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World's First Speedmaster XL 145 with Dual Coating up and Running at Karl Knauer KG

Press release from the issuing company

The world's first six-color Speedmaster XL 145 with dual coating and fully integrated material logistics from Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) was installed at Karl Knauer KG in Biberach in early 2010. This machine was part of the largest investment ever made in the company's history, amounting to EUR 10 million. "We want to make greater use of lean production technologies in order to defend our leading market position," confirms Production Manager Gerhard Kammerer. Known officially as the "Speedmaster XL 145-6+LYYL", the machine has six offset printing units, two coating units, two drying units, and an extended delivery with DryStar combination/UV technology, which enables different combinations of water-soluble coatings and UV primer applications. Four meters high and over 40 meters long, this machine is the ultimate in cutting-edge packaging and surface finishing technology.

Before signing the agreement, the Karl Knauer team set out 15 requirements for the press to enable a direct comparison with other manufacturers. "All members of the team - be they members of the board of management or shift managers - had an equal vote in the decision. The final vote came out 11 to 4 in favor of the Speedmaster, which is a pretty impressive result," says Kammerer. One crucial factor was the machine's ability to print short runs cost-effectively, too.

The new Speedmaster XL 145 is equipped with the Prinect Press Center and Prinect Inpress Control. This solution enables simple control of all job parameters - from feeding, printing, and coating to drying and delivery - and also handles register and color control. Karl Knauer had stipulated that the new Speedmaster should be ready to produce packaging orders after 250 makeready sheets, which amounts to a considerable saving in time and material for average run sizes of 7,000 sheets. "We are still performing optimization tests to raise the efficiency of the machine further still, but we have already achieved a 30 percent improvement in capacity over the previous machine, which we ran in parallel for a short time," explains Kammerer.

Karl Knauer KG specializes in packaging and surface finishing. With a workforce of some 430, it is the biggest employer in the Biberach region. Founded in 1938 by Karl Knauer, the company is still family-owned today and is due to be handed down to the third generation in a few years' time. The company, which has always specialized in folding cartons, was one of the first to introduce offset printing in 1961. Today, production is divided between packaging and advertising materials, particularly office products and stationery, for the European market. Karl Knauer's third business pillar is customized premium-quality presentation packaging, an area in which the company is market leader, specializing in particular in high-quality wine and liquor packaging.

In view of this diverse product portfolio and the company's broad base of discerning brand customers, ongoing investments are very important.

Karl Knauer was the first packaging printer to take a five-color Speedmaster CD 102 with two coating units into operation, and was also first off the mark when it came to installing the subsequent Speedmaster XL 105, also with two coating units. The company is one of several Heidelberg concept customers who meet regularly to discuss the market situation and the demands this will place on new technologies.


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