Large masses exert an attractive force - this principle of physics is particularly apt for the Print Media Center (PMC) and the Information Days for large-format packaging printing. More than 100 customers and industry experts visited Hall 11 at the Wiesloch-Walldorf plant of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) on September 28 and 29, 2011. They were able to see for themselves the efficiency of the Speedmaster XL 145 and XL 162 large-format presses in packaging printing. Heidelberg offers its customers a complete, integrated software, service, and machine portfolio incorporated into an end-to-end packaging workflow that extends from the initial folding carton design right through to palletization. Some 40 percent of all large-format presses manufactured by Heidelberg to date have been purchased by packaging printers around the world.
At the event, two customers from Germany and the United States reported on their experiences with the two press series. The afternoon was devoted entirely to the "human success factor" and how leadership, motivation, and team building enable even better use to be made of human and machine capabilities.
Machine concept geared to flexibility
The cost-cutting potential of the two XL press series in formats 6 and 7b is inherent in the machine concept. From presetting, parallel washing, and automatic plate changes to inline measuring systems such as Inpress Control, color management adapted to large-format production, extremely flat sheet travel, high-performance dryers, and non-stop feeder/delivery, the giant presses offer everything that is needed to ensure rapid job changes and thus maximum flexibility in packaging printing. Hendrik Heidenreich from Heidenreich Print in the German town of Bünde joined Chuck Obermeyer and Kurt Wartner from RockTenn in the United States in reporting extremely short makeready times of just 12 to 22 minutes, depending on the motif. The presses are inked-up after around 150 waste sheets and production speeds of 12,000 to 15,000 sheets per hour are regularly achieved. By comparison, the current industry standard is a makeready time of 40 minutes, 400 sheets of startup waste per job, and - depending on the press format - a production speed of roughly 12,500 (format 6) / 9,000 (format 7b) sheets per hour.
The Prinect Inpress Control inline measuring system makes a key contribution to cutting makeready times, stabilizing production, and maximizing production speeds - as does the excellent availability of Heidelberg presses. This is due in part to the comprehensive Heidelberg maintenance and service concept. An illuminating efficiency analysis showed how these technologies can deliver savings of up to EUR 530,000 per year and boost capacity by more than 30 percent in high-run packaging printing. This was confirmed by Hendrik Heidenreich at the event. "The XL 145 is a full shift faster than its predecessor, which used the same format but was from a different manufacturer," he revealed. According to calculations by Heidelberg based on short-run packaging printing for the production of POS displays, a Speedmaster XL 162 five-color press with coating unit and extended delivery can achieve annual savings as high as EUR 730,000.
Getting staff on board is the priority
Top technology requires top personnel. This may sound simple enough, but it is far from easy to achieve in practice. Several afternoon lectures addressed the issue of how to build successful pressroom and administrative teams. According to Professor Jan Mayer, getting staff involved, team building, and boosting motivation are above all the task of the person in charge - if they take their management role seriously. The sports psychologist has worked with numerous German national teams and the TSG Hoffenheim soccer club. In his lecture, he drew a great many parallels between management tasks at print shops and in top-level sport. He also outlined the requirements for achieving long-term success with the best equipment and best personnel.