(04/04/2024 / sbr)

Heidelberg: Up to 20 percent increase in overall productivity

Cost pressure, the skills shortage, and sustainability – print shops worldwide need to contend with all these issues and yet remain competitive. Throughout the printing industry, the costs per printed sheet are a measure of how competitive a print shop is. Boasting numerous innovative features, the new machine generation from Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) cuts costs, helps alleviate the skills shortage, and improves print shops’ sustainability.

“The new Peak Performance Speedmaster XL 106 cuts print production costs significantly, which makes our customers in the commercial, packaging, and label printing sectors more competitive,” says Dr. Ludwin Monz, CEO of Heidelberg. “Compared to the previous generation, we expect users who produce packaging in the 70 x 100 cm format to achieve an increase in overall productivity of up to 20 percent.”

Costs down – competitiveness up

Heidelberg has the solution to this in the form of more speed and automation. The new Peak Performance generation of the Speedmaster XL 106 can print up to 21,000 sheets per hour. With this new generation, autonomous printing is now also possible in packaging production, thanks to the enhanced Push to Stop concept. This means complex production parameters can now be configured completely automatically in packaging and label printing, too. “We anticipate that a high-volume packaging producer or wet-glue label manufacturer will very soon achieve a benchmark of 100 million sheets per year. This figure represents a 20 percent increase on the 85 million sheets currently being produced by today’s industry leaders,” says Markus Leichtle, Senior Manager Industrial Packaging at Heidelberg.

Mike Günther, Managing Director of colordruck Baiersbronn GmbH and a pilot customer trialing the new Peak Performance generation, agrees: “We are expecting a significant reduction in makeready times, set-up times, and general downtime to improve the efficiency of our printing with low costs per box.”

Alleviating the skills shortage with the “I like working here” concept

Print shops compete to attract the best skilled staff, so it is important to make the workplace more appealing by offering cutting-edge, intuitive user interfaces and a low-emissions working environment. With further improvements to the Heidelberg User Experience (UX) and a new ergonomic design, the new Peak Performance Speedmaster XL 106 is setting high standards. The new PowderStar XL (Duo) reduces powder consumption by up to 15 percent and powder emissions by up to 45 percent. What’s more, strain on personnel capacity is eased, because use of production clusters means that fewer staff can operate the same number of presses efficiently. When fully automatic Plate to Unit printing plate logistics is incorporated, it is possible to save on one assistant entirely, while also handling up to 150 printing plates per hour automatically.

Sustainability – new DryStar Combination Eco energy-saving dryer

Featuring insulation in the delivery, a cross-flow heat exchanger, and an improved dryer-cassette design, the new DryStar Combination Eco dryer uses up to 30 percent less energy for drying. This investment is of particular interest to companies operating in markets with high energy prices. Customers paying European industrial electricity prices will find an investment in this innovative dryer will pay off within around two years. What’s more, the complete press uses less energy per 1,000 sheets when the production speed is faster – for example, when the printing speed is increased from 18,000 to 21,000 sheets per hour, energy consumption drops by around 4.5 percent. “It is precisely because of rising energy prices that we expect this new dryer technology to really help ease the pressure we’re under in terms of energy consumption,” says Stefan Leonhardt, Managing Director of WEIG Packaging in Emskirchen, who is also a pilot customer trialing the new generation. “The new press also automates key processes in folding carton production. For us, this means greater efficiency, shorter makeready times, and increased uptime.”

Digitalization – fully automatic job processing and avoiding waste

With its Prinect workflow system, Heidelberg takes automation up to a whole new level in terms of productivity by offering a solution for increased digitalization. For example, Prinect supplies additional data to many assistance systems, which increasingly work with artificial intelligence. Many new and enhanced digitalization functions, such as Intellistart 3 – which alone results in some 70 percent fewer operations at the Press Center – or the improved Color Assistant Pro assistance system for fully automatic ink presetting without operating errors, dramatically reduce the number of manual interventions required. These functions save up to four minutes of makeready time and between 100 and 150 sheets of paper waste per job. When combined with the Prinect Inpress Control inline color measurement system and the automated delivery logistics, the inline ejection of waste sheets means that a waste-free stack is delivered for postpress operations, thus increasing the efficiency of the entire process.

Heidelberg will be showcasing further highlights of the new Speedmaster XL 106 Peak Performance generation at drupa 2024, which is opening in Düsseldorf on May 28.