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Heidelberg's Anicolor technology revolutionizes printing of very short runs

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Press release from the issuing company

Countless print shops worldwide are using cost-effective Anicolor inking unit technology to respond to the growing trend toward short runs and frequent job changes. Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) unveiled this innovative technology in the 35 x 50 centimeter (13.78 x 19.69 inch) format at the Ipex trade show in 2006. Compared to a press with conventional inking unit, the benefits of Anicolor can be summed up as "90:50:50" - which means that Anicolor inking unit technology results in 90 percent less paper waste (which first and foremost benefits the environment), 50 percent shorter makeready times, and 50 percent higher productivity. Thanks to extremely fast and stable inking-up, OK sheets are often achieved after just ten sheets, and all this with optimum offset quality and maximum user-friendliness. Over 1,200 printing units and more than 250 presses in the Speedmaster SM/SX 52 Anicolor series have now been installed all over the world. Commercial, packaging, and label printers use the presses to ensure competitive production of short runs. They are available in configurations from four to ten colors with perfecting device and UV technology. 

As the next logical step, the successful Anicolor technology was extended to the 50 x 70 centimeter (19.69 x 27.56 inch) format with the Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor in a world premiere at the 2012 drupa trade show. The Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor is a particularly good option for customers looking to achieve cost-efficient production of short and very short runs in the 50 x 70 centimeter format for commercial and packaging printing applications. What's more, the press is ideal for web-to-print applications with mixed forms that require simple standardization and consistently high quality.
The Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor will initially be offered as a straight-printing press with up to eight inking units - with or without coating unit and with a print speed of up to 15,000 sheets per hour - and will go into series production from the start of 2014. There are plans to also offer the Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor as a perfecting press and with UV technology by the end of 2014. 

"We are seeing a definite global trend toward shorter runs and frequent job changes in all formats," says Stephan Plenz, member of the Management Board responsible for Heidelberg Equipment. "That's why we're offering our customers cost-effective solutions for short-run printing, whether in the form of the Speedmaster SX 52 Anicolor, Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor, or our Linoprint digital printing systems." 

Combining a Speedmaster SX 52 or Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor with the Linoprint C digital printing system and the Prinect workflow is particularly effective in getting the best out of both offset and digital printing. "Print shops can therefore switch flexibly between offset and digital production depending on the job in hand, produce print products using a combination of the two methods or, for example, use the most cost-effective printing process for advance runs, main production runs or reprints," explains Plenz. 

Heidelberg showcased the benefits of Anicolor technology to its customers at the "Anicolor Days" at the end of January. Over 150 customers from around the world were given a comprehensive overview of the technology and key areas of application for the Speedmaster SX 52 Anicolor and Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor at the Print Media Center in Heidelberg and during print shop visits.
Drucken 123 - Offsetdruck Müller - successful combination of Speedmaster SM 52 Anicolor and Linoprint C 751 
Markus Müller, owner of drucken 123 - Offsetdruck Müller in Aschaffenburg, used a Speedmaster SM 52 four-color Anicolor press for production from 2009 to 2011, which was then replaced by a Speedmaster SM 52 five-color Anicolor press with coating unit. "The Anicolor press fits our concept perfectly, and the machine we now have is a solution that gives us even higher throughput in ashorter time and in high quality," says Müller. "We can now also offer our customers spot colors and, once coated, jobs quickly proceed to the postpress phase. We employ coating for most jobs and dispatch within 24 or 36 hours." Drucken 123 specializes in short runs and with its eight employees generated sales of around EUR 1 million in 2012 - a figure of over 30 percent up on the previous year. The customer structure is made up of small companies in trade and industry, medium-sized enterprises, government authorities, and advertising agencies. Drucken 123 also takes on printing jobs for larger print shops in the region. It prints a whole range of advertising materials complete with the associated postpress, packaging, dispatch, and storage. 

