Bartel Printing www.bartelprinting.com may have humble surroundings but its work for some very influential local customers has a huge impact on a worldwide stage. And the single largest purchase ever by the woman-owned company in late 2012, a state-of-the-art Wohlenberg perfect binding system from Colter & Peterson www.papercutters.com and supplemented with a three knife trimmer, has played a key role in the printer recording the two highest income years in its 45 years of operation.
Warsaw, Indiana is small in stature but it owns a big reputation in the medical community. Located about 40 miles west of Fort Wayne, the town – population 13,500 – has the distinction of being the “Orthopedics Capital of the World”; it is home to three of the world’s five largest orthopedic medical device companies and many related businesses.
Bartel Printing has been a fixture on the local landscape since 1970, says VP Murray Bartel, whose parents began the business. Murray began working there in 1980 and his wife, Penny, serves as President of the Womens Business Enterprise National Council certified company that has operated out of the 18,000 square-foot space on Cedar Street for the last 15 years.
Bartel Printing provides its fair share of basic printing needs but Binding Services – which includes coil, comb, perfect and spiral binding – is its bread and butter. While most of the customer base is local, the majority is orthopedic that extends overseas.
“Our larger customers have a global presence in Europe and Asia, and many have been with us since Day 1,” informs Mr. Bartel. “Most of the orthopedic work is black and white and we print paperback books in 26 languages. The average run length is typically between 10,000 to 50,000 copies, but it reaches as high as 100,000 six to eight times a year.”
Bartel said the decision to purchase the Wohlenberg City e perfect binding system from Colter & Peterson in 2012 was a gradual, three-to-five year process.
“We originally bought a Heidelberg perfect binder because our larger customers were switching from folded paper to perfect bound books. But we underestimated the sheer volume of work and the machine wasn’t big or fast enough to keep up with the demand. We went through several different perfect binders during this period. All of them would show promise from the beginning, but they would go downhill and we experienced problems with each one after the third or fourth job that couldn’t be fixed.”
It was during this time that Bartel saw the Wohlenberg system in the Colter & Peterson booth at a Graph Expo show in Chicago, but didn’t act on it. Gradually, a combination of increased business and the 12 station gathering system won him over and he pulled the trigger on the deal in mid-2012.
“2013 would become a record income year for us, and last year was very good as well,” said Bartel about the eight employee business. “We don’t run the machine full speed but it can run up to 7,000 books per hour. Our two-man operation runs it one shift per day and they average between 150,000 to 200,000 books per week. The smallest size is 2-1/4” x 3” and the largest books are up to 9” x 12”, and are between 20 to 140 pages in length.”
Dynamic drive technology, touch screen operation and quick changeovers are just a few of the benefits associated with the perfect binding system and the 60e inline automatic three knife trimmer, which trims the three sides of the books after it is made by the City e perfect binder.
“The Wohlenberg perfect binding system is very unique to our operation. It is very easy to produce make-ready quickly, it has touch control ease and the machine automatically adjusts itself. The speed is ideal for us and does everything the other machines could not do.”