New gravure printing presses and varnishing machines for the decorative industries
Bundling strengths and exploiting synergies
von Ansgar Wessendorf,
At the start of 2021, the two German companies Lebbing engineering & consulting and WDB Systemtechnik officially announced a strategic cooperation. Its basic objective is the bundling of the respective strengths and the corresponding exploitation of synergies. A strong focus of this partnership is on the mutual support for complex projects. In addition, the development and construction of custom build products and machinery for the printing and converting industries is another key aspect of this cooperation.
“Not only the hard facts fit together, we also share a similar personal background. Apart from being from the same Westphalian region, we are pursuing an almost identical strategy. Our two medium-sized companies were founded in the 1990s and are involved in special machine construction”, says Kai Schmedding, managing director of WDB Systemtechnik.
“The main difference between the two companies is that WDB Systemtechnik focuses on the construction of customer-specific machines and modules for package and label printing, while we mainly put our emphasis on retrofitting as well as drive and automation solutions for the paper, decorative and converting industries”, continues Lebbing’s managing director Guido Lebbing. “We are like two pieces of a puzzle: individually different, but fitting together into a seamless structure.”
Tailor-made retrofits “Bocholt based Lebbing engineering & consulting exists for over 20 years. During this period, we have acquired a globally recognized high level of expert knowledge in drive and automation technology. Since we belong to the Jagenberg Group, which mainly produces special machinery and systems for the paper, plastics, aluminum and textile industries, we use their global network of subsidiaries”, explains Guido Lebbing.
The company generates over 50% of its sales with retrofitting. In this context, the focus is on the modernization of production plants for printing and converting applications. They recently completed several retrofits on gravure presses for decorative printing. By replacing the control elements for electrical drive and automation, the performance and safety capabilities of the machine were brought up to latest state of technology. “As a result of these retrofitting measures, efficiency and productivity, as well as the safety standard of this gravure printing press have been increased considerably”, states Guido Lebbing.
“Therefore we contribute into this already successful partnership not only a wealth of experience derived from a large number of successful retrofits but also our extensive know-how in drive and automation technology.”
Guaranteed not off the shelf “Since 1995 we have been building special machinery for the paper, plastics and printing industries at our production site in Enger near Herford. In addition, we now also offer equipment for package and label printing. However, these are not off-the-shelf products, but individually engineered according to specific customer requirements. We regard ourselves as a provider of complete solutions including all respective services. This stretches from planning, through construction and installation to technical service”, says Kai Schmedding. “For example, we have designed and implemented a narrow-web central impression cylinder digital printing press with inkjet technology. This is a machine, previously unseen and unavailable on the market.”
Following the takeover of the company SMB Sondermaschinen (formerly part of Fischer & Krecke) in 2013, WDB Systemtechnik operates successfully on the market with a large number of machines for a wide range of applications. The portfolio includes flexo printing presses and flexo varnishing systems, but also machines for decorative printing and hollow body printing, rotary die-cutters as well as all respective services. In addition, WDB Systemtechnik builds machines and units for other manufacturers for integration into their systems.
New machines for decorative printing and varnishing “A special field of our intensive cooperation is the design and development of new machines for the decorative industries. For this purpose, Lebbing founded a special business unit in the Bielefeld and Herford region”, says Guido Lebbing. “There is a great demand for new, high-tech gravure presses tailored to the special requirements of decorative printing. The same applies to varnishing machines that WDB Systemtechnik develops for a wide variety of customer-specific applications”, adds Kai Schmedding.
“The currently six employees of the Lebbing Business Unit are located at the facility of WDB Systemtechnik in order to bundle strengths and fully exploit synergies”, continues Kai Schmedding. “Due to the high demand and good order situation, we intend to increase the number of employees for this division to 10 or even 12. Therefore, we are urgently looking for automation technology engineers, designers and machine fitters”, states Guido Lebbing.
Potential for even more As far as the further expansion of the cooperation is concerned, there is a whole lot of promising opportunities for WDB Systemtechnik and Lebbing engineering & consulting. “We have a number of ideas and projects in the pipeline. When the time is right, we will inform the market accordingly”, says Kai Schmedding. “However, what already can be said is, that the further we advance the exploitation of synergies with other companies in the Jagenberg Group, the greater the potential for even more”, Guido Lebbing concludes.