In 1922, Joseph De Bie, great-grandfather to the current managers, Bart and Johan, founded the De Bie printing house. He bought a manual platen press and some cabinets with loose lead printing letters. Together with 4 of his sons he went to work, and Drukkerij De Bie at 19 Maasfortbaan in Lier was founded.
In the early period they mainly printed newspapers (Advertising leaflet ‘de zoeker’ in 1934 and the programme for cinema Roskam, April 1937), booklets (H-family parish booklet 1929) and printed items for occasions
Unlike his 3 brothers, Koen De Bie, grandfather to the current management, stayed on to work in the still very young original printing house. He moved Drukkerij De Bie a few houses further up, to 11 Maasfortbaan. Gust De Bie, the 4th brother, started a Drukkerij De Bie at 5 Maasfortbaan. They were brothers, neighbours and competitors!
Koen De Bie invested in a printing press that was very modern at the time: the Heidelberg Platen Press. During WWII the printing house was forced to shut down for a few years. After 1945 Koen De Bie took up the thread again and re-started Drukkerij De Bie at 11 Maasfortbaan in Lier. He immediately bought a second Heidelberg printing press and a folding machine.
In 1956, the first expansion took place with the purchase of two adjoining houses on the Zaat in Lier. The printing house remained there until April 2002. In that period, Drukkerij De Bie grew into a household name in Lier.
In the early 60’s, Jef De Bie (father), named after his grandfather, joined the printing house. This was the 3rd generation at Drukkerij De Bie!
Pa Jef De Bie chose resolutely for the future and invested for the first time in the offset process. The increasing numbers of customers found this to be a successful choice. Soon Jef had to buy a second and larger offset machine.
The printing house and the buildings on the Zaat grew steadily. In 1973 there was an expansion with a new finishing and paper warehouse, in 1984 a film assembly department was added and in 1995 a completely new digital pre-press.
Bart and Johan De Bie, the fourth and current generation of printers, started working their way into the family business in the early 90’s. In 1996 they officially took over Drukkerij De Bie LLC operations.
The very first acquisition followed in 1997, when the Mechelen printing company Albers Printing PLC was acquired. A portion of the production then temporarily took place in Mechelen. Manager Joep Albers had no successors and he saw the brothers De Bie as driven professionals who could continue his life’s work.
In March 2001, Drukkerij De Bie opened a new SME branch on the Nijverheidsstraat in Duffel-oost. A small, but well situated and environmentally friendly SME zone between Lier and Mechelen. Construction work began in September 2001 and on April 15, 2002 the centralisation and relocation to the new site occurred. At the same time, three modern Heidelberg Speedmaster printing presses were added, more than doubling the printing capacity. In May 2002, a digital pre-press workflow with an automated computer-to-plate machine was added.
In January 2005, the then showpiece, the Heidelberg Speedmaster CD 74 5-colour printing press, was put into use.
A brand new Speedmaster 4-colour press replaced the Speedmaster 2-colour press in August 2006, which was only 4 years old at the time.
In 2008 Drukkerij De Bie took over Albatros Printing in Boechout. This was an important expansion step and provided a solid synergy for the complementary companies.
After acquiring Albatros Printing, focus went to the expansion of the company’s buildings. This took place over a year, and allowed Albatros Printing to find a good ‘home’ under the wings of Drukkerij De Bie. In 2010, both staff and machines were moved to the Duffel site, which was almost three times larger in terms of size. Environmentally friendly modifications to the infrastructure took priority. Solar panels generate 300,000 kW of electricity for the company. At the same time, three new printing presses are installed, including an 8-colour machine, 5 colours with varnish and a 2-colour machine.
A new opportunity presented itself in August 2010: Drukkerij De Bie commited to furthering Stockmans’ calendar production. Stockmans is a specialist in the field of wire-o calendars and this expertise was a welcome addition to Drukkerij De Bie’s range of services. Stockmans Kalendars is a household name and market leader in B2B calendars and has therefore maintained its own name.
After several years of fruitful cooperation, it was time to consolidate De Bie and Albatros. Albatros Printing enfolds completely into the large De Bie family.
Drukkerij De Bie is the first in the Benelux to have the Heidelberg Low Energy-UV printing technology in house. Using light for printing and drying is a new process offering many new possibilities, including printing on stickers, tracing paper and static materials. The printed matter dries quickly and is immediately ready for packaging and use. It’s a dream!
Foreign customers discover the many assets of this strongly grown family business. To reinforce its international ambitions, Drukkerij De Bie changed its name to De Bie Printing. In August 2015, Peeters & Peeters joined De Bie with the explicit intention of expanding the letterpress capabilities of Peeters & Peeters and to become the market leader in Belgium.
De Bie Printing is the 2016 VOKA (Flanders’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry) ambassador. De Bie Printing chose for an environmentally friendly Opel Combo CNG for its smaller and faster deliveries. De Bie printing became a ‘recognized internship company 2016-2017’.
Drukkerij Van Goethem acquired by De Bie Printing
Antilope Printing from Lier and the De Bie Printing group from Duffel join forces and form one graphics industry group under the name Antilope De Bie.
Printing house Favorit Printing from Hoboken (Antwerp) joins the Antilope De Bie group in Duffel and Lier.