As reported last year (PPM Jul11, p26), the Printech Engineering story started in 1981 when Thomas van den Oever realised that South Africa’s wildly fluctuating currency was causing difficulties for local printers importing equipment from Europe. To answer this challenge, the entrepreneurial 26-year-old devised a novel business model, importing used Heidelberg presses, restoring them to ‘as-new’ condition, and supplying them to South African printers at affordable prices.
Thus Printech Engineering was born and was soon providing refurbished Heidelberg presses that could perform as efficiently and produce the same quality print as their brand-new counterparts – but at a fraction of the purchase price.
Tommy was joined by Graham Townsend in 1994 and the two have marched side by side ever since.
Among the several important components of their success has been a close relationship with Westland Rollers of Germany, forged back in 1994. ‘The quality and performance of these rollers is unmatched, resulting in continued growth in our share of the roller market,’ Graham explains. ‘And every one of our rebuilt presses is fitted with brand-new Westland rollers, which under correct roller settings last for three to four years, depending on production requirements,’ he adds.
Underlining this important relationship, Westland Rollers’ Pieter van Dijk attended the open house and presented Graham and Tommy with a congratulatory certificate.
Focal point of the exhibition was a reconditioned Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 105-5+LX press that was impressively churning out 18 000 sheets/hour, using Prisco’s alcohol-free fountain solution. This is only the second XL in South Africa and the big news on day one was its sale to Colourtone Press/Aries Packaging. ‘Not only did we conclude the sale of this press,’ reports a chuffed Graham Townsend, ‘but we also concluded the sale of South Africa’s third XL press to a prominent Johannesburg-based customer. This underlines the confidence of local printers in our ability to meet their requirements.’
Also being put through its paces was a brand-new Wohlenberg 132 Quick-Cut high-speed guillotine complete with flowline. Once customers witnessed its ease of operation and the fast size changes, they quickly recognised the potential for improved productivity. ‘We subsequently received an order for this complete line from Flamingo Drukkers in Welkom,’ Graham adds. ‘This is very exciting as Printech has only recently taken over the Wohlenberg agency in South Africa.’
A Hohner HSB 8000 saddle stitcher also wowed the crowds, who were amazed by its simple make-ready and constant running speed – and another sale was notched up.
Yet another display that resulted in a ‘sold’ sign was a Stahl folding machine which went to Associated Printing, while a Sigloch four-clamp PUR binder was knocked down to another keen customer.
Another participant in the open day was Robatech, exhibiting a spine-gluing system for book binding, fitted to the Sigloch machine.
Also on show were new Speed-Star heads which Robatech’s Dominique Schlenk describes as ‘the world’s fasted hotmelt applicator heads’. Offering high repeatability and durability, these electro-mechanically driven heads set new benchmarks in the application of hotmelts. Extremely short switching cycles paired with high wear resistance allow numerous applications in processes where small and precise dots of adhesive are required.
Among Printech’s impressive list of overseas agencies is Tech-ni-Fold, a British company that supplies innovative finishing systems, regarded as a global leader in rotary creasing technology. Present from the UK was Techn-ni-Fold’s Graham Harris, inventor of these superb creasing systems.
Included in the range is the manually-fed table-top CreaseStreamJunior that operates at 4 000 sheets/hour and its big brother the CreaseStreamPlus that turns out an impressive 18 000 sheets/hour. For trouble-free folding, Tech-ni-Fold’s latest Tri-Creaser technology gently manipulates, stretches and prepares the area of stock that’s prone to cracking.
‘This demonstration caused great interest and we’re confident of gaining many sales as a result of the open house,’ Graham reports.
Antalis personnel worked closely with Printech over the three-day event, exhibiting Kodak’s Prinergy Workflow to show how a fully-integrated workflow system allows automation of previously manual steps and achieves control over the entire print process. They also demonstrated the Kodak Matchprint Virtual proofing system and Kodak Processless (chemical-free) printing plates.
Printech, a distributor for Konica Minolta also showed off the award-winning bizhub Press C8000, a toner-based high-chroma digital press.
And, as is usual with Printech events, the business of the day was rounded out by a traditional braaivleis!