November 19, 2017
Friesens Corporation has a long history of running Kolbus equipment in both our book and web divisions. This has included encasing lines, perfect binding lines, casemaking equipment, and even a brief experience with sewing machines. It has been a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Kolbus.
This past year Friesens began discussions about upgrading to a new encasing line for our hardcover books. We decided to run a head-to-head competition between the two main manufacturers of this equipment: Kolbus and Müller Martini. Over the course of several months, we compiled leftover components from jobs that would challenge a quick setup for various jobs, and split them into two lots. One skid was meant for Müller Martini and the other for Kolbus, both located in Europe. After we had compiled ten jobs, we shipped these components to each of their factories for testing.
Testing took place in March of this year with three representatives from Friesens travelling to the factories. They were Ernie Klassen (thirty-year staff member and senior encaser operator), Mark Friesen (department manager) and Byron Loeppky (general manager).
After a week of testing these identical jobs in the exact same order, we determined that the Müller Martini line was the better choice for Friesens. A final purchase agreement was concluded in May. The old Kolbus line will be decommissioned the week of December 11, 2017, and the new line will be installed in our web division in January of 2018. We have 2 added additional shifts on the book division encaser in order to minimize any disruption to schedules during this time.
Switching from Kolbus to Müller Martini was not an easy decision for us, as Kolbus has been and will continue to be a key equipment supplier to Friesens. However, some of the newer technology available on the Müller Martini bookline, particularly the server motor technology that is available throughout the line, showed a decided decrease in the length of make-ready time required to get running. In every book tested, the first book through the line was saleable, and the binding quality was excellent.
We have also already negotiated an option for an almost identical bookline that will be installed the following year. Friesens has until mid-2018 to decide if we want to exercise that option.
Pictures of the new line are included, which show an approximation of what the new encasing line will look like when installed. The machine includes a Collibri backgluing station, encasing station, Vespa dustjacketer, and an in-line ribbon inserter.
Collibri (Backgluer) Encaser
Vespa (Jacket Machine)