By Steve Katz
Gallus, a label printing equipment manufacturer, welcomed over 100 guests to its headquarters in St. Gallen, Switzerland, for the company’s VIP seminar titled “Industrial Manufacturing: The Benefits of Digital Workflow Solutions.” The seminar was delivered twice over two days in two languages, German and English, accommodating invitees from a host of countries throughout Europe.
The hosts extended a warm welcome to their guests on the evening prior to the event, providing a reception where the international array of label converters and colleagues had an opportunity to meet and mingle while enjoying fine food and drink. Gallus made sure its VIPs were well fed and rested before the following day’s seminar that would be filled with thought-provoking speakers, innovative technological displays, and a live demonstration of a production workflow featuring the Gallus RCS 330.
If the morning’s espresso and coffee offerings didn’t awaken the senses of Gallus’ guests, the company made sure to provide a captivating speaker that would. Reinhold Rapp, of Strategy and Learning Consultants, grabbed the attention of those in the room, and didn’t let go until the moment he darted away to catch a plane in Zurich.
“Is your company’s fate riding on yesterday’s technology?” Rapp asked. He then proceeded to explain how much the world has changed since the 1980s. Discussing innovation in general, the decline of the US as a superpower, and the rise and success of company’s such as Google, Apple, and Wikipedia, Rapp illustrated his point that the times and technology change and evolve quite rapidly. He emphasized that it’s imperative for manufacturers to be open minded, to embrace new perspectives, to understand the importance of learning within the organization, and to work and learn as a team. Rapp also spoke about the “Rule of 20” organizational system, a system that emphasizes working with informal and formal networks inside and outside the company, and the success that can be had in collaborating with development partners. It was this concept that provided the theme for the day’s activities, as Gallus offered digital solutions for converters, working with EskoArtwork, DuPont, Erhardt + Leimer, and Leomat, in conjunction with the Gallus RCS 330 press.
Klaus Bachstein, CEO of Gallus, explained how they selected which companies to join forces with: “Basically, we looked at who is leading in their respective fields in the market, and also who is able to provide support in what we’re doing. We’re making an effort in to build solid partnerships.”
Paul Mattle, marketing manager for Gallus, spoke of operational efficiency achieved by printing with the Gallus RCS 330/430. Displaying a series of charts, graphs, and opinion polls, Mattle explained how the 330/430 reduces waste factors and minimizes setup time, the result being “quite impressive,” according to Mattle. He said, “By eliminating five minutes of production time, we can produce 189 more jobs a year. The result being a significant ROI over 4.1 years, compared with 5.6 years without the five minutes setup time eliminated.”
Following lunch, the attendees were led downstairs where a section of the plant was set up to allow the aforementioned collaborating companies to demonstrate live their contributions to the digital workflow.
First up were EskoArtwork and DuPont, whose representatives demonstrated prepress equipment and processes. Esko’s contribution included its Flexo Tools for Adobe Photoshop and its new Visualizer software. This software allows its users to “visualize” on a monitor finishes like metallic inks, embossing and foil blocks, how a label will look once it’s actually on the bottle or package, and how the labeled product will look when handled and moved within a store. Next, a DuPont representative demonstrated the Cyrel FAST dry thermal technology for developing analog and digital flexographic plates without the use of solvents.
Erhardt + Leimer demonstrated its post press contribution to the workflow, a 100 percent inspection system. A company representative explained how cost reduction and process security are both attained through early waste and single defect detection.
The afternoon’s final activity was the live presentation of the Gallus RCS 330. With the VIPs gathered on risers before the press, and with a stopwatch timer mounted above, two operators went to work and displayed the 330’s efficiency in setting up the press in less than 15 minutes.
Throughout the event, Gallus speakers stressed what they referred to as “pit stop” concepts, comparing col