With an established global network, Trelleborg’s printing solutions operation is in an ideal position to predict and react to market trends. In the following article, Marco Carlini, Regional Sales Director for Asian Pacific, looks at how the company is meeting the rapidly changing offset blanket needs of printers throughout the Asia Pacific Region.
“To be successful in business you have to understand your customers’ needs and anticipate accurately what these are likely to be in the future, sometimes even before they realise themselves!” says Marco Carlini. “This holds true for the production of offset blankets as much as any other product, particularly as it takes a significant amount of time and investment to create and properly test new solutions.
“Printers everywhere face increasing demands to be more cost effective and this inevitably means achieving greater productivity from their presses, which in turn requires new levels of quality, versatility and durability from the offset blanket. A blanket manufacturer offering a limited range will only be able to satisfy a small percentage of the vast array of differing printing scenarios there are. Offset blankets need to be tailored to specific criteria and being forced to use inappropriate options will only result in reduced profitability.”
Trelleborg has tackled the challenge of understanding trends in the industry and then developing efficient solutions by working extremely closely with its customers, dealers and distributors around the world and feeding back detailed information to its extensive research and development facilities at its Italian headquarters.
The various experts and engineers who work in the operation are able to call upon a vast amount of experience in order to create solutions that ideally match the needs of local markets. The recently launched metal-backed Vulcan Metal Times is a good example of how feedback from printers has steered the course of development of a product.
“There is often a requirement in the Indian newspaper market for a blanket to successfully print very long runs, sometimes under extreme printing conditions and high ambient temperatures,” says Carlini. “Vulcan Metal Times has been created to meet these very specific needs. For example, the new structure means that very low levels of heat are generated during operation. India is bucking a global trend in that an increasing percentage of the population are reading printed newspapers and it therefore has an expanding newspaper industry.
“The close working relationship between our R&D team and the engineers at Trelleborg’s manufacturing facility in China has also been highly productive. All of our facilities operate to the same very high standards as our headquarters in Italy and one of the advantages is that we can develop a product in Lodi Vecchio and know that it will be manufactured precisely to the required tolerances wherever it is produced.”
The Shanghai facility is headed by plant director Livio Maccan, whose experience with the Vulcan brand goes back to its early days of development. Prior to moving to China, Maccan held several senior technical and managerial roles at Trelleborg’s printing solutions operations around the world.
Trelleborg has invested significantly in its Shanghai manufacturing facility, which is the first offset blanket manufacturing facility in China to fully implement a solvent recovery system. The site has been awarded ISO 14000 and the sophisticated converting equipment utilized makes it the most reliable and accurate blanket converter in China.
“During the last four years Trelleborg has increased its market share in the Asian Pacific Region and this looks set to continue, as we provide an ever wider product portfolio and this part of the world maintains its growth,” says Carlini. “Our unrivalled range is supported by a well established network of distributors throughout China and by key personnel such as Philip Huang, who is sales and marketing director for China. Philip has played a vital role in driving forward our success and overseeing the introduction of new solutions.”
Trelleborg has experienced a high level of interest throughout the Asia Pacific Region in its industry-leading solutions for UV printing, which include the latest energy-saving UV technologies. The most recent Vulcan blankets for UV inks have attracted significant praise for their ability to provide good ink release, with no back-tracking even in highly demanding situations.
Trelleborg will be taking part in several exhibitions in the Asia Pacific Region during 2018, including IGAS, CanTech and Wan IFRA, as well as a host of smaller events.