Schomaker GmbH & Co. KG located in Menden in North-Rhine Westphalia is one of the leading bookbinderies and index-cutting works in Germany. Equipped with the latest technology it employs around 180 people and serves printing businesses all over Europe. In order to further optimize the efficiency and performance in the field of cutting, the family-owned company last summer installed machines made by POLAR - a first in the history of Schomaker. The machinery includes not only an N 155 PLUS high-speed cutter, but also an automatic jogger and a TRE Transomat which allows the easy unloading of trimmed stock.
Difficulties arising with the existing machinery from another manufacturer were the main reason the company decided to install a new cutting system in Menden. “On the system we had already been using for some years,” reports managing director Julia Schomaker, “a number of repairs were due, which we did not want to undertake because of the age of the machine, as well as the device operation, which wasn’t always straightforward.”
Furthermore, the machine’s performance no longer conformed to the philosophy of the company, the primary success factors of which, it claims, are the quality and the training of its employees. Schomaker: “For a number of years, we have been systematically using KAIZEN, a form of lean management, not only for corporate governance but also for company organization.” In addition to principles such as absolute order and continuous improvement processes, the aims of this management method also include forward-looking investment and a regular gain in efficiency. “We adhere to the rule of not using any machine for longer than eight years,” says the granddaughter of the company founder.
Search for a new machine
Knowing that the existing cutting machine would have to be replaced, the executive management and responsible employees sat down together in the spring of 2015 to devise a strategy for how best to organize the search for a new machine. From the very start, it was clear that the main responsibility for the replacement should lie with the users themselves. “It was important to me that the users who would subsequently have to work on the machine should be involved in the process from the start, and that their wishes and expectations should play an important part in our choice,” says Schomaker who herself is a business administration graduate. These wishes and expectations quickly became clear, and were recorded in a wish list. The new machine should not just be focused on the 70 x 100 format range but should also permit the simple processing of larger sheets. User guidance and menu control needed to be easier than that on the current machine, and processing quality and performance also played an important role. The option of continuing to use the existing extraction system for paper, lower maintenance and good support from the manufacturer were further points added to the wish list. As a company that values and supports German workmanship, the focus was therefore on German manufacturers.
During the search for the new cutting system that would best meet the requirements and wishes, POLAR organized a presentation in the spring of 2015. In an on-site meeting, POLAR’s philosophy and principles were presented, and Schomaker’s specific requirements, the dimensions and other underlying conditions were discussed. “The consultants recorded our requirements in great detail, and made us feel they were the right partner for us. The atmosphere and the personal touch were right,” recalls Schomaker. This was also true of the implementation concept that arrived at the Sauerland-based company a short while later. This concept included a reference visit to premises in Berlin to see the proposed system in action and to give Schomaker not only a theoretical but also a practical insight. “The responsible employees traveled up there, and by the end, were very impressed,” say the executive manager. The main reasons for the investment were ultimately the very stable and high-quality structure of the machine, the good interplay between the components, and above all the far easier menu and user guidance. Another argument in favor of the POLAR system is the excellent price-performance ratio. The implementation concept including the comments made by the persons responsible at Schomaker was ultimately presented to the managing director. On the basis of the facts and information, she gave the go-ahead for the acquisition. In short, we felt that by changing to POLAR we were taking an important and correct step.”
In operation since the summer of 2015
The new system is composed of a Polar N 155 PLUS high-speed cutter, an automatic RA-6 jogger and a Transomat TRE 160-6 unloading unit. To make sure that even the rarely used A0 sheets can be transported, Schomaker intentionally focused on a large-size machine which handles cutting materials sized up to 126 x 164 cm. Furthermore, the area between jogger and cutting unit was fitted out with a tilt table which serves to extend the transport area, if necessary. When extremely heavy and large-size jobs are handled, the trapezoidal operator location in front of the cutting unit can be converted to a completely enclosed, rectangular unit with the help of the ErgoFrontTables. The system is operated via the 18.5” color touchscreen display with a graphic operator guidance system which allows easy downloading of the cutting jobs. After the cutting process, Transomat E automatically deposits the reams on a pallet, while cutting continues with the next material. An existing extraction system which is independent from the high-speed cutter removes the cutting waste and then automatically takes it to a collection system outside the building. The machine is usually run in two-shift operation, and at full capacity, can even be used in three-shift operation. Schomaker: “The system ensures that we are perfectly prepared for handling a variety of offset sizes and jobs and that we can achieve our aspirations regarding fast and efficient operations in the best possible way.”
Schomaker GmbH & Co. KG
Julia Schomaker, managing director
58708 Menden, Germany
Phone: +49 2373 917 99-15