Day three of Heidelberg Innovation Week: Automated presses for label production

On the third day of Heidelberg Innovation Week, the company highlighted how to economically and sustainably produce labels with the help of automation

22 Oct 2020 | By Aultrin Vijay

Markus Winter, senior manager service at Heidelberg

The first two days of the Heidelberg Innovation Week highlighted the latest technologies in the field of commercial printing. On the third day, the company showcased how automation of presses can benefit label printers in terms of profits and material savings. 

Markus Winter, senior manager service at Heidelberg presented the importance of timing in the economical and sustainable finishing of wet glue labels. He said the customer demands are getting more complex with decreasing print runs, shorter delivery times and the move towards sustainability. 

Winter claimed that Heidelberg has been developing innovative and cost effective printing presses in the world based on customer inputs. He said, the key to address such customer demands is a smart printing press that can navigate and automatically produce print shops based on the company’s Push to Stop principle, which was introduced on the first day of the Heidelberg Innovation Week. 

“Autonomous running routine takes the strain off the operator. Prinect combines all steps from end-to-end from pre-press modules to offset printing and post-press,” Winter said. “Push to Stop starts with preparation and production planning with the schedule. Orders are  prepared and fed into the job queue in such a way that they are processed in the optimum sequence.” 

Once the job is released, the job change sequence is automatically created and Intellistart 3 makes sure of this, which in turn minimises errors. All work done on the press can be visualised directly at the press centre with the help of Intelliguide. 

Another feature named Intelliline notifies the printer when manual intervention is required. 

“The system knows the most economical way to achieve your goal. The overall system efficiency of the press increases while the cost per sheet decreases. This makes short runs more attractive,” added Winter.

Heidelberg’s new Hycolor Multidrive inking unit is claimed to be “the leading technology”. It allows to disable an inking unit if not in use or wash it during produciton. The inking unit can also be washed at the same time as the rubber blanket and impression cylinders. 

“As setup processes are becoming increasingly complex, Hycolor Multidrive saves precious time. And with our new XL 106, the impression cylinder of the coating unit can also be washed automatically. This is the key technology for reducing setup times and it’s integrated into the Intellistart processors,” he said.

Finishing is a key element in meeting market demand, particularly in the label sector. “Our Foilstar is the market benchmark when it comes to label production. Up to 80% of material is saved thanks to its individual adjustable indexing length during production,” Winter explained.

He said that cold foil is "the ideal solution" in terms of metallic effect variety and high production speed. “Products with cold foil are environmentally friendly because much less aluminium is brought into circulation and the labels can be much better recycled.” 

Winter said that the the correct setting of the ink moisture film is the basis for high quality print production. During the presentation he announced that the dampening system of the new Speedmaster will be controlled digitally by the company’s new Hycolor Pro feature from now on. 

“The amount of dampening solution is the determining factor between the dampening and metering rollers. The degree of dampening can be metered directly from the press centre and the lubrication limit can be approached more precisely and fine corrections can be made from the console during production, which prevents paper waste,” Winter said. 

According to Winter, once a job is completed all production data is made available in the system. The quality of each print job is documented by Inpress Control. “Also, the Polar LabelSystem DC-11 Plus guarantees the swiftest completion,” he said. 

According to Heidelberg, the new generation of Speedmaster presses can be configured specifically for the specialist discipline of wet-glue label production. In combination with the Prinect production workflow, it is said to provide maximum productivity. “Metallic finishing on labels is the latest trend and demand is increasing. Highly innovative and above all sustainable, fascinating metallic effects can be achieved with the Foilstar, with material savings of up to 80%,” the company stated.