Passion for pharmaceutical packaging – growth with new machine generation

Papierwerk Landshut Mittler (plm), whose high-quality packagings are found the world over, can
be summed up in three words: quality, reliability, and passion. Targeting further growth, the
company was the first folding carton printer last year to invest in a Speedmaster XL 75-7+L from
the new 2020 generation. A new Diana Smart 115 folder gluer from the partner MK Masterwork
completed the investment in the latest packaging solutions from Heidelberger Druckmaschinen
AG (Heidelberg). Using state-of-the-art and innovative technologies makes it possible to combine
top quality and high productivity.
“To enable us to produce the best folding cartons for our customers, we’re constantly on the
lookout for the most innovative equipment,” explains Günther Berninghaus, the third generation
of the family to manage plm. “Our slogan “Beyond the box” says so too, and we’re proud that
we’re still independent.” The trained letterpress printer and printing engineer has worked in the
company for 40 years, and says he has “always invested in the right machines.” plm has been in
existence since 1914, with medium-sized pharmaceutical companies and contract manufacturers
in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland accounting for 80 percent of its production. The remaining
20 percent is split between folding cartons for cosmetics and general consumer goods. plm also
works with an internationally renowned pharmaceutical manufacturer to develop and produce
complex color guides to guarantee globally harmonized production.

Since 1996, the company has been based in Wörth an der Isar – where it has enough space for
both a structured production process and further growth. “We have always focused on one site,
where we maintain a high level of productivity. What’s more, we invest heavily in our own
training and are proud of our rate of ten percent,” says Günther Berninghaus in explaining his
recipe for success. And there is one other special thing about plm: almost half of the 134
employees are women.
Partnership with Heidelberg as a win-win situation
The partnership between Heidelberg and plm goes back decades, and has benefited both sides.
For example, plm was one of the first concept customers in 1992. As a field test customer, plm has
been involved in several major projects with Heidelberg – whether the expansion of the substrate
range and the first coating unit in the Speedmaster SM 52 or the Prinect Inpress Control inline
color and quality measurement system on the Speedmaster CD 74. Other field tests were
conducted on the Prinect Press Center XL 3 and its LED daylight lamp, which Günther
Berninghaus says makes it easier to approve sheets by simply switching from D50 (5000K
daylight) to D65 (6500K daylight). plm has focused on the medium-size format 50 x 70 for many
years. In the press room you will now find a Speedmaster XL 75-6+L from 2008 as well as a
Speedmaster XL 75-5+L that was added three years ago and most recently the Speedmaster XL
75-7+L from the 2020 generation one year ago. All three presses run at a speed of 18,000 sheets
per hour and have a sheet format of 605 x 750 mm (23.82 x 29.53 in.), which is perfect for
packaging companies.
Prior to its most recent investment, plm had scoured the printing press market and was also
considering a change to the next bigger format. It soon turned out, however, that another
Speedmaster XL 75 was the best solution. What clinched it were the innovative solutions in the
new 2020 generation – the clear operating concept with the new Heidelberg User Experience
(UX), the good accessibility, and the high print quality thanks to the perfectly optimized inking
unit for this press series. The large diameters of the cylinders ensure that the cardboard is
transported smoothly through the press.
“We consider ourselves in a good position with the three almost identical presses from
Heidelberg. The printers can work on all the presses, we operate a standardized printing process,
and can offer our customers fast production with zero defects,” says Günter Berninghaus in
summary. “The medium-size format is the perfect fit for us as well at the moment. This is
confirmed by our profitability calculations. We have faster setup times, greater color stability, and
uniformity of colors over the entire sheet, which helps us with the many gang runs we have.”
All of the presses have a service agreement in place and the Heidelberg technicians are held in
high regard at plm. The washing fluids and aids are from the Saphira range.
Production operates on a three-shift schedule on all but the oldest Speedmaster XL 75, in some
cases also at weekends. An active sales force and the additional demand from the pharmaceutical
industry as a result of the coronavirus pandemic resulted in growth of twelve percent last year.
Turnover in 2020 was 20 million euros. Further growth came from the increasing substitution of
plastic packagings and from monoblock cartons.
Modern workstation and increased productivity
Print shop manager Günter Zöttl keeps an eye on the productivity gains offered by the three
presses. The new Speedmaster XL 75 is 30 percent more efficient than the 2008 press. The new
press is also five percent more efficient that the 2018 one. All in all, what sets the new 2020
generation press apart is its reliability, stability, quality, and good accessibility. “When I ask my
printers what their favorite press to work on is, it’s always the new Speedmaster,” confirms
Günter Zöttl. “They're big fans of the new operator guidance system, and the new 24-inch
touchscreen makes their work more direct and straightforward.” The company is also taking
advantage of the navigated printing: Intellistart 3 compares two jobs and suggests the best
production approach to the printer. Intelliline, the system of optical guidance by means of LED
strips on the printing units, provides outstanding navigation and support for the assistance
Spot colors account for 80 percent of the inks used at plm and the colorfulness of the jobs is on
the increase, which means frequent colors changes. This is now much easier with the new Wash
Assistant and its artificial intelligence. The Wash Assistant selects the right washup program for
the inking unit and dampening system, blanket, and impression cylinder based on corresponding
job and press parameters. When washing ink rollers, it can, for example, identify when switching
from a dark color to a light one, and initiates the optimal washup program. If necessary it can
even automatically initiate deep cleaning. Apart from saving time, this also saves washing fluid
and washup cloths. Any inking units not needed are continuously supplied with roller protection
liquid by the new “Auto Protect” function. Once ink is added again, the roller protection is
removed fully automatically in the Intellistart 3 workflow without any input from the operator.

The average run length is just under 8,000 sheets. The main material processed is primary fiber
cardboard with grammages from 220 to 500 g/m².
Production also runs on a three-shift schedule in postpress, with four die cutters and four folder
gluers from the Diana series. The latest – a Diana Smart 115 – is a replacement investment and is
expanding the product portfolio by adding new gluing options for the folding cartons. The new
Diana also made it possible to further increase the quality and productivity.
Team spirit and good collaboration
Looking forward, plm wants to improve and expand the integration between the data provided by
the Heidelberg presses and the packaging workflow. These are then also projects for the next
generation. Günther Berninghaus’ son Daniel has a degree in business administration and has
been working in the company as Operational Excellence Manager for three years. “We’re a
company with a strong team spirit, open exchange, and great collaboration – fast, flexible, and
agile,” he sums up. These attributes are fundamental in achieving the objectives set – to continue
as an independent medium-sized company with a profitable business that offers the customers the best possible quality.


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