"With the Anicolor press, we can now hold our own prices against "digital" prices for the shortest of runs, while always delivering 100% offset printing quality," says a delighted Müller. These benefits are achieved using the Prinect print shop workflow with color management in prepress, reliable plate imaging with the Suprasetter A52, and correct machine maintenance. In its production operations, drucken 123 uses only inks and consumables from the Saphira range, which are perfectly coordinated with the printing process. "For straightforward jobs, we can produce saleable sheets from the sixth sheet, while mixed forms and repeat jobs are no problem. What's more, and we've also been able to drive down the rate of complaints on colors to underneath one percent," adds Müller. "Minimal waste ensures our print production is sustainable. We also recommend our customers use FSC- or PEFC-certified paper from sustainably managed forests," says Müller, underlining his personal commitment to environmental protection.

The Anicolor press prints jobs from 200 to 5,000 sheets, with an average run of 1,000. It processes substrates from 0.03 to 0.6 millimeters (0.0012 to 0.024 inches) and frequently prints envelopes, too. Thanks to the new short coating delivery, it requires very little space. The print shop works in two shifts and has around 20 to 25 job changes each day, the record being 42. Makeready times are a maximum of ten minutes, which includes blanket washups and ink and plate changes. 

New digital printing system boosts print shop flexibility 
To make production even more flexible, Markus Müller installed the Linoprint C 751 digital printing system in fall 2012, which has enabled him to expand his business successfully. "This is an area where we produce runs under 200 more cost-effectively than in offset, yet in almost identical quality," he explains. Printing includes personalized invitations, flyers, and mailings. The proportion of hybrid products, i.e. print products manufactured partly in offset and partly using digital printing, has already increased to between 20 and 30 percent. 

"We must deliver better quality than the competition and offer our customers added-value solutions," says Müller, explaining his recipe for success. As well as the fast print service, the company also offers print products for virtual online browsing, has developed an online reservation system where the associated print products are supplied automatically, and is looking to offer web-to-print as a tool to promote customer loyalty in the future. A new Stahlfolder KH 56 will be installed in spring 2013 and further Prinect modules are set to be integrated. Plans are currently underway for a new building or a move to larger premises.

Medienhaus Reuffurth - world's first Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor cuts waste substantially and offers top offset printing quality 

Medienhaus Reuffurth, based in Mühlheim am Main, has been using the actual Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor five-color press with coating unit on show at drupa - and thus the world's first press from this series - since August 2012. Reuffurth is one of the leading litho producers in the Rhine-Main region and its over 70 employees produce top quality for its discerning customers in Germany and abroad. "As we're focusing increasingly on medium and large formats, the Speedmaster XL 75 came at just the right time for us," explains owner Hans Reuffurth. 

"The press has more than surpassed our expectations - in the first four months, we were able to cut waste by 65 percent compared to the conventional Speedmaster XL 75 equipped with Prinect Inpress Control. It also inks up fast and produces top print quality, even with difficult print motifs." The Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor has already produced over 650 jobs and more than 1.3 million sheets in total, which equates to an average run size of 2,000 sheets, with the proportion of short runs rising continuously. The range of materials stretches from 80 gsm paper to thick card and includes both coated and uncoated paper.

Coated jobs proceed directly to the postpress phase and can be delivered quickly. "This extremely user-friendly press enables us to print on an industrial scale. Having full control over color management is key as it enables us to print the colors and repeat jobs with absolutely consistent results, regardless of whether this is in one or four weeks. With the Anicolor press, I see an alternative to digital printing, as the quality is much better," concludes Reuffurth. The combination of automated processes and optimized consumables from the Saphira range supplied by Heidelberg delivers standardized, lean production. Another benefit from Reuffurth's perspective is that all Anicolor machines from Heidelberg are supplied CO2-neutral as standard. 

In addition to the Anicolor press, the Reuffurth pressroom also houses a Speedmaster XL 105 and a Speedmaster XL 75, both six-color presses with a coating unit. The full-service print shop systematically uses color management in prepress and a standardized print process with the Prinect workflow for all jobs. "This gives us a very high level of flexibility and enables us to produce jobs cost-effectively depending on the run size," explains Reuffurth.


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