KERN HAS CLOSED ITS DOORS ON what will be regarded as a highly successful Open House last week, attracting more than 1,000 visitors from more than 30 countries to the factory in Münsingen in Switzerland.
In concept the event follows the model set by Hunkeler with partner suppliers invited to demonstrate how their equipment integrates with Kern's enclosing systems to deliver printed products. And while transactional jobs dominated, direct mail applications are increasingly important, and with the 130 slitter and sheeter, it demonstrated how Kern can be involved with digital book production.
THE COMPANY IS HOPING TO EXPAND its presence in continuous feed printing as inkjet technology expands the market. It is positioned to supply module components, like reel unwinders and rewinders, to press suppliers handling a sale to rival Hunkeler or Lasermax.
At the Open House there were page scanning systems to ensure the integrity of pages being inserted into envelopes, and Impika print heads to use inkjet to print addresses or promotional details on the completed packs.
KERN USED THE EVENT TO SHOWCASE THE high speed 3600, which takes over as the flagship insetting line running at 27,000 cph and the more flexible 5000 which will spearhead the offering for direct mail houses. There were also outings for an envelope wrapping concept which uses a laser to cut the shape of the enclosing flap rather than a die.
A further development concept from the r&d department is a rotary feeder being developed to meet customer requirements for handling a wider range of paper types.
THE SUCCESS OF THE OPEN HOUSE the importance of this type of event compared to a traditional equipment exhibition. Kern decided early in not to attend Ipex this year and Kern UK general manager Peter Jolley says this has proved the right choice."We can show everything under one, in collaboration with hardware and software partners," he says.
Uli Kern, whose father Marc started the business in 1947 adds: ”We were pleasantly surprised by the response from customers and prospects. The partners we invited sent senior people, not just sales executives. We think that printers are in a better position today to make decisions than at the time of Ipex.
“HERE WE ARE IN OUR OWN ENVIRONMENT so we can be more relaxed than we could be at an exhibition where there are too many showing equipment and therefore too many distractions. Here we have the space.”
The results so far are encouraging enough for Kern to commit to a further event, perhaps inviting more people to stay a little longer. “We are very motivated to do it again,” says Kern, “And we’ll start to plan earlier so that we improve the set up we have.”
The event attracted the participation of Screen and Canon, both of which sent inkjet presses, Ricoh with a cut sheet machine and Horizon with BQ270 binder and trimmer. There was also a Hunkeler reel unit on the floor.