Posts tagged: Manufacturing

Web Offset Consolidation – manroland Web Systems and Goss to Merge

Ralf Schlozer
 Mar 5, 2018

A few years ago, the prospect of two major offset press manufacturers merging would have easily dominated the headlines. And there was never a great number of preeminent manufacturers of web offset commercial printing and newspaper presses. Together with KBA, Goss and manroland Web Systems were among the big three, complemented by a handful of much smaller, more specialized manufacturers mainly in Japan and India. A few other manufacturers left the market recently such as Swiss newspaper press manufacturer Wifag.

Goss and manroland have a long history of press manufacturing but had a mixed past since the first big slump in web offset press demand following the year 2000. manroland started the millennium as a subsidy of the German heavy industry conglomerate MAN, then became an independent company in 2006, and went bust in 2007. Following the insolvency, manroland was split into a sheet-fed and a web-fed group, the latter being acquired by the German manufacturing holding Possehl Group. The recent history of Goss is even more protracted. After being spun off from Rockwell in 1996, Goss filed for chapter 11 in 1999, and again in 2001, blaming the downturn in press demand. A group of banks as creditors sold the business to MatlinPatterson Global Opportunities Partners. At that time Heidelberger Druckmaschinen had its ambitions set on entering the web offset business and invested heavily. Soon after Heidelberg did shed all low margin businesses to dress books before going public and Goss did pick up the web press activities in 2004. This doubled the global headcount at Goss to about 4,000. In 2010 the Shanghai Electric Group acquired Goss, adding it to its range of (sheet-fed) offset press and finishing equipment manufacturing brands. In 2015 the private equity firm American Industrial Partners acquired Goss. All the while both companies shed thousands of jobs compared to its heydays in the early 2000s

Under the terms of the proposed deal Goss and manroland Web Systems will combine their businesses. Details are still being negotiated, and everything depends on regulatory approval. The main site of manroland Web is Augsburg in Southern Germany. The main site of Goss is located in Durham, New Hampshire. Both have sales and service organisations as well small parts/components manufacturing locations across the globe. The current shareholders, American Industrial Partners and the Possehl Group, will continue to co-own the combined company. The Possehl Group will hold the majority and the combined operation will be headquartered in Germany. Subject to regulatory approval, the merger is expected to be completed by the middle of 2018. For the time being both companies will continue to operate independently.

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Happy Birthday KBA (now rebranded to Koenig & Bauer)

Ralf Schlozer
 Sep 27, 2017

The oldest press manufacturer celebrated its 200th anniversary on the 21st of September 2017 at the founding site in Würzburg, Germany.

In November 1814, the first newspaper was printed utilising machine power, using a steam-powered press invented by Friedrich Koenig for The London Times. Not willing to grant exclusivity rights for the printing press to The Times, Koenig relocated to Germany and found a new factory site in a disused monastery in the Bavarian town of Würzburg. In 1817 the company was finally founded by Koenig, as the world’s first printing press factory. To this day the company is partially family owned and is headed by Claus Bolza-Schünemann. He assumed a leadership role in the company in 1989, as the sixth generation of the family to lead the company.

In contrast to the other major German offset press manufacturers, Koenig & Bauer stayed profitable in most years since 2000. Through organic growth and acquisitions a revenue high of around €1.7 billion was reached in 2006 and 2007. In the aftermath of the financial crisis and within two years revenues dropped by 40% and hovered just above the €1 billion mark since, with a slight upward trend recently. More consequently than other press manufacturers, Koenig & Bauer exited unprofitable markets and focussed on new areas. For example, the once leading web offset press business has been scaled down a lot as demand and prices (and profits) plummeted. Koenig & Bauer is also active in many niches that larger offset press companies were not able to address profitably. This includes presses for currency printing (almost all are Koenig & Bauer built), presses for metal print, glass and container print as well as the largest format sheet-fed offset presses.

