11 December 2017

Meet Jan Verner, the father of Optima2

In this issue of our newsletter we would like to introduce Jan Verner Dipl.-Ing. Mech. Eng. In this issue of our newsletter we would like to introduce Jan Verner Dipl.-Ing. Mech. Eng. He is the main designer of the Optima2 printing press and also the son of the company's owner whose profession continues in the family tradition.

Jan Verner joined SOMA team in 2011, but had already been employed on a part-time basis during his university studies. Jan was also at the inception of the concept created for Optima printing press launched at K Show in 2013 and became familiarized with the development of the press at all stages. Optima2 was the first press he was solely responsible for.

Jan Verner describes how long he has been working on the development of Optima2 printing press: "The development of flexographic printing presses is an on going process at SOMA. Even when we are not working on a particular project, we are thinking about upgrading technical levels of SOMA machines and moving it forward. Development time for a new Optima2 model was the time period between drupa 2012 and 2016 where the new model was officially launched. Due to the relatively significant changes in printing deck design, we tested new prototype designs as a small printing unit. The results from the prototype trials gave us a plenty of enthusiasm for the final design work on Optima2 press. Overall, the development lasted almost 3 years and I am pleased that we could successfully launch the press at drupa 2016. This excellent result was due of the entire team of designers who were involved in the development.” Optima2 differs from competitors´ machines with a highly flexible concept meeting a wide variety of specific customer´s requirements. The press was designed to be robust to raise the boundaries of print stability and flexographic printing quality.

“During the development of the Optima2 press, we were aiming to make no compromises and were not afraid to make fundamental changes that will lead to a significant improvement in the quality of the final product. An example being the advanced bounce control feature, allowing the printing of challenging designs at exceptional higher speeds. Finally great emphasis is included in SOMA machines to produce an attractive and highly functional design,” adds Jan.

And what are the stage that the designer has to go through during the development of the new press? According to Jan Verner, there are no generally valid phases for each designer: "I can only speak for myself. My profession is specific because there is often a long time period between the work itself and the objective assessment of the outcome. It constantly brings some degree of uncertainty which you need to be able to work with. There is an indirect proportion between the experience behind the designer and the degree of uncertainty. Personally, I consider this feeling of insecurity very important because it means that someone is always courageous in finding new ways instead of using those familiar and safe, which he has gone through many times. The risk that the new paths are just blind streets is worth the feeling when you're the first to the finish."

Is it more difficult to design a brand new press or to upgrade an existing model? "Honestly every new press is just an innovation or a new combination of already known. On the other hand, every innovation is naturally something new. Therefore, it is difficult for me to distinguish it. Finally, it is again the necessary degree of uncertainty that both procedures bring," says Jan Verner. Each press also has its own soul, according to him: "Anyone involved in the creation of the press left a piece of his soul within the press."

Optima and Jan Verner
Jan Verner´s team with its chief designer in the middle

Interesting facts

Dipl.-Ing. Mech. Eng. Degree at Czech Technical University in Prague
Hobbies: family, tennis, floorball, running

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Petra Maresova

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Petra Maresova, PR Manager