Day four of Heidelberg Innovation Week: Unveiling a new generation of package printing 

Through his video presentation during Day Four of the Heidelberg Innovation Week 2020, Paul Thompson, technical sales, post-press packaging, Heidelberg, shared highlights of new Speedmaster XL 106. “A new machine generation always follows a clear vision to lighten the load of the operator, increase productivity and avoid errors. This is what Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106 focuses on. Thanks to its innovative user experience and artificial intelligence, it opens up completely new avenues in package printing."

23 Oct 2020 | By PrintWeek Team

The Speedmaster XL 106 ensures greater efficiencies even for the most complex jobs

Powered by automation, the new Speedmaster XL 106 does all the routine work on its own, thus ensuring greater efficiency even for complex jobs. It can sort sheets according to the objective criteria, automate it with individual tolerance definitions and achieve a clean delivery pile with only sellable products.

The machine comprises a pre-settable Code Star at the feeder which marks each sheet with a code to track them during the production cycle. Besides this, the Prinect workflow system coordinates all print processes while the Intellistart 3 determines all the makeready processes autonomously. "The Intellistart 3 is the heart of the new 2020 Speedmaster generation. It enables the printer to operate a high-tech machine intuitively like a smartphone. Routine tasks such as plate changing are automated while the makeready processes take place in parallel. This saves a substantial amount of time,” said Thompson.

In addition, the machine is also equipped with automatic ink presets that are substrate-specific and a Hycolor Multidrive which enables the inking and dampening units to function independently on the main drive.

Washing off the inks from the printing component is often a time consuming and challenging task. Thus, with the new Speedmaster XL 106 settings powered by wash assistants, the inking unit wash-ups can take place parallel to printing and coating plate changes or simultaneously during the impression cylinder and blanket washes. Moreover, an unused inking unit can even be made ready during the printing process. “For the first time, it is also possible to automatically clean an impression cylinder of the coating unit. A permanent record is kept to the degree of ink contamination left in the printing units by the preceding job. The Wash Assistant uses this data to automatically select the most suitable wash-up programme.”

Thompson added, “The differences in the brightness of subsequent inks are taken into account especially when using spot colours in package printing. This saves time, routine work, as well as the wash-up solution, increasing the production capacity of the machine by up to 125 hours per year."

Another innovation, Hycolor Pro, introduces Speedmaster Xl 106’s completely automated dampening unit which determines the amount of dampening solution to be utilised and metered between the dipping and metering rollers.

According to Thompson, for the first time, the printer can also adjust the pressing and squeezing directly at the Prinect Press Center XL 3 console. “The printer can target the dampening on one side and thus, react faster and sensitively. This means less weight and faster reaching of the good sheet and stable production run conditions. This also saves time and effort while allowing the finest corrections to be made during the production.”

At higher speeds of five sheets per second, it is no longer possible for the operator at the press to check all sheets. Hence, the German-based printing specialist has integrated two fully automated measuring systems to the Speedmaster press ­– Prinect Impress Control 3 and Impression Control 3. The Impress Control 3 comprises an inline spectrophotometer for optimum colour and register measurement, while the Inspection control automatically compares each sheet with a reference. “Both systems are set up during the makeready process with the Intellistart 3. Even if one of these systems detects deviations in colour or content during the production run, the job will be unsellable.

“A peak performance press like the Speedmaster XL 106 can consistently run at top speeds if all processes are automated and intelligently networked. Folding carton production is and remains a core competence for Heidelberg. And with the new 2020 generation of Speedmaster XL, we are offering a unique combination of operator guidance and technology that will keep your productivity at the top,” he concluded.


Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106: At a glance

Continuous process optimisation through artificial intelligence

Integrated Speedmaster operating system with intuitive touch operating concept

Zero minutes additional makeready time due to fully automated air settings when changing substrates using characteristic profiles

Plate change with AutoPlate XL 3 in less than one minute

Waste ejection system – no subsequent quality inspection necessary

Improvement of the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and operator-independent performance through intelligent automation

Autonomous printing from the last to the first sheet