Heidelberg Increases the Speed of Its VLF Speedmaster XL Presses by 20% for High-Volume Packaging

Heidelberg has increased the maximum running speed of its 57” Speedmaster VLF XL 145 and 64” Speedmaster VLF XL 162 presses by up to 20 percent. Targeting the folding carton market, this next level of efficiency is enabled by the new “Packaging Speed Performance” (PSP) packages. Heidelberg’s Speedmaster XL 145/162 PSP printing presses are now available with increased maximum speed and top productivity up to 18,000 sph for the Speedmaster XL 145 and 16,500 sph for the Speedmaster XL 162. These speeds lead the industry and confirm that the newest press platform available is also the fastest.

Perfect for High-Volume Producers
Heidelberg’s new PSP speed class presses are designed for converters requiring maximum throughput and minimal waste. Key applications include conventional long runs in VLF packaging, e.g., pizza and cereal boxes, frozen foods, confectionery, pet food, and electronics. Superior Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE), a measure of makeready time, makeready waste, average net production speed and level of utilization, is critical to the success of this business model. By optimizing all of the components of OEE, the Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 145 PSP drives performance to new heights. Calculations confirm that a Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 145 VLF with PSP package, working three shifts per day, six days per week, produces twice as many sheets as a 2007 packaging press running at a maximum rated speed of 15,000 sph. The Speedmaster XL 145 with Packaging Speed Performance can produce 70 million or more sheets per year.

Many innovations enable the Speedmaster XL 145/162 to achieve top speeds consistently. These include an updated feeder, improved sheet guidance and a 32-foot delivery optimized with Heidelberg’s patented high-performance dryers. Not only do the Speedmaster XL 145 PSP and XL 162 PSP feature the longest drying sections on the market, but also unique-to-Heidelberg, round air nozzle technology that ensures efficient drying for the coating. The dryers are also equipped with seven slide-in units to ensure smooth production and complete drying at maximum speed.

When print quality is a priority, the high-performance inking and dampening system of the Speedmaster XL 145/XL 162 sets standards in color consistency throughout the run, i.e., the form rollers are smoothly transitioned onto the plate (no bending required), rather than hitting the front bend of the plate, often leading to stripes. Especially at higher machine speeds, Heidelberg’s Prinect Inpress Control spectrophotometric inline measuring and control system provides a major assist for operators by adjusting color and register on the fly.

The Evidence Is In
One year ago, key innovations on Heidelberg’s Speedmaster XL 145/162 VLF press series platform were recognized with the 2013 InterTech Technology Award from Printing Industries of America—the first press ever in the 57”/64” class to be so honored. Heidelberg became the U.S. market leader in VLF packaging presses for the first time in 2014, and has sold multiple Speedmaster VLF XL 145/162 models with the new PSP option to demanding customers in three U.S. locations to date this year.

Since the start of series production in 2009, more than 100 VLF Speedmaster XL 145/162 presses have been sold worldwide. Some 70 percent of these are used in package printing. Exacting customers in North America and abroad also have placed multiple repeat orders for Heidelberg’s VLF XL presses after seeing their initial investment exceed expectations in terms of availability, capacity and print quality. Currently, Heidelberg is recording the highest volume of orders since the start of production.

Rand Graphics of Wichita, KS, to Add a Six-Color, 41″ KBA Rapida 105 Sheetfed Offset Press in the Fall

KBA North America announces that Rand Graphics, a Wichita, KS, print specialist in point-of-purchase applications, will be adding a second KBA press—a new six-color, 41″ KBA Rapida 105 press with coater, UV, and a plastics package—to its arsenal. The new press is due for delivery early fall of 2014.

“The key to our success has been the ability to be flexible and offer our customers exactly what they need,” said Randy Vautravers, president of Rand Graphics. “What differentiates us is the ability to print on non-standard substrates with a combination of litho, screen and digital presses. We print on plastics, vinyls, rigid vinyls, PRV, PETG, and other unique substrates in addition to conventional papers. Our existing KBA Rapida 205 provides us with the ability to litho print up to 59×81″ on a variety of substrates, especially plastic. Seeing the quality and speed of our existing KBA press made it an easy decision for us to add a new 41″ model for additional work. We’re trading in an older non-KBA model for this new KBA Rapida 105 press.”

Rand installed its first KBA press—a five-color, 81″ Rapida 205 sheetfed press with coater, the largest press model in the world—in June 2011. That press gave Rand the opportunity to create new work and an opportunity to gain in efficiency, faster throughput, and flexibility while making Rand one of the few printers in the country with the award-winning press, Vautravers noted at the time. Since its installation, the Rapida 205 has provided significant benefits, making Rand much more efficient, significantly reducing its makeready, increase its speed, reduce spoilage, and allowing the company to produce and output more jobs.

