Print shops using the 7B format (121 x 162 centimeters / 47.64 x 63.78 inches) are currently facing the same challenges as suppliers of smaller sheet formats. They need to boost productivity without compromising on quality or surface finishing. Print buyers expect the shortest of delivery times, and to remain competitive in this environment while also standing out from the rest of the market, print shops need the latest generation of equipment.
Consequently, the trend in packaging printing in the 7B format, too, is toward seven-color presses for more spot colors - often cyan, magenta, and yellow plus three to four spot colors. Coating demands are also growing, with print shops endeavoring to attract attention at the point of sale with matt-gloss effects (primer UV) and by combining different surface textures. As a result, dual-coating presses have seen a resurgence in popularity.
The Speedmaster XL 162 from Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) offers the ideal solutions for all these requirements. This machine was unveiled at drupa 2008, and more new presses of this model are now being installed in the 7B format than any other,
Such is the level of interest in packaging solutions from Heidelberg that both of the company's regular annual Packaging Days at its Wiesloch-Walldorf site were fully subscribed with 150 visitors and a further event with over 100 participants took place midway through June 2013.
Trend toward dual-coating presses in packaging printing
In Italy, not one but two well-known folding carton manufacturers have taken dual-coating presses into service - one a Speedmaster XL 162 and the other a Speedmaster XL 145. One of these companies is Imballi in Castelfranco Veneto, which decided on a Speedmaster XL 162-6+LYYL following intensive application tests in which the Speedmaster XL 162 came out head and shoulders above the competition, especially in terms of inline surface finishing with primer UV applications. Imballi currently uses three large-format presses from other manufacturers. The Speedmaster XL 162 is intended for both displays and folding carton jobs.
A further Speedmaster - an XL 145 with seven printing units and dual-coating technology - started operating at the same time at packaging company Ival in Mantua. Ival's product portfolio includes food packaging for the well-known pasta maker Barilla.
Another two virtually identical Speedmaster XL 162 seven-color presses with dual-coating technology have started production in the United States in recent months. Since run lengths in the United States far exceed the European average, the high printing speed of the Speedmaster XL 162 was a vital factor here. Thanks to its sturdy design and quiet operation, the maximum production speed of 15,000 sheets per hour can be achieved without any mechanical restrictions, even on presses with eleven printing units.
Following the successful start made by its Speedmaster XL 162-7+LYYL, one of the two companies has already decided on its next large-format press from Heidelberg - a Speedmaster XL 145-7+L UV.