Arti Grafiche Castello: from traditional typography to packaging company with Heidelberg as a technological reference point


Arti Grafiche Castello is a clear example of how a traditional graphics company, at a certain point in its journey, chooses to question itself to face new market challenges, changing its mentality and opening to new technologies. A journey that began about 10 years ago and is still evolving, with Heidelberg as the reference technological partner

Foto Gruppo persone Arti Grafiche Castello_Heidelberg

The company has recently celebrated 70 years of activity in the world of graphic industry, a sector in which Arti Grafiche Castello, located in Viadana (Mn), has been able to build a name and an excellent reputation for seriousness and reliability in the field of publishing and commercial printing, reaching to employ up to 50 people over the years. Paolo Bini, from a simple worker, he joined the company as a rag washer, slowly began to learn all the various phases of the production process and as often happens, passion takes over, and over the years he manages to take over the activity that soon became a family affair with the entry of his sons Alfredo and Massimo.

MK Easymatrix_Arti Grafiche Castello_1The turning point occurred approximately ten years ago, when also thanks to briefings with collaborators, including Elisabetta Zangelmi, company’s Marketing Manager and external consultants, it appeared completely clear that if the company had continued to propose itself on the market as always, simply because it has always been working in this way, it would have no future. The ownership then decides to follow a new path, and through a rebranding and repositioning activity on the market two new brands had been created, to mark the turning point and entry into the packaging market: Stampack for the engineering and production of 1 to millions of pieces with a mix of analogue and digital technologies and Mockapperia for the prototyping of packaging solutions.

“Today we are happy to have undertaken a new path, otherwise I don’t know where we would have ended up, but it certainly wasn’t easy, especially from a mentality point of view, adapting to the needs of a different market compared to publishing and commercial printing market. Growing in paper, with runs of millions and millions of sheets to print and having to adapt to a market where you print a single copy and having to manage packaging, displays with different delivery and procurement times, required a great effort starting from us owners, from our closest collaborators up to all the operators in production. I must say that in any case the group has remained united and compact and together we are facing this new adventure with enthusiasm”, tells us Alfredo Bini, who today, after the death of his father, manages the company with his brother Massimo.

The pleasant rediscovery of the consultancy phase

asymatrix_AG Castello_2Among the positive aspects that Arti Grafiche Castello has pleasantly discovered in the new adventure in the packaging sector there is certainly the importance of the consultancy phase, which together with a whole series of services such as graphics and design, planning and processing, prototypes and mockups up to logistics and warehouse, are the real driving force of this company which supports the customer or the communication agency right from the initial phases of the project, when ideas are still not clear, to build together a captivating and winning path, made of unique sampling and rendering software through which, for example, you can show the customer your own package next to the others, directly on the shelf, or even study touchpoints that link from the packaging to digital channels, depending on the customer’s objectives.

“In publishing printing, the consultancy aspect has been heavily reduced for over 20 years, but we have found it predominantly in the packaging, because when it comes to packaging, it is precisely from the study of the product and the skills and needs of the customer on the one hand and from our know-how on the other that successful solutions are born that we see every day on the supermarket shelves”, intervenes Alfredo Bini.

The reference markets are mainly cosmetics and food, on which Arti Grafiche Castello intends to focus heavily on future also by virtue of the UNI EN ISO 22000:2018 certification relating to packaging in contact with food. The rest of the production is aimed at various sectors that are very attentive to the quality of their printed communication, above all para-pharmaceuticals, small household appliances, household items, textiles and brushes.

Heidelberg is a long-standing technological partner, from printing to packaging with the new Easymatrix 106 CS die-cutting machine

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The combination Arti Grafiche Castello and Heidelberg has always represented an indissoluble point of strength, it was especially so for Paolo for whom the German manufacturer represented a value to be proud of and to resell on the market as synonymous of reliability and quality of work.

Today, in place of the 10-colour machine configured for editorial printing and all bookbinding equipment, still present although less used than in the past, we still find two Heidelberg Speedmaster 70×100 which print paper and cardboard, but also a digital production workflow with printing and cutting plotter for sampling and small productions.

“Given that in recent years we changed the way we present ourselves to the market, giving more importance to what and why we do rather than how we produce our works, we recognize Heidelberg as a very important partner for us, who has supported us and with which we have grown over the course of our history, from prepress, to printing and since a few months also to packaging, given that we decided to purchase, after a careful and in-depth analysis of the market, an Easymatrix 106 CS die-cutting machine, the first machine on which Heidelberg logo appears as a business partner of MK”, adds Alfredo, also specifying that Heidelberg is a partner of Arti Grafiche Castello also with regards to software solutions, from packaging engineering CAD to workflow management software.

The need to include a die-cutting machine internally arose from a simple cost analysis from which it emerged that the amount allocated to die-cutting on behalf of third parties was growing to a level that justified the investment, initially for a machine with 50×70 format but which then, also thinking with a long-term perspective, arrived to 70×100, retraining an operator from the increasingly less busy bookbinding department. This operator was able to manage the machine in a short time, also thanks to the support and training provided by MK technicians.

Even today, Arti Grafiche Castello assigns to subcontractors jobs, which, in addition to die-cutting, require folding and gluing, managing everything else internally.

“Arti Grafiche Castello is an example of how with foresight and the desire to look to the future of printing, a company can be converted by facing new challenges. As Heidelberg we are happy to support them in various departments of the company, not least in die cutting with this new Easymatrix 106 CS, an extremely reliable and productive machine, ideal for the already experienced company but versatile and simple even for a company that is just starting out experiences with a die. It is a bestselling product and I am sure that it will be able to support Arti Grafiche Castello in its development path in packaging”, adds Lorenzo Ariberti, Business Driver Postpress of Heidelberg Italia.

The simplicity and productivity of this die-cutting machine, equipped with a non-stop delivery function, has already been tested by some jobs by Arti Grafiche Castello, which managed to die-cut very small layouts with runs of 500 sheets as well as 30.000 pieces at maximum speed.

Great satisfaction also on the versatility side: the Easymatrix 106 CS stood out for the die-cutting of a particular product such as Polyart 110 grams, a plastic material, up to laminated microwave cardboard to produce cheese boxes or, in general, for food products. “If we hadn’t had the Easymatrix 106 CS in-house, we wouldn’t have been able to deliver the cheese boxes on time to the large food group that was waiting for them to package and ship the product to Mexico. Die-cut in record time on a Saturday morning, in the afternoon at 2pm we managed to deliver the boxes”, concludes Alfredo, with a smile that is now more serene as he thinks about the future of his company and its precious collaborators in a stimulating and lively sector like that of packaging, where the company intends to continue to grow, also thinking of exploring neighboring but different markets such as that of fle xible packaging and labels. But this is another story that we will be ready to tell you next time.

Twirly and Circle, two innovative and patented solutions

Developed by the ingenuity and know-how of Mockapperia designers and created by Stampack, the only cardboard converting company with the DigitalMix system, Twirly and Circle are two innovative solutions, capable of enhancing the brand through packaging, representative among the many Origami-Packs that Arti Grafiche Castello designs and creates every day.

Twirly is the package that opens and closes, exactly like the bottle it contains. It is a project that was born from the idea of origami and was patented in 2018, also Circle, a circular packaging made of paper and without any glue point. The dimensions, materials, graphics, colors and finishes of all Origami-Packs can be customized in infinite variations to preserve and present a gift, rather than a product, with particular attention to sustainability and the reuse of packaging.