Miamisburg, OH (USA), November 2014 – It can be difficult to hold to very demanding delivery commitments, particularly during busy times. Purchasing its third and fourth Esko (www.esko.com) Kongsberg digital finishing systems, Brant InStore’s new Kongsberg XP24 digital finishing tables with i-cut cameras let the company keep customer lead times with a flexible approach to handling jobs.
Commitment to quality, innovation, customer service—and quick delivery
Located in Brantford, Ontario, Brant InStore has always based its business on an unwavering commitment to quality, innovation and customer service. This has held true since 1963, when the company was founded with one manual press and two employees, until today, with over 300 employees and customers across Canada and the United States. Brant InStore provides innovative and effective print solutions to some of the largest print clients in North America’s retail, restaurant and automotive industries. Serving such a diverse client base keeps Brant InStore competitive and fresh—constantly striving for excellence through innovation.
Strong growth requires additional capacity
Brant InStore operates four large format silkscreen color presses along with four wide format digital flatbed inkjet printers and four large format digital roll-to-roll presses. They also operate five litho presses of varying sizes. To ensure that they have control of every job, they operate a full, 150,000 square-foot finishing and distribution facility. Brant InStore is an environmentally friendly, FSC certified and ISO 14001 certified printer.
Brant InStore has owned an older model Kongsberg table and had purchased a Kongsberg XP24 with i-cut camera last year. In the past year, they have experienced extraordinary growth in the digital finishing area, resulting in an overflow and bottleneck from increased customer orders. They were running 24/7 and were unable to keep up—not hard to understand considering future orders represented hundreds of cutting hours and they were hitting capacity. Brant InStore needed more digital finishing systems, and purchased two Kongsberg XP24 finishing systems with i-cut cameras at the beginning of September.
The Kongsberg XP24 with i-cut camera helps turn short-run POP / POS displays work into profitable, value added jobs, helping sign and display shops offer their customers on-demand production with just-in-time delivery. With a maximum working area of 70” x 141” and a maximum speed of 66” inches per second, it can convert a wide range of board, sheet and roll materials. An optional conveyor extension is available that can work with rolls or sheets/boards with an Auto-Feeder with scissor-lift and transfer cart system, expanding the quantity of print runs that can be pre-stacked. The seamless workflow no longer requires an operator to restack or transfer materials.
“We were happy with the Kongsberg XP24 table we already had. Presently no other table can touch the capabilities or repeatability that Kongsberg tables offer. These two machines were similar to the one we had purchased a year ago,” says John Paul deBoer, CEO, Brant Instore. “The Kongsberg table is relatively simple to install, and doesn’t consume a lot of floor space.”
Brant InStore wanted kiss cutting, knife cutting and routing in the same machine. With the Kongsberg XP24 they were able to switch tools quickly from cutting to routing—and, there is little mess to clean up from routing. A suction head collects all of the particles. With the Auto-Feeder, the Kongsberg table is able to take the substrate, set the program with a very easy, user-friendly interface, read the registration marks, cut the job, and send it to an output conveyor. It has allowed Brant InStore to reduce manpower. One person can operate two machines rather than one. “With the Auto-Feeder, we can set up a machine, with very little operator intervention afterwards. We use less manpower and, depending upon the product and the quantity, throughput is as fast as a conventional manual clamshell diecutter,” comments deBoer.
“When you consider all of the variables to prep a job—including changeovers for short or long jobs, or prototypes—Kongsberg tables offer quick throughput because they require so little setup time,” adds deBoer. “If a piece of equipment can produce hundreds of pieces an hour, but takes three hours to set up, it isn’t very efficient.”
Customers often ask to see a prototype. Before, Brant InStore only had one automatic cutting table. Now, they can quickly run a new sample request without losing significant throughput time. “The additional Kongsberg tables give us the flexibility to handle a heavy influx of orders. We are able to improve upon the already expedited timetables that we promise,” says deBoer. “One of the strengths we promote is helping to reduce time to market. We can turn around jobs in 24 hours or less. This is our busiest time of the year and if you cannot react quickly enough to changes and last-minute requests, you can lose orders. It’s difficult to fulfill all orders during the holiday season, but the Kongsberg tables help us do it. The Kongsberg tables help us maintain a flexible approach to handling and juggling jobs. Customers see that we are maintaining and improving our lead times.”
“We often find ourselves receiving a very large last minute job requiring hundreds of hours in digital finishing. In the past, in order to complete it we would have had to break the jobs up into partials internally. The difficultly is not being able to complete all orders in full with one setup which drives additional costs. Now, with the Kongsberg tables, we are able to balance our workflow and complete each job without multiple break-ins to deliver the rush orders along the others,” adds deBoer. “This is a normal occurrence and—our key strength. We welcome drop in orders. The Kongsberg tables give us flexibility to eliminate bottleneck situations from our internal processes, allowing customers to receive their orders, on time.”
“We are always striving to maintain our recognition as an industry leader. We continue to be innovative from the largest to the smallest customer,” states deBoer. “As a company, we enjoy our Kongsberg tables. Esko always pushes its new product development to insure that they keep in pace with our industry-leading values and help us maintain our competitive edge. The Kongsberg tables are another way Brant InStore supports the ever shortening lead-times required to support our customers and provide a service that is world class, bar none.”