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The origins and José Antonio San Martín.

Composiciones Rali was set up in 1962 in Bilbao, thanks to the combination of a local wealthy family’s investment and the profession of Arturo Ruiz, a linotypist from the first typesetting company in the north of the country, Cometit from Pamplona.

At the same time, José Antonio San Martín successfully completed his vocational training in Madrid. With a qualification as a typesetting technician and a year’s training in representative companies in the sector in the capital (Héroes, ABC, Estades, Bermejo and Pablo López), he landed in Bilbao in December 1963 at the age of 19, and started working in La Gaceta.

He combined his night shift with an afternoon job paid by the hour in a company called Composiciones Rali. However he soon started to see an opportunity in supplying to printers and started up Josan with a very old linotype machine rented from Boston in Barakaldo.

Towards the end of 1964, Composiciones Rali crossed his path again, now located in new facilities in Particular de Costa Street. This time it was permanent, despite his imminent departure for the military service.

After graduating and returning to the company at the head of the workshop, he soon saw his independence limited by the active presence of the family owners. Finally, they decided to sell him the company in view of the inevitable separation, offering him long term payment facilities. Rali had four linotype machines running 24 hours over three shifts.

Composiciones Rali.

Over the following 30 years, José Antonio San Martín proved to have an extraordinary ability to react when faced with problems and attracting clients and projects which have provided a large and continuous volume of work, such as, at different times, the UNED, the Congreso Mundial Vasco, Fundación Mapfre or the publishing house CISS and the digitalization of judgements for La Ley.

Rali is the protagonist of our graphic history, a constant reference and pioneer of phototypesetting in the 70’s and 80’s and desktop publishing in the 90’s. It has been present in the whole country thanks to branches in Pamplona, Seville, Valencia and Madrid, to provide an on-site service to large clients. It is also the mother Company of the photomechanical Tratex, originally focused on promotional and advertising products, with Rali specializing in the publishing market.


The introduction of the new phototypesetting systems was gradual. It started with electro-mechanics in 1971 with an optical lens system to expand the body of the types and titles. The strong and prolonged investment is compensated thanks to the fact that Rali successfully lengthens the life of its linotype machines.

Electronic phototypesetting appeared in the mid 1970’s, equipped with automatisms and was therefore quick and reliable. On different media, from punched tape to magnetic tape, with diskettes for data storage. The different systems appeared in five year cycles, with specific imagesetters: Photon, M system, Berthold, Pentax and 8000 system.

The most advanced systems included automatic layout and Rali did not take long to take the leap to Desktop publishing. Initially it was a market limited to professionals, until Adobe PostScript technology applied to the Apple Macintosh system made it accessible to the average user.

21st Century. Full prepress: Text and image.

José Antonio San Martín retired in 1999. He rejected an offer from the Zeta Group who were interested in the European portfolio and reached an agreement with his trusted staff to provide continuity.

Before that, in 1996, Rali started working with the newly established Publications Office of the European Union under the guidance of the Sales Manager Evelio González. To overcome the stigma of the Southern countries, we had to conform to the Quality Management Regulations UNE-EN ISO 9001. Rali was the first Spanish Company in the sector to do so and it is currently the only Spanish graphic provider of the European Union. It is the official European market with its healthy margins which compensates for the saturated national market.

In 2005, Rali was the awardee of the auxiliary phototypesetting of the Official Gazette of Biscay, a tender which was renewed four years later and ensures a monthly income which is key for us in these last difficult years.

Despite the painful and costly restructuring, Rali has not given up. We are not just waiting. In fact, now we have a great opportunity as there aren’t any companies left with the expertise and potential demanded by publishing houses, nor with the service culture needed by the Public Administration.

Since January 2014, the Official State Gazette Agency and Wolters Kluwer have provided constant orders to our machinery room, located in the same building in one of the few industrial streets in the centre of Bilbao to which Composiciones Rali moved to 50 years ago.


Rali, the Added Value of Graphic Arts, since 1962.

Composiciones Rali is facing the revolutionary technological scenario and new market rules by being faithful to the formula that has made it a reference in the sector: respect for the profession and the way things are done. Commitment and service.

Our staff team have all carried out their graphic training in Rali. The veterans started out as apprentices and they are the ones in charge of training the young members of the team in a continuous training process.

Rali relies on a committed team of permanently hired professionals. They are all working towards a common aim with the same aspirations, always willing to collaborate beyond their undertaken obligations. For this reason, our involvement is not limited to public tenders or orders; quite the opposite, we feel actively involved and are always ready to look for solutions.