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Highcon Ramps Up: Lots to Show at drupa 2016

Bob Leahey
 Mar 23, 2016

Highcon, the digital finishing system supplier, recently held a three day event at its headquarters in Israel to show technology developments that it will soon unveil at drupa 2016 in Germany. The short version of our report on this “pre-drupa” gathering:

  • Since its debut at drupa 2012, Highcon has placed 25 of its “Euclid”  and “Euclid II” devices globally
  • In 2016 it will add a new portfolio of digital cutting and creasing systems and related tools, the Highcon Beam, Highcon Euclid III and the Highcon Pulse.
  • These products will give carton converters and other printers new access to Highcon’s unique finishing, and also to two applications new at Highcon, 3D printing and variable data cutting.

 Why Highcon Matters Read more »

Brewing in Belgium: KHS & Martens Brouwerij Ramp Up ‘Direct-to-Shape’ Printing

Bob Leahey
 Aug 19, 2015

Color digital printing for packaging got a boost in Europe recently when a brewer long known for innovation, Martens Brouwerij (Belgium) publicized its use of a direct-to-shape print system to print PET bottles in full color, starting in June 2015. Called “Direct Print Powered by KHS™”, the system is engineered and built by KHS (Germany), a global supplier of filling and packaging solutions to the drinks industry, and commercialized by a wholly-owned KHS subsidiary, NMP Systems. The system, based on Xaar 1002 heads, Read more »

Manufacturing Industry Ripe for Automation Opportunities

Other Posts
 Aug 28, 2013

InfoTrends recently published its second in-depth primary research study on the manufacturing industry within the Business Process Automation Consulting Service. The manufacturing industry is a dynamic market with several sub-industries that can vary greatly in size and output demand, and because of these widespread differences, certain processes may require more exhaustive and paper-intensive workflows. InfoTrends broke down the manufacturing industry into four key workflow areas: 1) Product Planning/Design, 2) Procurement, 3) Production, and 4) Fulfillment. Within those areas, we broke down the industry further and discovered several major manual processes that demonstrate the biggest areas for automation opportunity for vendors: 1) Sample testing and trials, 2) Quality assurance/product inspections, 3) On-site supplier audits, and 4) Warehousing.

The following chart is an example of one of the most paper-intensive areas in manufacturing — Sample Testing and Trials. Due to the high frequency of the sample testing and trials process (occurring on average of five times per product) and paper being used roughly 38% of the time, automating this area will improve processing times and compliance initiatives (both of which are the top goals and objectives for manufacturing organizations today).

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Xerox Poised to Revolutionize Electronic Chip Manufacturing

Ron Gilboa
 Apr 15, 2013

A science article in the New York Times by John Markoff last week detailed an innovation from Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) that could revolutionize the world of chip manufacturing.  In a new manufacturing process from Xerox PARC, slivers of silicone called “chiplets” are immersed in a carrier liquid and are then “printed” onto a solid carrier material, much as toner particles are managed today in laser printing via Fluidic Self Assembly (FSA). Following Xerox’s rich heritage of innovation from the 1970s such as laser printing, Ethernet, the modern personal computer, graphical user interface (GUI), object-oriented programming, ubiquitous computing, amorphous silicon (a-Si) applications, and advancing very-large-scale-integration (VLSI) for semiconductors, printed chiplets  could possibly surpass these. Chiplet technology has the potential to revolutionize conventional manufacturing of chips and other microelectronic components, a change that will give benefits in flexibility, timeliness, and efficiency for companies that make such products.

The image below provides an enlarged view of the chiplets, each no larger than a grain of sand. Using systems that are essentially laser printer, Xerox’s PARC may one day be able to create desktop manufacturing plants that use chiplets to “print” the circuitry for a wide array of electronic devices.

Source:  Amy Sullivan/PARC
An enlarged view of small slivers of silicon, each no larger than a grain of sand, called chiplets. Using laser printers, Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center may one day be able to create desktop manufacturing plants that use chiplets to “print” the circuitry for a wide array of electronic devices.
Read more »

manroland finds a new owner in Possehl

Ralf Schlozer
 Jan 19, 2012

… well almost. The Possehl group is only taking over the Augsburg site and the creditors committee can only give a recommendation which buyer and which investor concept to pursue. Although the recommendation is a strong one, the final decision will be made at a forthcoming meeting of the creditors. Still for a company the size of manroland having agreed on a concept in less than two months after declaring insolvency this is quite a fast pace of events.

