Hammer Packaging became the first US customer to install a Heidelberg Speedmaster CX 102 press earlier this year, and has nothing but praise for the performance of its latest addition since the new press commenced full production during the first week in April.
The Rochester, NY-based company chose a UV-capable Speedmaster CX 102-8+L with CutStar roll sheeter, Prinect Press Center with Intellistart operator guidance system and integrated Wallscreen. An integrated IST UV system utilizes the new Electronic Lamp Control (ELC) that enables the system to operate at very low energy consumption and take up 50 percent less floor space.
“Heidelberg has delivered a machine that absolutely lives up to its advance billing,” said Lou Iovoli, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships. “Because press technology has improved so greatly and so quickly, it’s critical that a new machine perform to expectations in short order. The Speedmaster CX 102 does what Heidelberg said it would do.”
The Right Tool for the Job at Hand
Specifically, Iovoli said, the CX 102 is “built for speed and flexibility” in handling multiple film stocks, including 2 mil clear and 1.2 to 3.2 mil white, thanks also to an innovative gripper system and high-performance cylinder bearings native to Heidelberg’s Speedmaster XL 105 technology platform. Combined with 50 percent faster makereadies and minimal setup waste, these and other features, make the Speedmaster CX 102 an ideal tool for Hammer’s high-volume, mixed-UV, label-printing operation.
According to Iovoli, Heidelberg’s Speedmaster CX 102 is every inch a press that represents the state-of-the art in offset label printing. For a company like Hammer, which prides itself on leading the industry in terms of technology, the logic of new investment is straightforward.
“Like commercial printing, packaging and label printing are capital-intensive businesses characterized by dramatic incremental and cumulative improvements in the technology,” said James E. Hammer, President and CEO of Hammer Packaging. “If you’re going to be a leader, you have to pay attention to these developments and be prepared to invest in equipment and software that will elevate your capabilities, lower your operational costs and enable you to stay competitive. Like Hammer, Heidelberg never stops looking at every component and taking advantage of every opportunity for improvement. The first-generation Speedmaster CX 102 is a fine example of this approach. We not only have expanded our capacity and improved our redundancy during peak periods, but also definitely have added sales in the wake of this installation.”
Service and Support Count for A Lot
Iovoli is quick to point out that Heidelberg also distinguishes itself where the rubber meets the road on training, service and support.
“Heidelberg’s installation team management showed they took our timeline seriously and adhered to the schedule we had established to have the press up and running in time to meet our obligations,” he said. Post-installation training focused on bringing Hammer’s operators up to speed on key improvements in the CX 102 platform over the company’s existing CD 102s “The technology was different enough that training was extremely valuable,” Iovoli said. Service needs are met by a combination of on-site and remote options, including a third-shift electrical issue resolved within 10 minutes via email from engineers in Germany.
Positioned between the Speedmaster XL 105 and the CD 102 and targeted to high-end commercial, label and packaging printers, the Speedmaster CX 102 represents a new market segment in the 40-inch format. It makes key components of the Speedmaster XL platform available in the popular and well-established CD 102 format for the first time. Technology highlights include:
- Production speeds up to 16,500 sheets per hour
- High-performance Prinect Press Center control console
- Patented decentralized control platform
- Highly automated Preset Plus Feeder and Preset Plus Delivery
- Reinforced printing unit construction in new design
- DryStar dryer technology perfectly adapted to the sheet travel
Out in Front
At Hammer Packaging, a core philosophy has been to reinvest 10 percent of annual sales back into “new technology” the following year. “My philosophy has always been to lead the industry - not follow it,” Hammer said.
Based on its experience with the Speedmaster CX 102, Hammer Packaging will be watching future developments from Heidelberg closely. Said Iovoli, “As Heidelberg continues to refine and improve its technology, we’re looking to increase the number of our Heidelberg presses that will help us produce more high-quality labels faster and more cost-effectively for our customers.”
Roughly 70 percent of Hammer’s capacity supports the production of litho-based labels for the food and beverage industry, with web offset and flexo-printed labels accounting for the rest. The company is also world's largest producer of premium seed packets. Customers include Gatorade, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, and many other well-known brands. The $100 million company employs more than 400 people at three plants in the Rochester area.