Our secret lies in the multidisciplinary nature of our human resources in that each person’s participation is neither indispensable nor exclusive. This is where Rali becomes the ideal partner. Our stability allows us to work at our best from the very first day; our flexibility offers unlimited possibilities for the organization of the work.

The best way of obtaining top results is with communication. This is why we are in constant touch with the client, providing specific information about the work in process.

Rali is ready to take a step forward, based on accumulated experience, growing willingness and the aim to improve. And a virtue that differentiates us from our competitors: Rali communicates. Human quality applied in the long term, a team with values that is focused on quality work and client satisfaction

Staff Team

Technical resources

Rali is located in Costa Street in the centre of Bilbao, with a surface area of 300 m2, distributed into offices, the workshop (Publishing, Official Gazettes and Colour) and changing rooms; with the following resources:

Office units:

Administration, Customer service and Quality management.

3 top range Hewlett Packard PCs

1 OLIVETTI d-Copia 3504MF Multitask system (Printer-copier-scanner-fax)

1 SIEMENS Hipath 3000 Communications switchboard

Communication networks:

1 Own E-mail server, no capacity restriction

2 High speed ADSL and ISDN digital lines (Euskaltel and Telefonica)

1 FTP server for data transmission, in PC and Mac platforms

Servers: Data storage centres and document flow. Back up copies.

1 Hewlett Packard ML 350 Pentium IV 3000 Mail server

1 HP Proliant ML350T3 (TV) XE Server

1 DELL Poweredge T610 Server

Design and layout stations, as well as auxiliary equipment:

Graphic design, composition and page layout under professional image processing and editing software, in Macintosh and PC platforms.

8 Power Mac G5 Dual 2GHz

9 iMAC 21'5” Intel Core i52,7GHz

6 Support PCs + Hewlett Packard Desktop printer

1 OKI Executive Series ES 8460 MFP Multitask photocopier:

Colour printer and scanner, double sided, with automatic feeder


Scanning of documents and slides. Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

1 AGFA SnapScan 1236 Scanner with slides module

1 EPSON Perfection 4490 P Scanner

1 HELL Chroma Graph S 3300 Cylindrical Scanner

Software and output module for colour proofs under European quality standards.

1 AGFA Apogee X Proofer + EPSON Stylus Pro 9880 Colour printer

Creation of blueprints. Posters: maximum width 1 m.

1 AGFA Serpa 70 x 100 Plotter

1 AGFA designjet 5500 P Plotte


Composiciones Rali is a responsible private company, constantly striving to improve.

In 2007, as proof of our responsibility towards the environment, we implemented the ISO 14001 environmental management system, for a sustainable future.

As proof of our responsibility towards our employees, we became certified in Health and Safety at Work under the International OHSAS 18001 standard, for a culture of prevention resulting in a lower accident rate. A safer working environment leads to lower rates of absenteeism and greater productivity.

As proof of our responsibility with our young people, we have a strong collaboration with the 'Emilio Campuzano' secondary school in Bilbao. Every spring we offer internships to students who are at the end of their Graphic Arts training. In this way, we have an active pool of candidates ready to fulfil our staffing needs.

As proof of our responsibility with disadvantaged populations, we have an agreement of Goodwill established with the Atxuri centre, in which students with disabilities have the opportunity to train in our facilities to have access to the labour market. Not surprisingly, we have two disabled staff members whose disability is recognized by the Department of Social Welfare, of the Regional Government of Biscay


ISO 9001

In 1996, AENOR certified our Quality Management System. The internal quality policy was finally approved by international standards, essential for subsequent approval as official graphic provider of the Publications Office of the European Union.

Prior to that, Rali produced a ‘homemade’ manual for the monitoring of the productive system, covering from the entrance of material and originals to the output of the end product. Today it has become a Reference Guide comprising dozens of procedures and hundreds of factors and variables, with a clear intention of being corrective and preventive of the system.

Since then, regular external audits have resulted in excellent renewal reports and swift updates, and are a guarantee of the rigorous measures employed for the current quality control of the company.

ISO 14001

In 2007, Rali positioned itself as a socially responsible company in view of growing concern about the environment and a sustainable future. The implementation of an Environmental Management System offers us the possibility of systematizing the environmental aspects that our activity generates, as well as promoting protection towards the environment and prevention of pollution. Among other environmental advantages, the ISO 14001 standard allows us to optimize resource and waste management and reduce the negative environmental impact derived from our activity or those risks associated to accidental events.

OHSAS 18001

In 2009, Rali took another step in its commitment to security for staff and the workplace, when it certified under an System which provides an effective model able to identify and evaluate risk at work, and allows us to comply with legislation, integrate and promote a preventive culture, diminish the accident rate and increase productivity.