Soma Engineering has supplied an eight colour, Soma Flex Midi II flexographic printing press to Bemust d.o.o.

The 1100mm wide, web fed press will be used to print high quality paper, films and foils and meet increased production capacity in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina based company.

Bemust was originally established as a publishing house in 1997 following the end of the war in Bosnia. The company subsequently invested in offset printing and finishing equipment for the production of brochures, book covers, calendars and school stationary and quickly established an enviable reputation as a key supplier in the region. Ten years after it was established, the company took the key decision to invest in carton making equipment and is now the exclusive supplier to two of the largest tobacco and pharmaceutical companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Recognising the potential of flexographic printing as a tool in its expansion programme, Bemust subsequently started to investigate the possibilities offered by this Technology.

“The company was established by my father with the express intention of helping and providing work for displaced families following the genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” says founder’s son, Harun Bećirović. “Step by step and with year on year growth, the company is now one of the foremost graphic arts companies in the region with 90 employees.”

Research on adding flexographic printing capabilities and equipment started in 2009 and a decision in favour of the Soma Midi II press followed towards the end of 2010. The investment expanded the company’s product offering to flexible packaging enabling it to print high quality graphics on a wide range of paper, films and foils. “In terms of added value, our customers are now able to buy almost anything they need from one supplier,” says Bećirović. “Graphics can be printed to suit or with a common theme to match cartons with flexible packaging or other products and we are also able to offer lower prices than other EU competitors, due to reduced labour costs with faster delivery times. The press currently runs 10 to 15 hours a day at speeds of 180-250m/min with average print runs of 200m/min. However, we are currently finalising on over 200 different printing projects and following pre-press and proofing approval, we anticipate running the machine at full capacity, 24 hours a day.”

The Soma Midi ll is available for printing widths from 820mm to 1270mm and maximum repeat lengths of 800mm. The press is aimed at short and medium print runs and is optimised for fast and seamless job changes. High quality printing is achieved through a combination of robust machine engineering and design features using top quality components. “We have focussed on ensuring the frames and bearings sections of this machine have maximum rigidity and strength combined with the latest drive technology available,” says Pavla Kusa, Soma Brand Manager. “Optimisation of these two parameters gives the machine superior anti-vibration properties with excellent print quality at speeds up to 450m/min. We are able to use top quality components and reduce press cost due to the lower labour costs in the Czech Republic which gives customers a much faster return on investment.”

“Because we had to buy a machine capable of producing work for the largest tobacco company in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we decided to purchase the best available and one that could run both paper as well as foils,” adds Bećirović. “Another key factor in our decision was the ability of the supplier to meet the financial constraints and timing issues set by our bank. Soma understands these issues from experience and was flexible enough to work with us on reaching a solution. Some suppliers don’t understand how differently markets operate and lose the opportunity to make a sale because of it. We opted for SOMA because they met our needs and because we were convinced of the engineering and print quality we saw during the last ICE Munich. When you combine quality with good marketing and management you get results.”

On discussing current trends for digital, Bećirović is not convinced of the viability of this technology and foresees flexo printing on flexible packaging as the future for Bemust. “Flexo will see many new innovations in print quality and is becoming comparable with gravure. The latter is an expensive process and many countries with their economies in crisis are cutting costs. Small and large producers of food will favour flexo because they will not have the money to spend. New start-up companies will also opt for flexo printed packaging because it costs less to produce.”