Long perfecting presses from Heidelberg compete for pole position in terms of annual production
Thursday, May 19, 2005
The perfecting presses manufactured by Heidelberg and the Speedmaster SM 102 8- to 12-color presses in particular are becoming an increasingly common sight in the printrooms of industrial printers and are setting new records in terms of annual production. Since the summer of 2004, the Australian printshop Penfold Buscombe, has produced more than 4.5 million prints a month using a Speedmaster SM 102-10-P and expects to achieve a world record of 54 million prints by this summer. Similar results have also been reported by UK printshops Double Six and Stephens & George. Both these companies have produced more than 50 million prints each using a Speedmaster SM 102 12-color press. After three years of excellent service and having produced more than 150 million sheets, one of the 12-color presses is now being replaced with a new long perfecting press. The old press is still fully operational and will achieve a good price on the used equipment market. Heidelberg unveiled the Speedmaster SM 102 8-color press with perfecting device in 1992 allowing a sheet to be printed in four colors on the front and reverse in a single pass. This signaled the start of the victory march of "One Pass Productivity". More and more printers are taking advantage of the benefits offered by the end-to-end process, such as the doubling of productivity, reduced costs thanks to lower personnel requirements and, above all, faster throughput times. Intermediate process steps and large warehousing areas are no longer required. Long perfecting presses are constantly evolving and can now print up to twelve colors, with or without coating units. This is also in tune with the trend towards increased inline surface finishing due to the fact that these presses are able to process special inks and a wide range of coatings. The Perfecting Coating Solution, unveiled at drupa 2004, enables application of a double-sided dispersion coating in a single pass. The co! mbination of tried-and-tested perfecting technology, the standard Speedmaster press, the new feeder and delivery, and optimized sheet travel ensures a high level of quality. Thanks to the unique PerfectJacket Plus technology, there is now no difference between the front and reverse sides. Heidelberg is the undisputed market leader for long perfecting presses in the 70 cm x 100 cm format range with a worldwide market share of more than 70 percent. In terms of numbers, more than 900 machines have been installed so far. The largest target group is commercial printers producing periodicals, magazines and direct-mail advertising. Markets with a high number of installed perfecting presses include Germany, the UK, Australia/New Zealand and Japan. Heidelberg is committed to its concept on customized ranges for perfecting printing. The Speedmaster 102 portfolio is augmented by special machines such as the Speedmaster CD 102 Duo which combines flexo and offset printing, offline finishing machines or the CutStar sheeter. The CutStar sheeter can convert reel stock into sheeted paper inline, resulting in savings in material costs of up to 15 percent depending on the market. Ideal perfecting for the ideal result There are very few innovations which have revolutionized the throughput time for each job as significantly as perfecting technology, which can reduce processing time by up to 50 percent. Heidelberg's tried-and-tested perfecting technology is based on three-drum perfecting, consisting of a reversing, storage and transfer drum. The challenge lies in transferring the sheet reliably with register accuracy to the next printing unit – at real production speeds of up to 13,000 sheets an hour. This is where Heidelberg's 30 years of experience really comes into its own. The unique selling points are the storage drum with its eccentric rotary suckers and the reduced-diameter reversing drum. The reversing drum also uses a patented pincer gripper system which ensures the familiar level of register accuracy at any speed. Experts at Heidelberg developed special jackets to guarantee high quality and smooth sheet travel. These jackets have been fitted as standard since drupa 2004. The Perfe! ctJacket Plus exchangeable jacket stands head and shoulders above its competitors thanks to its ink-repellent and extremely finely structured surface for the impression cylinder located after the perfecting device. This exclusive Speedmaster feature means that almost exactly the same high level quality can be achieved on the front and reverse sides even when using critical paper stock and thick ink coatings. The TransferJacket Plus exchangeable jacket for the sheet-guiding transfer cylinders boasts excellent ink-repellent properties and thus effectively prevents smudging of the ink. It is therefore possible to process a wide range of printing stocks and achieve high productivity through simple cleaning. The Preset Plus delivery, also launched at drupa 2004, enables controlled, smudge-free sheet delivery thanks to its aerodynamic gripper bars and the patented Venturi sheet guide plate. Both the automated perfecting device and the sheet delivery can be preset and controlled using the Prinect CP 2000 press control system. The three-drum perfecting offered by Heidelberg is a cross-format feature which is used in small, medium and large formats. This ensures high quality and flexibility, precise registration and reliable stability - all coupled with One Pass Productivity.