And, while the name Wohlenberg is probably most freely associated with guillotines, the line-up also includes finishing equipment such as the Quickbinder perfect binder – an example of which is now to be seen at RSA Litho.
Building on an already sound track record, established since the company’s inception in 1966, Ryno Kotze bought the company in 2006 and invited fellow printing entrepreneur Nigel Schuller to join him as a shareholder. Their vision was to propel RSA Litho (next year celebrating its 50th anniversary) into an even more dynamic future, with a total commitment to customers and exceptional service delivery.
Clearly they are fulfilling their vision. Back in 2006, the new owners inherited 23 employees; today they have 120 staff members on their books. Even more telling perhaps is the exceptional six-fold rise in turnover during the same period; and testament to this sales success is the fact that the operation has expanded in every direction to take over every adjacent building!
By industry standards, RSA Litho counts among Cape Town’s mid-sized printing enterprises, but, according to Ryno, by delivery standards it’s huge.
This he asserts is because the company has a firm policy of only buying brand-new equipment and only buying the best. Thus, raising the bar in sheetfed printing, the operation boasts two Roland 500 presses – a four- and a five-colour installed in 2008 and 2011 respectively, one of which, Ryno notes, was ‘the first of its kind to be commissioned in South Africa’.
‘Thanks to our close partnership with manroland, we have machines that are appropriate for our needs and space requirement, providing us with great flexibility and efficiency in production and services,’ Ryno comments.
With such top-level printing technology on board, it was time to look for a perfect binder to suit RSA’s particular niche market and the Wohlenberg flawlessly fits the bill. ‘It’s a high-quality German machine,’ Ryno explains, ‘and exactly the right size for our needs – not too big and not too small.’
With the Quickbinder, Wohlenberg has produced a new generation of perfect binders to suit expanding smaller business such as RSA Litho, wishing to include high-quality perfect binding among its services. But despite its small size – it’s 3.7m long and 1.4m wide – the Quickbinder combines all the features of larger binders. While the Quickbinder range supports all gluing methods, the new machine at RSA is dedicated to PUR binding and works at a spanking 2 000 cycles/hour.
A further outstanding feature is motorised control of all functions for setting block thickness and cover format. This combination of motorised movement and a new interactive control system called Navigator means the Quickbinder is easy to operate and economical to run. Excellent binding quality is achieved thanks to a high-quality spine preparation station with a newly-developed multi-tooth head and a dust extraction system.
With a format range of A3 to A6 and a maximum block thickness of 70mm, the Quickbinder can be used for almost any job. And that ideally suits Ryno’s business model. ‘With the latest and best German technology in place, any print job is possible at RSA Litho,’ he insists. ‘Our philosophy is to keep abreast of the latest technology, to buy new equipment, to minimise outsourcing and to maintain excellent service levels. Meeting today’s challenges for shorter runs, our plant is now geared to producing smaller quantities more often; and not only can we print anything, we do it in record time.’
Also high on Ryno’s priority list is the synergy enjoyed between RSA Litho and OEMs. ‘With suppliers such as manroland Sheetfed and Printech Engineering, we work together as a team,’ Ryno explains. ‘This is highly beneficial for our business.’
As one example, RSA Litho’s operatives travelled to Germany with Printech’s engineers to be trained at Wohlenberg on the new Quickbinder, resulting in a strong bond and team spirit across both companies at a technical level.
‘What sets us apart is not just our drive to have the most current technology, it’s also the fact that we love our machines, and love being in the world of print,’ Ryno sums up. ‘For us, this is more than simply making a living. It’s a passion.’
[Ed’s note: Watch for RSA Litho’s full story when the company celebrates its first half century in April 2016.]