The concept is to split manroland into three independent units, based on its three separate manufacturing sites. The new investor, Possehl, is only taking over the Augsburg site, which produces the bulk of the web-fed offset presses (and understood to be the most competitive part of manroland). manroland enjoys a very strong market position in web-fed presses and the service business alone should keep the site afloat. Currently 2,200 employees work at the Augsburg site, which will be brought down to 1,500. Read more »

manroland enters insolvency

Ralf Schlozer
 Nov 25, 2011

While times have been tough for offset printing equipment suppliers in recent years it still came as a surprise that manroland has filed for insolvency protection (the German equivalent of Chapter 11) on the 25th of November. The announcement came only one day after reports that negotiations with a potential investor failed.

In a statement issued on its website manroland confirmed that it had been forced to initiate insolvency proceedings following a “dramatic downturn in incoming orders” since July. The company has filed a request at the local magistrate for self-administration in order to finalise its on-going restructuring efforts as a “debtor in possession,” a court-appointed lawyer will act as general representative during the time of restructuring, while the company’s situations and options are evaluated.

While several offset press vendors have exited the market in the last decade (InfoTrends not long ago reported on the state of the offset press manufacturing industry), the insolvency of manroland gives the decline in offset press manufacturing a new dimension. To put these proceedings into perspective: the insolvency of manroland is the biggest insolvency of any kind in Germany for the last two years, despite many companies having been hit by the financial crisis. It is affecting a company, which has been in business for more than 160 years and survived two world wars and the transition from letterpress to offset. Read more »

M-real to shut down Alizay – Buyers not found

Catherine Cresswell
 Oct 26, 2011

On October 18th 2011, M-real announced that the ailing Alizay paper mill in France will be shut down. The mill is running currently at EUR 3million (US$ 4.2 million) a month losses even after major efforts to turn this around. Satisfactory offers for the mill have also not been found despite the mill approaching more than 80 potential companies over the past four months and eighteen showing some interest. Two companies, reputedly Thailand’s Double A and the French turnaround company in’active, put forward offers, but these have been declined as they do not fulfil M-real’s criteria to ensure that the mill would continue to run rather than ultimately be shut down. M-real’s concern was to ensure that any buyer would be able to take responsibility for its 330 employees and the business risks. However, as a result the company now begins the consultation process for the shut down. Employees are reported to have reacted angrily and taken action to immediately halt production. Read more »

Tracking the effect of the earthquake and tsunami in printer shipments

Ralf Schlozer
 Oct 5, 2011

On March 11, 2011, a major earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Japan. Several factories of equipment suppliers and manufacturers of sub-components were struck, with more being affected by subsequent power outages. It was expected that this would impact shipments of digital printing equipment as many digital printing devices and parts used in these devices are manufactured in Japan.

Apart from anecdotal evidence getting hard facts on the impact is difficult. Due to the time it takes to ship the equipment overseas, no impact in Q1 was expected, but Q2 placements would have been affected by any supply chain interruptions. The InfoTrends quarterly tracking program looks at quarterly installations of digital production printing equipment, including A3-capable color MFPs. Placements fluctuate driven by overall demand, product launches, and tend to have some seasonality. Through our quarterly tracking program, we are able to draw historic comparison to gauge the seasonality factor.

Based on shipments in Q1 2011 we saw deviation from what would have been expected in the second quarter. In several color device segments installations were 15% to 20% below the expected level. Black & white installations in some product groups fell back as well, although to a lower extent. The few product groups that are dominated by vendors outside of Japan remained essentially within line of Q2 expectations or did even better than expected.

Is this a bullet-proof evidence that tsunami and earthquake did impact shipments by that amount? There is enough potential for fluctuation in times of an unstable economy, so we cannot be absolutely sure. However, the contrast to product groups mainly manufactured outside of Japan is remarkable. We will be closely watching Q3 results and see whether shipments recover or stay at a lower level.

InfoTrends published more details on the Q2 2011 results in a separate report:
http://store.infotrendsresearch.com/product_p/118646.htm

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