• Printshops rely on partnership with Heidelberg – even more in
Covid-19 pandemic times
• All from a single source – prepress, press, postpress, software, consumables and services
• Combination of offset and digital technologies with seamless color consistency enables high flexibility
The trends in packaging printing are obvious: ever-declining run lengths, an increasing number of stock keeping units (SKUs) and more demanding embellishments to attract consumer attention – all of this against the backdrop of extremely short delivery times and sustainability. Special applications and the need for flawless production also add to the complexity. How can folding carton manufacturers manage this in a cost-effective way, even in Covid-19 pandemic times?
Seeking an answer to this question, packaging printers in North America are increasingly investing in Heidelberg solutions for cost-effective production. “Since the onset of Covid-19 in March 2020, Packaging and Label Printers in North America have been very resilient against the downturn of the economy due to increased consumer demand for packaged goods in both grocery stores and pharmacies. Many of these printers have even grown during the crisis and are looking to invest or have recently invested in new machines and workflow from Heidelberg,” explains Felix Mueller, President of Heidelberg Americas. “However, we are providing more than just machines and software to these demanding segments. With the largest and most reliable service network in the print industry in North America, we are helping keep our customers up and running during this most crucial time. Additionally, with our outstanding Print Site Contracts and customized Lifecycle Solutions, we are able to partner with our customers to improve their Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) so that they can continue to grow and be even more profitable well into the future.”
Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) is already the largest supplier to packaging printers worldwide. In financial year 2019/2020, half of the sheetfed offset press sales were generated in this segment. The company sells almost as many printing units for the packaging market alone compared to its largest competitor. The long-term partnership with MK Masterwork is adding highly attractive finishing machines to the packaging printing portfolio.
The first time was a bullseye – shorter makereadies and higher capacity
Committed to servicing name brands from food to high-end cosmetics and perfumes, McLean Packaging installed a Speedmaster XL 106-8+LYY-1+L with Push to Stop technology at its folding carton facility in Moorestown, New Jersey. Despite not having purchased from Heidelberg in over 50 years, McLean Packaging zeroed in on the Speedmaster XL 106 for three key reasons: advanced automation and technology needed for shorter makereadies, flexibility to handle a wide range of substrates, and advanced technology for effortless color consistency.
In addition to the high quality produced by the Speedmaster XL 106, McLean Packaging has been impressed with the professionalism and level of support from Heidelberg’s SystemService team. The company also signed on for Predictive Monitoring and Saphira consumables when it purchased the press. Predictive Monitoring actively sends alerts should there appear to be something wrong with the machine. However, McLean has not had a need for the service for the last eleven months.
Established in 1961, McLean Packaging is still passionate in creating quality packaging and operates within three highly specialized manufacturing facilities with over 200 employees.
Business growth in “Covid-19 world” with exceeding demands of customers
Since the onset of Covid-19, E.B. Box, located in Richmond Hill, Ontario, has seen a tremendous pick-up in both the volume of its business and the demand for shorter turnaround times from its customers, who are seeking to keep grocery store shelves filled with their products. Installed in February 2020, E.B. Box’s new Speedmaster XL 106-6+L with Push to Stop technology and Prinect Production Manager could not have come at a better time for the company, who has increased its capacity by 50 to 60 % per shift – helping to accelerate both its growth and speed-to-market.
The new machine replaces a press from a competitive manufacturer. According to Director of Business Development, Irfan Rajabali, selecting the Speedmaster XL 106 – running at speeds of 18,000 sheets per hour – was a relatively easy choice. “If we were going to take our growth as a company seriously, we needed to invest in a technology that would reliably exceed the expectations our customers have for us. It only made sense for us to invest in Heidelberg, the market leader, if we wanted to be the market leader.”
E.B. Box also decided to invest in Prinect Production Manager workflow to truly maximize the efficiency benefits of the press – creating seamless integration from prepress to press and beyond. Through the Production Manager subscription model, E.B. Box receives technical support for all fixes and upgrades, so it is always up-to-date on the latest versions and newest Prinect modules as they are developed. The company recently signed on for the Prinect Customer Portal, which will enable the company to have online interaction with its customers – creating even greater efficiencies when it comes to job approvals and job tracking.
“Smart Factory” helps customers stand out on the shelf
With over 80 years of experience in the packaging industry, Bellwyck is a recognized leader in the premium brand and pharma/healthcare markets with a core focus on providing unique, sustainable, turnkey packaging solutions for top global brands. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario and locations in Owen Sound, Ontario and Langley, British Columbia, the company is fueled by its three guiding principles – innovation, high quality, and superior customer service.
