of inserts and supplements. An important preliminary task for the installation was the up-scaling of the entire VVLF (Very Very Large Format) prepress workflow. A new Agfa Graphics CTP engine and the latest upgrade of the Apogee Prepress Workflow are the key components of this fully automated, high run length print production configuration.

Markus Permesang, CEO at Bagel Roto-Offset, reflects: “Over the past 10 years we invested a great deal of time and money in new technology”. As an experienced Offset press operator, he started his career at the headquarters of TSB in Mönchengladbach. In 1993 the company expanded its web offset capacity by building the Bagel Roto-Offset site nearby Leipzig. Markus Permesang, first employed as a Technical Manager and later becoming CEO at the printing site at Unterkaka, took great care of introducing modern print technology, supported by Prepress manager, Jörn Knabe.

“A high degree of reliability is very important for our daily operations”

Markus Permesang

CEO Bagel Roto-Offset

This site, with its 104 employees, is specifically designed as a print production and finishing facility. Distribution, customer service and most of the administration are centralized at the office in Mönchengladbach.

“Bagel Roto-Offset collects the print-ready PDF files and delivers imposition flats to prepare for automated plate making and web offset printing”, explains Markus Permesang. We print non-stop, using two 48 page web presses (manufactured in 2001) and one 80 page web press (manufactured in 2008). The new 96 page press was ordered in 2010 to extend our present print production capacity. “What counts most is the modern technology and automation”, says Permesang who continues: “Top technology is indispensable for making profit. In perspective of the new investment we have eliminated two older 32 page presses. The new 96 page press offers a clear improvement in productivity and a much faster reaction time to respond to customer requirements. The production opportunity window for print jobs is getting smaller but at the same time, thanks to the technology, we are becoming faster in respect of response time and  print production speed. Especially the demand for inserts and supplements is booming and that’s what we intend to optimize with the new printing press at Bagel Roto-Offset.

Plate production: an important topic

In order to consolidate our printing objectives, it is first of all crucial to ensure a consistent prepress plate production workflow. Long before printing the first sheets of paper on the new VVLF web offset press, we first needed to find an adequate workflow solution for the imaging and handling of very large plates. Markus Permesang, who relies on a great deal of experience based on an 80-page plate size, nevertheless had to deal with quite a few challenges: “dealing with a plate size of 2.870 x 1.246 mm is by no means a piece of cake!”

“The list of potential VVLF CTP engine suppliers is quite limited and adding our request for a fully automated CTP solution, really simplified the selection procedure”, says Jörn Knabe.

Besides efficient plate handling and workflow automation, we value a high level of controllability. Directed by those important decision criteria we finally favored the complete system solution from Agfa Graphics. “The teamwork with Agfa Graphics has always been outstanding”, according to Markus Permesang. “Quite some time and effort was spent on an in-depth analysis of our plate production needs, resulting in a perfectly customized CTP solution. Early this year we initiated the switch from the presently used Kodak workflow to Agfa Graphics :Apogee Workflow. Markus Permesang was very positive about this conversion: “The steady flow of gigabytes of CTP data is of crucial importance. From data input and proofing up to plate exposure, vast amounts of digital data travel forth and back. The degree of workflow automation together with the data processing speed have had the biggest impact.”

Very large indeed: Markus Permesang, Jörn Knabe and Agfa Graphics representative Ilona Lazar with an imaged P970 printing plate.

XXL sized plate line

The new plate line was planned to go into a new, widely spaced factory hall. The complete configuration consists of an :Avalon N48 plate imager with automated plate loader, a plate processor, two consecutive baking ovens (required to achieve uniform and consistent baking), a gumming station, a plate buffer and finally a plate bending unit, specifically developed for the new Manroland 96 page Lithoman S.

In order to get this fully automated line operational, one last problem remained to be solved: the intermediate plate storage between the gumming and the bending unit. Our objective was to also automate this step in the workflow and find a solution to bring the plates into the bending unit. Again we got help from Agfa Graphics who involved Grafoteam into the project. Grafoteam specializes in designing and building customized plate conveyor solutions. According to Markus Permesang, this resulted in highly efficient team work between Agfa Graphics, Manroland, Grafoteam and Bagel Roto-Offset, which is indispensible if a workable solution is to be achieved. The intermediate plate storage consists of nine drawers that hold nine finished plates. As soon as each drawer contains a plate, an e-mail triggers the prepress operator to start the plate bending unit by pushing a button. He then hangs the press-ready plates onto a transport wagon and brings them over into the press room. The Lithoman S clamping system allows plate mounting to be done by just one person.

The digital workflow: The heart of the automated plate production configuration

Today any kind of industrial activity fully relies on digital data management and flexible production capacity. The Agfa Graphics Apogee workflow solution at Bagel Roto-Offset is perfectly integrated and offers some very useful functionalities.

Jörn Knabe is proud to tell that several editions can be printed simultanuously, including various language versions.

Also quite interesting is the Apogee Prepress Web Growth. This software tool accounts for web distortion and calculates the required fanout effect to compensate for it.

The digital quick strip (DQS) module, which is a unique option within Apogee, allows to calculate separate flats and replace them into the imposition layout.

The switching of one separate page, being a part of the calculated imposition bitmap, again becomes efficient. With DQS, only the page related data have to be recalculated. This can save a lot of time when urgent page corrections are needed.

The digital Bagel Roto-Offset workflow is 100% secured on a VMWare virtual server environment. Agfa Graphics has supported VMWare solutions for more than three years and always impressed us with a steady flow of software improvements and developments.

Avalon N VLF (16 to 48-up)

Avalon N VLF (16 to 48-up)

The Avalon N range of thermal VLF (Very Large Format) computer-to-plate engines are star performers in quality- and efficiency-driven plate production. They will handle any plate size from 16 to 48-up.


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