Israel’s Graphica Bezalel was founded in 1946 by the HARPAK and MENIPAZ families, and has been owned and managed by the family ever since. It recently invested in its third Komori Lithrone - a six colour GL40 with coater and the Komori e-uv drying option. In April 2017 it was announced as the first beta customer for the Landa Nanographic Printing® Technology, which is the company’s first digital printing machine.
Headed by the HARPAK family for 3 generations, the company employs 150 people in factories 80,000 square foot near Tel Aviv. It has become a market leader in the field of high quality printed and converted packaging, folding boxes and labels for the food, beverage and wine industries, as well as for the garments and textile products marketplace. Blue chip brands and customers include Carlsberg, Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Unilever, SodaStream, and Maroccanoil. In recent years, it has invested and also enlarged its capabilities for the high-end cosmetics packaging market.
Graphica Bezalel prints and converts a very wide variety of substrates: coated paper, metallized paper, thin Bopp plastic, thick polypropylene and polyethylene, grey board, manila back board, Kraft board included. Materials range from 50 microns up to 1000 microns, and from 33 gsm and up to 600 gsm. 70 percent of its jobs are short runs of 5,000 or less with 90 percent of its work for the local market.
Design, control and production
Graphica Bezalel’s planning and design department employs award winning designers, excelling at creating unique and sophisticated packaging solutions. For example, a clear polypropylene display box for water bottles, that can be turned into a useful bag.
The department works with the customer's product design studios and advertising agencies, and its designers processing and adapting the desired graphic arts to suit the company’s needs and to fit the box design as well as the production techniques. State of the art Esko pre-press software is networked across and interconnecting all the plant departments.
Says Deputy General Manager, Eyal Harpak: “Our planning, Prepress and QA systems are the nerve centre of our plant. Using Microsoft ERP software, the Operations planning and Quality Control department monitors the work continuity and compliance with customer's timetables.
It enables us to coordinate all aspects of production, from receipt of order from customer, preparation of raw materials, control production at all stages, followed by packing and dispatch. Our quality policy is to ensure uncompromising quality and standards, complying with international ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 standards, which we are certified for!”
Continues Mr Harpak, “We have highly professional and experienced workers throughout the entire organization: Planning, prepress, design, printers, machine minders, converting, packaging dept.& logistics, all supporting a dedicated management who truly relish any challenge, and using high-specification equipment.
“We’ve always been a strong believer in Japanese technology, ever since we invested, in 1998, in a six colour Mitsubishi 3B. In 2005, looking for another six colour machine, second hand but with full automation, we focused our search on Japanese technology again! We found a top specification Lithrone 40 with six printing units, coater, double delivery and IR/UV drying capability, which has served us well, as has the four colour B2 Lithrone we added some years later.”
The significance of technical support
“To stay ahead of the game, you have to invest to advance. Our market is fiercely competitive so our development plan identified three key objectives.”
We needed to increase efficiency of change-over and setup times and we wanted to reduce maintenance downtime and breakdown, along with associated costs. We aimed at increasing capacity and flexibility and extend our UV options. All this clearly pointed to an investment in new technology.”
“We were happy to stay with the 41.5 inch six colour and coater format which has worked well for us over many years. However, we wanted to gain a significant increase in productivity sufficient to replace both the existing Lithrone 40 and Lithrone 29 machines and, at the same time, introduce additional capacity to suit the company’s long term growth programme.”
“Our visit to IGAS 2010 in Tokyo heralded the start of our search for a new machine, with our focus on the manufacturers who were serving us well already. That meant Komori and, initially, also Mitsubishi.”
“Every single aspect of technical support on both the Komori machines has been excellent over the last ten years, both from Komori and from Zalik Ziv Ron and his team, at Israel’s Komori distributors, A 2 Z Graphic Solutions. This important aspect, supported our decision to focus our attentions on the latest Komori technology.”
“Our selection process took us to carton printers in the UK and Europe and included exhaustive tests on our own jobs and materials at Komori’s Graphic Technology Center - Europe in Utrecht. There, we recognised that the versatility of Komori’s e-uv curing specification would cover virtually all our applications now and in the future – giving us H-UV, conventional UV and IR+HA drying options, along with the capability to use water based or the appropriate UV coatings and inks.”
As Komori’s European Director of Distributor Sales, Tony Carter explains: With Komori e-uv, Graphica Bezalel now has the option to change between UV and H-UV curing by a quick and simple change of lamps. Like most carton companies, historically they’ve taken conventional .drying routes for most of their work, but this was before Komori invented the H-UV system along with all its significant benefits. Eyal Harpak agrees: “We do have applications for UV drying and we confidently predict that H-UV will play an increasingly important role in our production.”
Adding the digital facility
Eyal Harpak comments: “We’re a traditional offset house and Nanography® is the first technology to tempt us into the world of digital print to complement our offset production. This technology provides unique abilities for us to handle the shorter runs, respond to the ever- growing carton-on-demand requests and open up new opportunities for us for customized and special promotional packaging”
“It’s a bonus for us that it shares the same Komori sheet transport and coater technology as our Lithrone, the familiarity proving helpful to our operators.
“Our recent open house was attended by printers from throughout the world and we made sure they saw digital and offset side by side – with our new Lithrone G40 printing carton work at its full16,000 an hour. With production speeds like this and the fast make-readies and its quality control systems, we calculate that the new Lithrone G40 is around 40 percent more productive than the two older Lithrones put together!”