Innovative Partnership in Printing Industry: Walstead Central Europe and Power4Logic

Walstead Central Europe, part of Europe’s largest printing group Walstead Group, has been a leader in the production of magazines, catalogs, manuals and directories for more than 25 years, serving both retail chains as well as manufacturers and distributors of goods.  

Located in Poland, three state-of-the-art printing plants, including two in Krakow and one in Starachowice, form the company’s operational core. Utilizing the latest technologies, Walstead Central Europe is able to produce prints of varying sizes, volumes and complexity, meeting the most demanding customer expectations.

The company has multiple production lines capable of producing several million copies of publications within a day.  

Requirements and Needs of Walstead

As part of its strategy to differentiate itself in the market, Walstead Central Europe has set itself the goal of improving its logistics processes. Instead of investing in new, expensive and unproven technologies, the company focused on optimizing existing logistics and production processes. The main goal of the project was to reduce costs associated with suboptimal storage of raw materials and to speed up the process of acclimatizing them, mainly paper. 

The majority of the paper used by Walstead is imported from abroad, including from Scandinavian countries, where the climatic conditions significantly differ from those in Polish warehouses. 

After hours of transportation, the paper often has an improper temperature for direct use in the printing process. A key technological requirement was to create an environment enabling the quick adjustment of paper temperature and humidity to optimal production conditions, which is essential for ensuring high-quality final prints. 

Walstead also aimed to improve internal transport management. By continuously monitoring the movement of carts and their precise routes, the company aimed to better plan and coordinate internal logistics, minimizing downtime and the number of empty trips. 

The solution proposed by us was the implementation of the Power4Logic Asset Tracking system (formerly known as Hive Asset), in which a network of sensors continuously monitors essential parameters for Walstead. This resulted in the creation of virtual maps depicting temperature and humidity in various parts of the factory, among other things. 

Challenges During the Project 

During the implementation of the Power4Logic monitoring system at Walstead, several challenges were encountered related to the unique features of the warehouses and the characteristics of the stored materials. 

The main issue turned out to be the nature of the raw material – paper stored in large bales, which, due to their weight, density and bulk, significantly screened the signal used by the temperature monitoring system. 

In the case of forklifts, the challenge was to install sensors in a way that antennas could effectively capture the signal. This task required not only technical ingenuity but also a deep understanding of the object’s characteristics and how stored materials and utilized devices could affect the signal.  

We also faced a logical challenge in managing a large number of different types and specializations of forklifts. Each of them had unique properties and requirements, further complicating the process of integrating the monitoring system. 

Additionally, to ensure reliability and continuity of data transmission, it was necessary to increase the number of gateways to nearly 40. Such dense installation was essential due to the specific characteristics of the hall and signal attenuation, which in turn required precise planning and testing of device deployment throughout the facility. 

Implemented solution 

The Power4Logic system, equipped with advanced sensors for temperature, humidity, light and acceleration, provides Walstead with precise data, ensuring real-time control over readings. 

The installation of more than 200 of such sensors in various areas of the warehouse has made it possible to create a detailed heat map of the facility. This innovative solution enables Walstead to: 

  • Precisely determine where best to store paper so that it adapts more quickly to the appropriate conditions for printing 
  • Identify where the optimal conditions are for long-term storage of paper – a material that is particularly sensitive to changes in humidity, which can lead to interruptions in the printing process and significant financial losses 
  • Monitor temperature and humidity at different heights of the warehouse, where variations in conditions can be significant. 

Receivers strategically placed overhead collect and transmit data gathered by sensors to a central server. A network of nearly 40 receivers ensures coverage of the entire factory area, enabling continuous monitoring and rapid response to any deviations from the norm. Additionally, the server can be programmed to send alerts to the client in case of detected irregularities, allowing for swift responses to potential threats to raw material quality.  

The implementation of the system also brought significant benefits in the management of internal transport. By installing sensors on forklifts, Walstead gained the ability to track their location and movement directions, reducing the number of unnecessary or empty trips. 

Benefits of implementing Power4Logic Asset Tracking 

The implementation of the Power4Logic system has significantly reduced raw material acclimation time, enabling Walstead to use printing paper more quickly.  

Advanced monitoring of temperature and humidity in the warehouse also allowed for a reduction in inventory levels without affecting production continuity. This increases operational and financial efficiency for Walstead by: 

“The implementation of the Power4Logic system has brought us a number of benefits, from the optimization of logistics processes, to increased operational efficiency, to a significant reduction in inventory costs. I evaluate the cooperation with SKK LogisticsData very positively – not only for the solutions we were offered, but also for the non-standard flexibility. From the beginning of the project we could count on professional consulting tailored to our needs and the specifics of the company. After-sales and service support was also essential – in these areas we could also rely on help from SKK LogisticsData”. 

– adds Marcin Chybiak, Director of Distribution and Logistics at Walstead Central Europe.

In Addition, precise monitoring of paper storage conditions reduces the risk of using raw materials with the improper parameters, resulting in less waste as well as lower production and disposal costs for defective materials. Importantly, the investment in the professional system paid for itself in less than two years. 

Contact Us

Patryk Dondziak

Vice President

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