To achieve this goal, Bellwyck has recently installed a Speedmaster CX 102-8+LY-1+L with Push to Stop technology at its Toronto headquarters – its second Speedmaster CX 102 in the last 18 months. Both presses are powered by the Prinect workflow and are part of Bellwyck’s larger vision of transitioning into a “Smart Factory”. In addition to the new press, Bellwyck recently installed a new Diana Easy folder-gluer at its Owen Sound location.
“We talked to Heidelberg about the kind of work we are currently running, and the types of jobs our customers want to achieve. Together, we designed the new Speedmaster CX 102 – a truly unique press that prints nine colors and two coatings in one pass and still runs at 16,500 sheets per hour,” said Jerry Malfara, Director of Technical Services and Innovation. It is the longest press of its kind in Canada. According to Bellwyck’s President John McVeigh, “with our new press, we are continuing to make significant investments to help our clients drive their efficiencies as well as stand out on the shelf. It's a competitive marketplace out there, and our customers are looking for opportunities to be different than their competitors.”
Another benefit that Bellwyck is reaping from the integration with the Prinect workflow is the amount of production data that is available at its fingertips. Using 37 different data points collected from the press, the company uses business intelligence to evaluate each job’s performance. “We can then extrapolate that data to help us better manage our environment – from day-to-day tasks to where we have opportunities for improvement in the future,” said April Burke, Vice President of Operations at Bellwyck.
Optimized processes eliminate bottlenecks in postpress
Digital Color Concepts (DCC), having recently upgraded its sheetfed technology to the Speedmaster XL 106, began seeing bottlenecks in the finishing area of its production after being unable to keep pace with the high speed of its new press. Located in Mountainside, New Jersey, DCC purchased an Easymatrix 106 CS and Diana Easy 115 to increase its overall throughput.
With its largest customers in the pharmaceutical, fashion, and food industries, the company utilizes the new postpress equipment primarily for finishing its commercial work. Since the onset of Covid-19, however, DCC has seen a shift in its business to more packaging jobs. “While we decided last year that we needed to address our weaknesses in finishing, the Easymatrix and Diana Easy have really set us up nicely for the transition of work that we have been seeing, and they will help us continue to grow more into the packaging segment moving forward,” says Jim D’Alessandro, Vice President of Manufacturing.
Installed in August 2020, the Easymatrix 106 CS was added to DCC’s production to complement an older Varimatrix die cutter. DCC is also seeing increases in throughput on the folding gluing side of its finishing department with the new Diana Easy 115. Installed together with the Easymatrix, the Diana Easy offers a high degree of operator user friendliness.
“When you deal with Heidelberg, there is just a different level of professionalism that you don’t get with other manufacturers in the industry. From sales to technical support, the level of service is unsurpassed,” said D’Alessandro.
Offset and Digital working together for high flexibility
Yebo!, a successful online packaging manufacturer located in Tustin, California, decided to bring its production in-house by purchasing a printing company in September 2019. Rather than acquiring the former company’s digital print engines, Yebo! invested in a Versafire EP in an effort to save money and also expand its digital substrate range. After reaching 1,000,000+ impressions per month on its original Versafire EP, Yebo! needed additional capacity and installed a second Versafire EP in May 2020. Both machines are seamlessly integrated with the company’s Speedmaster XL 106 through the Prinect Production Manager workflow and Digital Front End (DFE). The Versafire EP provides the flexibility Yebo! needs for printing both its commercial and packaging work while also accelerating its speed-to-market.
“Customers can submit a file online to us today, and we can deliver a prototype of their package printed on the Versafire the following day. Once the customer approves the prototype, we are confident the color will match when we do a full production run on the Speedmaster because of the Prinect integration. On the commercial side, we can run 1,000 booklets on our Speedmaster and print an additional 50 of them the next day with the same quality on the Versafire. It’s amazing how well everything works together and how fast we can turn things around for the customer,” said Andrew Tosh, owner of Yebo!
To process its jobs, Yebo! uses the Prinect DFE, which integrates directly with its full workflow, Prinect Production Manager. Utilizing Heidelberg’s color management and renderers, both tried and tested in offset printing, the Prinect DFE enables print production to be automated and standardized for excellent efficiency. Tosh is pleased with the ease of job flow between his Versafires and the Speedmaster XL 106 and is especially impressed with the color consistency between the different technologies, especially on his coated stocks.
The Management of McLean Packaging realizes shorter makereadies and higher capacity with their new Speedmaster XL 106-8+LYY-1+L (from left to right): Rob Watts, Business Development Manager; Joe Fenkel, CEO; Jeff Besnick, Vice President and Mike Pasciolla, Operations Manager.