For the first time in 35 years, Printing Industries of America (PIA) has honored a 57"/64" sheetfed offset press with a prestigious 2013 InterTech Technology Award. Heidelberg's Speedmaster XL 145/162 VLF press series was recognized for its twin-gripper delivery system and Remote Fan-Out Control (RFOC), features that bring true peak performance to large-format, light paper printing and perfecting. The combined cost savings of both technologies can top $1 million per year in time and paper costs alone.
"True leadership is proven by consistency," said Harald Weimer, president of Heidelberg USA. "This is the 32nd time a Heidelberg innovation has been privileged to receive an InterTech Technology Award, and we are extremely proud to continue our unique history of innovation. This year, Heidelberg is the only offset press manufacturer to be so honored. Launched in 2008, our XL 145/162 platform is the newest in the industry, as well as the first to receive an InterTech Technology Award in this class."
Launched at drupa 2012, the twin-gripper delivery secures both the front and tail edge of the sheet, guiding it all the way through the delivery, without any scratching or marking. As the sheet approaches the delivery pile, a separate slow-down system takes the tail end of the sheet and positions it on the delivery pile, eliminating the need for sheet brake corridors, thereby saving up to 1.9" in sheet width on every sheet.
"Besides the paper savings, there are other benefits as well," said Joerg Daehnhardt, director of product management for Heidelberg USA. "In the web2print business especially, different jobs can be distributed wherever they fit on the page, without the limitations of break-corridors running from print start to end. This enables users to take full advantage of formats up to 64x48", without artificial limitations."
The InterTech Technology Award also recognized Remote Fan-Out Control, another Heidelberg innovation. Lightweight paper tends to stretch during the offset printing process, leading to paper growth or "fan-out" that used to force an operator to stop the press and manually adjust the tail clamps of the plate. With Remote Fan-Out Control, however, these adjustments are made directly from the Prinect Press Center console, and register-fit is achieved throughout the sheet from gripper to tail. At the end of a job, the press automatically moves all tail clamps back into zero position before the plates are ejected.
"The engineering is nothing short of amazing," Daehnhardt said. "Wireless power and data transfer into the turning plate cylinder permit reliable adjustments on-the-fly. In combination with the twin-gripper delivery, Remote Fan-Out Control enables Heidelberg VLF presses to be cost-competitive in very short run lengths."
The savings are systematic and highly relevant. On a straight 7-color press, Remote Fan-Out Control can save up to 10 minutes on every makeready. For long perfecting presses, a 4/4 makeready can be completed in less than 10 minutes, with as few as 50 waste sheets.