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Foundry since 1877

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Mechanical engineering for the graphic industry

A successful combination: twice DA 290 for game manufacturer

Board games and puzzles have been growing steadily in popularity and this growth accelerated during the corona pandemic and the resulting lockdowns. In the face of rising demand and also to meet its own escalating quality criteria and the demands of up-to-date production processes, the games manufacturer Ludo Fact in Jettingen-Scheppach, in…

Ludo Fact GmbH is Europe’s leading independent manufacturer of board games and puzzles. The family-run business located in Jettingen-Scheppach in southern Germany, produces over 70,000 board games and puzzles a day, supplying around 200 games publishers around the world. This adds up to roughly 16.5 million product units a year, with an average production run of around 6000 units. The company not only produces game components, it will also assemble and package whole games and then ship the finished products.

The Challenge
In spring 2020, in the face of continuous order growth and escalating expectations for product quality, Ludo Fact decided to make far-reaching investments to upgrade the machine park of its lamination production area. Driving the decision was the recognition that existing equipment, already 16 years old, was no longer adequate in terms of performance, quality, efficiency and availability, or service and maintenance. Recognising that the production of game boards and push-out figure sheets has clear similarities with the production of book covers and premium packaging, Ludo Fact consulted KOLBUS, a company with solid expertise in producing premium products working with lined and laminated board. The fact that KOLBUS machines are capable of turning up and gluing lining edges was decisive. In addition, Ludo Fact was very clear that they needed a system with the facility to laminate both sides of a sheet. The company decided to commission KOLBUS to engineer a system that met their criteria.

The Solution
Working closely with Ludo Fact specialists, KOLBUS engineers developed a completely new production line by linking up two of KOLBUSʼs proven DA 290 casemakers. The DA 290 is capable of processing large-format sheets, up to 1050 x 735 mm, at 40 cycles/minute. In addition, it offers a very high level of automation – from the pallet feeder right through to the output stacker. Other features include outstanding handling and ergonomics, high-precision material guidance and great operational flexibility. For example, the DA 290 can operate not only with dispersion glues, but also with hotmelt gelatine (hot protein glue). Operator inputs can take place while the system is in full operation; at the same time, the system delivers the highest process reliability. The challenge, working with these two machines, was to achieve non-stop production while guaranteeing that both sides of each sheet were in register. Decisive in achieving register accuracy was the precise orientation of the sheets achievable with the DA 290. The two-sided laminating system, which finally went into operation in September 2021 in Jettingen-Scheppach, is not only a world first, but to date the only system of its type anywhere in the world.

The Benefits
This KOLBUS system has enabled Ludo Fact to achieve higher product quality, to boost productivity by roughly a third and also to sharply reduce susceptibility to outages. These benefits together with the productive cooperation throughout the development process has confirmed Ludo Factʼs choice of KOLBUS as an engineering partner. KOLBUS experts also supported the company so effectively throughout the integration of the new system in the production processes that integration was achieved without any drop in output. The cooperation has continued in the form of ongoing development focussed on further optimising programming, speed and set-up times. A major aspect of the cooperation is the real-time link to the KOLBUS Service team.