March 25, 2004 -- Technicians setting the pace: Many Heidelberg machines are already in place in the Dusseldorf exhibition halls.
Logistics have been planned down to the smallest detail and technicians have been given precise instructions. It is now only approximately six weeks till the start of drupa 2004 (May 6 to 19) and preparations for the world's largest show of innovation in the printing and paper industry are now up to full speed. The first exhibitors have already started to construct their booths at the Dusseldorf exhibition center. However, despite the large numbers of forklifts, cranes and trucks present, all is calm. This is particularly evident in exhibition halls 1 and 2 where Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) will be welcoming visitors. The market leader will be exhibiting a total of 50 machines in an area of approximately 7,800 m2. Given the impressive size of the machines – some are more than 30 meters long – precise timing, intuition and considerable lifting power are called for.
Franz Haaf is the main person in charge. The technical manager of Heidelberg's trade show presence has been in Dusseldorf since the beginning of March and is ready to respond to any potential surprise: "We have planned the set up stage in precise detail but thanks to the excellent and fast work of our technicians, we are gaining a bit of breathing space every day. This means that we can take any late deliveries or crane breakdowns in our stride."
However, Haaf's team has yet to encounter any serious incidents, not even over the last few days when the Speedmaster SM 102-10-P6 sheetfed offset press with CutStar, weighing in at 100 tons and 22 meters long, was delivered. Heidelberg used six trucks to transport the press, which was dismantled over a period of two weeks in Wiesloch, the world's largest printing press production and assembly plant. Assembling the Speedmaster will also take around two weeks before the first pages can be printed. The special feature of the Speedmaster in its drupa specification is the CutStar, which weighs eight tons. The Cutstar
enables users to process reel stock instead of expensive sheeted paper while also maximizing productivity. The intention is for the Speedmaster to print a range of high-gloss brochures for German automotive manufacturers during the trade show.
However, in addition to building the machines, the Heidelberg staff in Dusseldorf first have to construct the booths from more than 320 tons of wood, steel, fastening materials and paint, not to mention 2,500 spotlights. Over 40 machines still have to be assembled in the weeks ahead. These include several new developments: "We are all proud of these machines, not least our Speedmaster, because they once again underline our leadership in terms of innovation", says Haaf. There are several machines which are already under wraps – but Haaf refuses to give away what is hidden under the tarpaulins. He prefers to look to the future: "We are well within schedule. In fact, we currently have a cushion of about half a day and we are sure it will be plain sailing right through to the traditional technicians' party." This party celebrates the moment when the machines are put into operation but Haaf's team still have several tons of material to deal with before they can start popping the champagne corks!
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