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Quality paves the way to new opportunities

For Frederik Möller and wide-format print service provider CCL in Hamburg, Germany, superior quality and perfect execution are what counts. Not surprisingly, he opted for a Zünd digital cutting system to increase productivity and expand the company's product offering.

One of the first things one notices about CCL Hamburg is the enormous product palette. There is almost nothing within the scope of wide-format digital printing the company doesn't handle – from textile to films and vinyls, to wall coverings, canvas and leather, PVC, aluminum, as well as glass, plexi, and wood. As an additional service for its retail and wholesale customers, CCL also contour routes, finishes, and on request, assembles.

30 years ago, owner and CEO Frederik Möller started the company as a professional photo lab. Back then, wide-format digital printing was still rather exotic, so the company's focus was primarily on developing and processing photographs. When a few years later digital photo processing began to make inroads and the first laser imagesetters became available, CCL began using such a system to produce large-format slides and photo prints. In the intervening years, the company has always kept up with new developments and continually updated its equipment. When it began running out of space, CCL relocated to new, larger facilities in Hamburg's Bergfelde area in 2008. In subsequent years, when wide-format printing started coming into its own, the field became more and more crowded with competitors, and customers began demanding shorter and shorter delivery times. This is what prompted CCL to invest in new UV-, latex-, and wide-format printing equipment that used water-based inks suitable for all common flexible and rigid substrates.

Aiming for faster production
As the order volume increased and with it, the demand for finishing, Frederik Möller quickly realized the company's existing finishing equipment was nearing capacity. „While I was continually investing in the latest wide-format printing technology — our newest and, to date, largest printer has been in operation for no more than six months – I realized in early 2016 that we would have to further automate our production. As a means to fight competitive price pressures, we needed to considerably speed up our finishing processes including cutting, routing, creasing, and drilling – all operations we were largely still performing by hand.“ The purchase of a digital cutting system presented itself as an obvious solution for effectively increasing productivity. This is where the Zünd G3 came into play. Asked why he opted for a Zünd digital cutting system, Frederik Möller explains: „I have to confess, I have always been impressed with Swiss craftsmanship and quality of construction. What also played into my decision was the fact that many years before, when Zünd was still making wide-format printers, I had one in operation for a long time and it never once failed me.“ That is why in 2016, he decided to invest in a Zünd G3 L-2500 cutting system – a decision Möller came to after visiting the Zünd manufacturing facilities in Altstätten, Switzerland, and one he has never regretted. In comparison to some competitive systems, the Zünd came with a higher price tag, but for him, quality was the deciding factor.

The G3 was installed at CCL in September 2016 and easily integrated in the existing production workflow. This was followed by complete on-site training. On the topic of service, Frederik Möller points to the quick response time of the Zünd service team in Switzerland – a benefit that was particularly valuable in that initial phase.

New products, new customers
Nowadays CCL is using the Zünd cutter for processing nearly all materials, regardless of whether they involve cutting, creasing, engraving, drilling, or routing. This is where the flexibility of the Zünd digital cutting system and its modular design constitute a huge advantage, states Möller emphatically. Production steps that used to be very time consuming are now automated, and change-overs to different tools are a breeze. The new Zünd cutter has also made it possible for us to get involved in new applications. The option to automatically and very accurately route contours has permitted us to further expand our product offering and has attracted new orders and new customers. „We have been able to add to our product line highly popular items such as wall decorations, designer and display objects, standees and figures, and even shower screens and kitchen backsplashes made of acrylics,“ explains Frederik Möller. „This is how I significantly expanded our product palette and, in the process, gained many new customers.“

Quality without compromise
When asked what customers appreciate most about the work his company does, the CEO says it is primarily the quality, consistency, perfect color matching, and just-in-time delivery, as well as the consulting they do for their customers and the relationships they are able to establish. As full-service PSP, CCL often has to deal with very demanding customers, predominantly in the Northern regions of Germany. With its online business, the company has recently started expanding its customer base throughout Germany. This comes as no surprise since, unlike online-only businesses, CCL has a significant edge when it comes to flexibility in format and materials as well as in its ability to honor special requests. Furthermore, no product leaves the premises without a final inspection by the boss himself. Frederik Möller attaches a great deal of importance to jobs being done perfectly and is always happy to find unusual ones that really challenge him.

Caption: Frederik Möller, CCL owner and CEO