Phillips Printing is one of the many companies who have taken advantage of custom training options offered by Heidelberg’s Print Media Academy (PMA).
The Nashville-based commercial printer sought further training on its Stahl USA B26 continuous-feed buckle-plate folder after its operator fell ill and replacement personnel began experiencing problems with feeding and inconsistent folding.
According to Operations Manager John Hearn, “Heidelberg had been insisting all along that we could get a lot more out of the folder than we were getting. In the absence of our regular operator, we signed up for training with the aim of making sure we clearly understood the basic operation of the folder, as well as the roller settings and maintenance requirements, such that we then could focus on the details that really made a difference in being able to run the folder in the way it was designed to run.”
Phillips personnel spent two days at Heidelberg’s North American Print & Packaging Technology Center (Technology Center) in Kennesaw, training first on the smaller, simpler-to-run Stahl Ti52 pile-fed folder, and later, a fully automated Stahlfolder TH 82 continuous-feed machine—with outstanding results.
“We took a very difficult job with us to training,” Hearn said, describing the 8-page signature that split apart into two 11x17” and then folded down to a letterfold. “Even Heidelberg demo personnel agreed that this was tricky. Nevertheless, we were able to run the job at 10,000/hr on the TH 82 in the demo room, and then at 15,000/hr, just to see what could be done. Back home, we’ve increased our run speeds from 6,200/hr on the USA B26 to 10,400/hr, and our productivity by 80 percent, simply by knowing what we’re doing. This is not only the fastest it has run by more than 3,000/hr, but it’s also the best the folded piece has ever looked, thanks to our newfound ability to skew the plates.”
The company also improved its scoring and folding speed from 12,000/hr up to 21,300/hr. The action of jam sensors that automatically stop the folder when necessary means that “What used to be a 30-45 minute fix takes two minutes instead,” Hearn concluded.
"Every printer should strive to be more efficient, because ultimately that means being more profitable,” said Susan Nofi, Senior Vice President, Education and Training. “Heidelberg’s Print Media Academy training offers print business owners a better value than ad hoc, on-site troubleshooting, as well as a considerable return on their investment in technical education keyed to their individual needs and equipment."
Phillips’ training experience proves that printing companies interested in increasing their efficiency—along with their profitability—stand to benefit greatly from optimizing their existing Heidelberg equipment.
“Being able to utilize the capabilities of the folder is the difference between fighting a job half the day or running it at half speed versus getting the highest production out of the machine,” Hearn explained. “Producing high-quality jobs fast is the only way to survive in today’s market. It’s great to finally know how to use all the tools and see how much they help when you know what to do with them. We’ve essentially shifted from working for the machine to letting the machine work for us.”
Accommodating customer requests for need-specific training is at the center of Heidelberg's approach to world-class customer service. In response to an escalating demand for training classes tailored to the individual needs of its customers, Heidelberg's Print Media Academy (PMA) offers need-specific tools, techniques and training to make employees more efficient and the companies they work for more profitable.
Custom training promotes a higher level of confidence and brings operators or press crews up to speed on new or existing equipment. With 12 full-time trainers and the ability to conduct up to five training classes at a time, Heidelberg USA's Technology Center functions as a comprehensive practical training resource for printers to prepare for a successful future.
For more information on PMA classes offered by Heidelberg USA or to explore custom training options, go to www.us.heidelberg.com/us/pma or call 1-800-934-4872.