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New Stitchmaster ST 200 Compact from Heidelberg for cost-efficient saddlestitching in up to A3 format

Friday, June 28, 2013

Press release from the issuing company

The finishing touches to a print product are applied in postpress. It is here that the final quality, the delivery time, and - ultimately - the cost-efficiency of the entire job are determined. Consequently, an increasing number of print shops are switching to in-house postpress operations so as to ensure fast and flexible delivery for their customers. Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) developed the new Stitchmaster ST 200 Compact saddlestitcher for this very target group. The machine enables cost-efficient and professional production of stitched brochures with a final format of up to A3 and operates at a speed of up to 11,000 cycles per hour. It can be equipped with up to four double feeders and a cover folder feeder. In addition to these feeders, all the other components - such as stitching unit and trimmer - also benefit from fully automatic synchronization via separate servo drives. This enables precise fine adjustments on the fly and very short makeready times. A new makeready assistant takes operators step by step through the setup process, which also cuts makeready times and improves setup reliability. 

Like the Stitchmaster ST 500, the Stitchmaster ST 200 Compact can also be used as a gathering machine for adhesive binding. As a result, it is not restricted to wire-stitching, which increases the level of utilization of the investment. With optional automation components, the machine can be customized as necessary. What's more, end-to-end servo technology means it can be adapted to changed requirements in the future. The Stitchmaster ST 200 Compact can be integrated into the print shop workflow using Prinect Postpress Manager for production data acquisition. The machine's production data is transferred online and the user can, for example, automatically evaluate actual job costing.

The ideal saddlestitcher for every need 

The Stitchmaster ST 200 Compact will be available in serial-production from September 2013 and is a low-cost entry-level addition to the existing portfolio of saddlestitchers from Heidelberg. It was at drupa 2012 that the company first showcased a highly flexible saddlestitcher with a production speed of up to 13,000 cycles per hour - the Stitchmaster ST 500. The Stitchmaster ST 200 Compact is based on the same platform and can also process end formats as large as 330 x 500 millimeters (12.99 x 19.69 inches). Other things the two machines have in common are their end-to-end servo drive technology for fast makeready, their possible use as a gathering machine for manual adhesive binders, and their straightforward operation thanks to the makeready assistant. For the range up to A4+ format, Heidelberg offers bookbinders and print shops the Stitchmaster ST 100, which operates at a maximum of 9,000 cycles per hour. The fastest Heidelberg saddlestitcher, with a speed of up to 14,000 cycles per hour, is the Stitchmaster ST 450.

First user impressed by short makeready times, high flexibility, and premium quality 

Novaconcept Schorsch GmbH in Kulmbach, Germany, was the first company to field test the new Stitchmaster ST 200 Compact. The full-service print shop, which offers both sheetfed offset and digital printing, is so happy with the machine that it is now fully integrated into the company's day-to-day production operations. "We previously outsourced most of our saddlestitching work. But the distance to our suppliers continued to grow and we were unable to ensure the necessary flexibility, so we decided it was time to act," explains Michael Brütting, who is in charge of production planning and job management at Novaconcept. The qualified bookbinder soon spotted the potential of the Stitchmaster ST 200 Compact. "The saddlestitcher is mostly used in single-shift operation, which is where the lower investment cost compared to other A3 machines comes into play. The run lengths on our Stitchmaster ST 200 Compact range from 1,000 to 100,000 copies, which makes this versatile and flexible saddlestitcher the perfect solution for us. The Stitchmaster ST 500 would be too large and the Stitchmaster ST 100 too small," he adds. In addition to the new saddlestitcher, the company has also invested in a Stahlfolder TH 66 folding machine to strengthen its folding section. 

Novaconcept's customers are delighted with the greater flexibility it offers for job processing and the improved quality of end products. This further boosts the competitiveness of the print shop with its 82-strong workforce and a customer base that includes well-known industrial and business clients both inside and outside Germany. "Unlike other saddlestitchers in this segment, the Stitchmaster ST 200 Compact covers a broad format spectrum - from the smallest format of 120 x 105 millimeters (4.72 x 4.13 inches) and A4 oblong right through to A3. It also supports some 'exotic' formats, which we need in particular for customers in other countries. Added value lies in postpress operations - and in the flexibility that comes from being able to switch quickly between all manner of different jobs and formats," says Brütting.

Novaconcept obtains a large number of jobs through various online customer portals that it developed itself. "Something that is almost more important than setting up a new job fast is being able to interrupt a job that is already under way to fit in an urgent order. With electronic servo control, we can halt the job currently being processed and save all the finely tuned settings. When we subsequently resume this job, virtually no makeready steps are needed. This is the only way we can plan - and keep to - industrial production in postpress that is flexible in terms of jobs and delivery times," stresses Brütting. He sums up by saying: "Our experiences with Heidelberg during the field test were extremely positive, as the company catered precisely to our requirements. The Stitchmaster ST 200 Compact is a comparatively low-cost saddlestitcher but makes no compromises in terms of either product quality or the range of applications it supports. In my opinion, it's a true technical innovation. Heidelberg offers extremely practical assistance and its service experts were right on our wavelength."


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