Germany, October 2015: an auction was organized in Leipzig named OAN. All the machines from a large book print factory became for sale. Four times KBA Rapida 162 four color printing presses as well as two five color 3B size together with a complete bookbinding production facility with several perfect binders and other were “hammered”.
In collaboration with two business partners, Mekes NL was buying four printing presses and a large number of bookbinding machines as perfect binders, large size guillotines, folders and others.
Everything to pay in advance and to dismantle within very short time.
Mekes NL created a team of fifteen engineers in total. There had been technicians from Germany, Holland, Belgium. England and Italy working together not knowing each other before. We had to take out all the machines within two weeks and working time allowed was from 08.00 hours in the morning until 17.00 hours.
One printing press was sold to a good Italian relation and went straight from the auction to a new destination in Romania. The others presses and equipment had to be dismantled within the shortest time and came in to our warehouse in the Netherlands.
Spain, November 2015: there was a – as we could find out later – a school-book-printing company completely burned out as we could listen from our contacts in Spain. Several big sizes KBA Rapida’s should have been total lost.
the Netherlands, December 2015: listening the news from the destroyed print shop, having the big sizes presses from the auction in OAN in stock, we started to dig out internet to find more about the story. Finally after intensive searching, on internet, we could find an interview on YouTube made by the local newspaper La Gazetta del Norte with the production manager of the print shop. We could see the burned out printing machines in the background. Without any hesitation Mekes NL and Mekes ES had contact in order to approach, with respect for the difficult situation, this production manager. In case the production should be continued, the factory restored, we could be their partner.
Spain, December 2015: together with our Mr. Marc Canals from Mekes ES we had a meeting with the production manager of the company Macro Libros in Valladolid. We could “smell” the burned out machines and the completely destroyed infrastructure. It seems to be caused by charging the battery of a forklift?! We could listen that the company had the intention to restart and that they discussed this idea with the insurances. Nothing was decided yet.
the Netherlands, January 2016: we got the confirmation that the production should be restarted. As KBA could not deliver new presses within a short time, second hand machines came into the picture. For insurances reasons, a local dealer-broker Artabria Grafica, Mr Juan Senra, got involved.
He organizes a “tour de Europe” to check several available presses.
the Netherlands, January/February 2016: we could listen that we were in competition with some presses still to inspect in running condition. The KBA Rapida’s we could offer had been dismantled, an important disadvantage for most customers. A delegation of Macro Libros composing the CEO, a specialized KBA engineer and an operator as well as Mr. J. Senra from Artabria Grafica visited our company to inspect and to discuss all details regarding a possible sale as well as a complete installation.
Spain, the Netherlands, February/March 2016: after several discussions at location and on the phone, a sales contract was signed an a substantial down payment was made. Important issue in the contract was the commitment regarding the delivery time of June 1, the moment having machines ready for (full) production. The production from schoolbooks in concentrated In the months from June to October. The machines should run immediately in several shifts. As well, the presses should be cleaned in all details, checked, equipped with new rollers etc.
Knowing that this type of rollers is not in the exchange program of the supplier Böttcher, Westland and others, that cleaning is a very intensive and much time demanding job, not thinking of what had to be done as engineering work.
Spain April/May 2016: the machines have been delivered and installed, several suppliers invited to connect CIP and other densitometric links and lasers, to make a drawing for the water-cooled cabinets and pumps as well as chillers to be connected… and went into production. Although not agreed in advance, the buyer decided to talk, to communicate in the codes red, orange and green for all the points related to a good printing press. Green is ok, orange is ok but still under observation if it would working continuously well in the future and red are the points still to be solved. We even have to commit ourselves to the outstanding chiller as capable to handle the highest temperature in the summer time in Valladolid –Spain. We tried to find out how much that could be.
As the production of schoolbooks was the priority, the presses went almost straight in two and soon after, in three shifts. The so called red points still to solve, have been put at side in order to solve after this intensive production time.
In November and December 2016 we instructed the perfecting system from one press and the Technotrans, not dosing hundred % well, had been adjusted and some other smaller technical issues had been solved. Still one electro-valve-replacement to go, even today.
In the meantime KBA installed several new presses as well and today Macro Libros is 100% back on track in a reconditioned factory full of new and our used machines.
It was a hell of a job. Should we do this again knowing what we have done? I have my doubts, but I suppose we should do this once more.
Some dealers, and even always more, are stating “we only sell to other dealers” to prevent themselves from sleepless nights and other headaches. Somebody has to sell printing machines to the printer as these has been made to print, to produce. The printer is still the main customer Mekes where ever in the world is looking for. Managing these kinds of projects is an heavy and an intensive job. It keeps you on the level of knowledge from printing technology.