KBA Introduces VariDry LED-UV Sheetfed Press Drying Technology

KBA North America is taking the lead with LED-UV curing, an exciting low-energy drying technology that is one of the hottest topics among commercial and packaging printers. KBA’s research and development team in Germany, along with its curing systems manufacturing and ink partners, has successfully integrated this instant cure-to-print technology as a modular, interchangeable LED-UV curing platform into its press line and is able to offer highly knowledgeable assistance to its current and prospective customers to immediately capitalize on LED-UV’s many advantages and benefits. Called VariDry LED-UV, the system’s significant advantages include:

  • Very low-energy costs to power LED-UV; a savings of up to 50 percent in power consumption and energy costs vs. conventional UV dryers
  • No heat on the printed sheet, thus eliminating distortion of plastic substrates
  • No spray powders or other chemicals
  • Yields more than 15 times the lifespan of conventional lamps
  • Flexibility to easily move LED-UV lamps interchangeably on press depending on job printing applications
  • Inks can be cured at up to 340 percent total coverage at standard densities
  • All stock types can be utilized including gloss and matte coated papers, uncoated offset papers, paperboard for packaging, non-porous synthetic papers, foil-laminated sheets and plastics such as lenticular, as well as most plastic packaging, card and label stocks
  • Environmental and safety benefits; UV, HUV, HR-UV or LE UV all rely on mercury lamps; LED eliminates the risk of mercury or ozone contamination and is 100 percent compliant with future bans on mercury for human safety

“We are the only large-format press manufacturer that can offer LED hybrid presses using both traditional UV and LED-UV processes,” said Chris Travis, KBA director of technology. At Drupa 2012, the company demonstrated LED-UV drying on a Rapida 106 41″ press—the first and only press manufacturer to do so. Today, it can offer LED-UV presses on all formats with or without traditional UV capability. “We also offer traditional UV presses that are LED-UV-ready,” Travis continued. “This means that when a printer wants to switch to LED or complement a traditional UV press, it can be easily accomplished with a few modifications since all KBA UV presses are LED-UV ready. This provides our customers with maximum flexibility and future-proofs their investment.” The KBA VariLED LED-UV system is fully integrated into the press and can be actuated according to the print format. In the future, when running a short sheet, the light-emitting diodes will turn off outside of the sheet.

“We see the immediate future of energy curable presses to be a combination of LED-UV and traditional UV,” remarked Travis. “For example, LED-UV offers a big advantage within the printing units while we will continue to utilize the benefits of traditional UV in the end-of-press dryer to cure coatings. At the Print UV Conference in early March 2014, we had many notable discussions about our technology with interested printers. KBA is at the forefront in this rapidly accelerating transition to LED UV drying as this new technology gains fast acceptance.”

In summer 2014, KBA will be offering live demonstrations of the new VariDry LED-UV curing technology at its customer center in Radebeul, Germany, on presses ranging from Rapida 75, 105, 106 and thereafter on the 145 and is preparing to announce significant LED successes around the world.

Komori Debuts New Flagship Lithrone GX40 Press That Can Print Up to 18,000 Sheets Per Hour

More than 100 customers were on hand as Komori debuted its latest flagship press, the Lithrone GX40, intuitively designed to fulfill a wide range of the most demanding industry requirements. The cutting-edge Lithrone GX40 stands on the pinnacle of Komori technologies and expertise. In addition to extremely stable printing at 18,000 sheets per hour maximum printing speed—even with heavy stock—the Lithrone GX40 delivers enhanced agility for color changeovers, significantly advancing print quality. Its high performance and flexibility make the GX40 ideal for package printing applications as well as the high-quality color applications produced by upmarket commercial printers.

The GX40 can be equipped with a wide range of features for every requirement, including automatic non-stop feeder and delivery systems, new automatic cleaning/washing systems and special configurations to handle complex added-value work. The energy-conserving, space-saving design, along with reduced heat emissions, provides genuine benefits for the environment. In addition, the new GX40 can be equipped with a PDF comparison system, which is ideal for the pharmaceutical packaging market. Once a perfect sheet is achieved, it is scanned with the PDC-SX scanning spectrophotometer and matched to the PDF file. Defect sheets are identified by sheet number—which is applied with the optional Komori inkjet numbering system that numbers every sheet as it enters the feeder. This allows the operator to pull just the defective sheet. This dramatically reduces waste, which is critical in the packaging market.

Features include:

  • High productivity on long runs requiring heavy stock due to stable operation at 18,000 sph
  • Seamless, fast makeready even when using special colors
  • High print quality perfect for deluxe printing work
  • Wide range of machine configurations and specifications
  • Reduced environmental footprint and exceptional ease-of-use

Komori America president and COO Kosh Miyao stated, “The GX40 leapfrogs competitive presses on the market today. Its advanced capabilities are the result of Komori listening to its customers and adding the features necessary for both packaging requirements and high-end commercial print applications. Watching it in operation, you can clearly see it exemplifies our corporate commitment to kando—exceeding customer expectations.”