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Case study proves durability of Heidelberg Sunday presses

Press release from the issuing company

DOVER, NH - With the first Heidelberg Sunday web presses passing the tenth anniversary plateau, the verdict is in on durability. A unique case study proves that gapless technology inherently reduces wear and tear on major components and systems, minimizing long-term maintenance requirements, the scope of rebuild projects and the overall cost of ownership. Commercial web printers worldwide have now installed close to 200 Sunday presses. Key selling points have included faster speeds, added productivity with wider webs, elimination of gap related vibrations, and the paper saving that comes from a smaller non-print area. Now, a documented increase in durability can be added to that list. In late 2002, Heidelberg had the rare opportunity to rebuild an M-1000B and a Sunday 3000 press consecutively for a large North American publication and catalog printer. The two eight-unit, two-web presses had been running side-by-side in the same plant, each for nine years. "The M-1000B rebuild project was far more extensive, despite the fact that the much faster Sunday 3000 had produced nearly twice as many impressions," explains Mike Thompson, technical sales manager for Heidelberg Web Systems. "The Sunday 3000 gear train and cylinders were still in very good condition and did not require replacement or resurfacing." Print quality and durability have made the M-1000B a highly regarded workhorse for publication and catalog printing. Those qualities also make the presses excellent candidates for rebuilds after about ten years of operation, according to Thompson. The return on investment is proven, but the rebuild projects are comprehensive. The general consensus is that all sections of the M-1000B printing units have to be brought back up to factory specifications to restore original production levels and print quality. "The focus in rebuilding any traditional web press with bearers is on replacing, remanufacturing and restoring," according to Bryant LeFave, who manages web press rebuild projects for Heidelberg. "This recent direct comparison shows that Sunday press rebuilds will be more focused on repairing and enhancing specific areas in order to maintain quality production and reduce maintenance." Reflecting the work required, the cost of the Sunday 3000 rebuild in the Heidelberg case study was 40 percent less then the cost for the M-1000B. Work on the gapless model was also completed in a shorter timeframe, getting the press back into production much faster. LeFave says the steps involved in rebuilding non-gapless web presses such as the M-1000B are consistent and include: * Resizing and honing of frame cylinder bores to original specs * Metalizing and grinding cylinder bearing housings to original specs * Hand fitting bearing housings into reworked frame bores * Remanufacturing plate and blanket cylinder bodies and reassembling with new parts (bearers, reel rods, lock-up parts) * Completely replacing gear train, bearings and drive shafts * Rebuilding/replacing vibrator drive mechanisms * Rebuilding/replacing ink ductor components * Rebuilding ink fountains * Rebuilding/replacing dampener systems "With the unique design features of the Sunday press, the top seven items on the list simply do not apply," according to LeFave. The gapless presses do not have traditional cylinder frame bores, bearing housings, plate and blanket cylinder bearers, ductor mechanisms and other design features inherent in the M-1000B. "Sunday presses do not take the same beating as a press with gaps and bearers," Thompson adds. "Our inspection results are proving this out, and the TIR measurement of roundness of the plate and blanket cylinders have been within the original factory specifications". When new technology hits the market, a typical reaction is to question the longevity and durability. This was true of the Sunday press. Calculations, projections and anecdotal evidence provided a good prediction, but the only absolute response was to let time prove the case. Based on ten years of production, often in 24-hour, seven-days-a-week environments, as well as detailed inspection and the initial rebuild experiences, Thompson says the evidence is clear. "Not only does the Sunday press offer web printers increased productivity, and print quality, it clearly offers the value-added comfort of knowing they are making a sound long-term investment," he concludes.