The Art of Printing
The contemporary photographs are striking. The walls are lined with
portraits, landscapes, and still lifes. It is an unusual
environment for a print shop, but not for Matthias Fuhrmann,
co-owner of Druckerei Conrad along with Karl-Heinz Zahn and also
the driving force behind two galleries. "We are involved in the art
scene and organize temporary exhibitions on our premises. Word gets
around." As a full-service company, Conrad produces, among other
things, posters, exhibition schedules and catalogs, program flyers,
invitations, and art magazines. Its customers include museums,
galleries, agencies, and service companies.
Skill generates sales
The field sales team is heavily involved in the art
scene. Many orders are generated through contacts with artists or
galleries. For example, when Neo Rauch's work was exhibited at
the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Conrad printed the
catalog. "Artists who commission us once to produce high quality
print products often contact us again when they want to display
their work elsewhere," explains Fuhrmann.
Matthias Fuhrmann and the new Speedmaster SM 102-8-P+L
Capturing tones perfectly
This customer loyalty is due to the company's feel for
art and the great care it takes with jobs. Customers can be heard
saying: "Go to Conrad, they've got the passion you need for
such a job." And this care starts already in the prepress
stage. To ensure consistently high quality, Conrad regularly prints
test forms, compares target values, and adapts the characteristic
curves to factor in any changes. Thanks to Prinect Image Control,
the process takes only a few minutes. This approach pays dividends,
particularly when it comes to critical color tones. "Anyone can
print bright colors, but it starts to get tricky when you hit gray
areas," explains Fuhrmann.
160,000 measurements in 25 seconds
Standardized printing is one of the basic requirement for any
print shop with ambition. However, Conrad also attaches great
importance to the skill of tailoring products to the customer's
precise needs. Artists in particular want to be able to fine-tune
the colors in proofs themselves in order to obtain the very finest
nuances. However, as every print is a reproduction, compromise is
sometimes essential despite all the efforts to the contrary - even
if the differences are barely discernible. "When we're
producing exhibition catalogs, we always get the artists involved
in the process. That way, they can assess the proofs themselves and
be sure that all their work is illustrated accurately," says
The print run only starts once the artists are happy with the
results. Throughout the production run, the colors are kept
constant by the Prinect Image Control system, which performs
measurements and makes any necessary corrections fully
automatically. Prinect Image Control is the only measurement system
to measure not just a print control strip but the entire print
sheet - taking up to 160,000 measurements in just 25 seconds.
Professional and cost-efficient
Conrad relies on the perfect interaction between manual
skills and state-of-the-art technology from Heidelberg. The company
recently invested in a Speedmaster SM 102-8-P+L press. "This
machine is extremely flexible and cost-effective. It enables us to
print sheets on one side with up to eight colors or on both sides
with four colors in a single pass," emphasizes Fuhrmann.
The coating unit delivers dazzling results and cost-effective
inline perforation. The Preset Plus Feeder makes it possible to
preset format and air values and to process voluminous book paper
with ease. Thanks to the extended delivery, even sheets that have
been printed and coated on both sides are added to the pile
accurately and without smearing. This paves the way for smooth and
high-quality postpress operations.
Paper is the biggest single factor in terms of both the CO2
balance and cost of printing. As a result, every millimeter counts.
"We sometimes reduce the white margin down to seven millimeters.
The dynamic sheet brakes in the delivery make this possible without
having to compromise on the print quality or production speed,"