A partnership 50 years long

A partnership 50 years long
In the third of our articles in which we interview Trelleborg’s partners and customers, Gerhard Augsberg, Sales Director of German printing solutions distributor Streb, explains how their long-term partnership has gone from strength to strength.

Trelleborg has had a working relationship with its German distributor Streb since 1967, which means the two companies will be celebrating their 50th anniversary next year! That’s a long time partnership for any two groups and demonstrates the trust, commitment and cooperation that have prevailed over the decades.

“If we were a married couple we would be approaching our golden wedding!” says Gerhard Augsberg. “I think that says a great deal about the quality of Trelleborg products and our success at converting and selling them. It has resulted in an excellent team spirit. The German graphic arts market is one of the largest in the world, but it’s also one of the most demanding in terms of expectations.

“There are no standard carriages on this particular train – it’s first class or nothing. We’ve invested hugely over the years to ensure we have some of the most efficient and comprehensive blanket converting equipment in Europe and this has allowed us to provide exceptionally fast deliveries to customers.”

During the last two years Streb has invested extensively in its blanket converting facilities. The company is ISO 9001 certified and is continuously improving its 
environmental management system (EMAS) and reducing the impact on the environment of any of the processes it employs. The company places great emphasis on end-to-end traceability of its products and on strict quality control. The majority of blankets are cut by large format die-cutters, which provide the maximum format precision.

Streb serves all areas of the offset sector from small sheet-fed to large heatset web presses and has the ability to convert and supply blankets for any application within 24 hours. Trelleborg’s extensive R&D and manufacturing facilities means that it constantly develops and introduces new solutions, which in turn expands the product portfolio of Streb.

“We work very closely with Trelleborg’s technical team, providing customer feedback, helping to test new products and ensuring that our personnel are completely up to date with the latest product developments,” says Gerhard Augsberg, who has 38 years experience in the printing industry. “This has enabled us to keep at the forefront of blanket technology and meet new working practices amongst customers.

“For example, the heatset offset segment has seen significant changes in recent years, with the design, format size and printing speed of presses being pushed to new levels by manufacturers. This has placed ever greater demands upon the performance of the offset blanket. Heatset presses represent an investment of several millions … regardless of the currency. The blanket might be a tiny cost in comparison, but its performance is absolutely vital to print quality and press efficiency. 

“The offset blanket is crucial to the ability of the printing company to make a profit. Not every printer fully appreciates this and neither does every blanket manufacturer! It’s why Trelleborg has such a vast range of different offset blankets and why we work hard at maintaining our in-depth knowledge of the products. Each blanket, such as the well-known Vulcan Mytho and Vulcan Alto Plus for heatset presses, provides a unique set of criteria to meet the precise needs of a particular press/job situation. 

“In the production of food packaging customers request ISEGA food packaging approved products and we are able to offer a range of suitable blankets for this work. In general, packaging printers demand high durability, low ink migration and no ink build-up on the blanket surface.”

One of the trends in the sheet-fed sector is the growth of H-UV/LE-UV/LED-UV printing. These processes have very specific requirements and Trelleborg has developed blankets such as the Vulcan Super UV and Vulcan Pack UV, which incorporate surface and carcass characteristics that meet these very precise needs. 

“This gives us a fantastic opportunity to work closely with our customers as regards to the blankets they use and this attention to fine detail has helped Streb to increase its share of the German offset blanket market year on year,” says Gerhard Augsberg. “But whatever the level of success, no company can sit back and not continually strive to improve, expand and develop. The industry is changing at an ever faster pace and suppliers must be alert to the new demands on the horizon and have the ability to meet them. 

 “We know from our long-term, close partnership with Trelleborg that both companies are totally committed to retaining their leadership in the manufacture and supply of offset blankets. It’s a privilege to help people and printers can be sure that we will always be around to listen to their requests and provide efficient and cost-effective solutions.”
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