Heidelberg’s XL VLF Series presses represent a quantum leap forward for the VLF market in many ways. Market studies conducted during the development of Heidelberg’s XL VLF press platform, for example, revealed a huge opportunity to dramatically shorten makeready times. Customer performance data on Heidelberg’s Speedmaster XL 145 and VLF 162 VLF presses subsequently showed that automation and synchronization of key press functions, together with elimination of makeready steps, results in the systematic reduction of waste, time and material associated with setup and changeover on new and repeat jobs. Customers the world over repeatedly attest to the validity of Heidelberg’s claims in this regard.
In the U.S. Proteus Packaging’s (Franklin, Wis.) executive vice president and CEO Tim Wayman observed, “Even at high speeds, the feed table with central suction belt adjusts automatically to the format and printing stock, greatly minimizing our makeready times. Prinect Inpress Control permits faster inking up and eliminates the need to stop the press for sheet pulls and color measurements, dramatically reducing our setup waste.”
Likewise, said Tom Frankowski, senior vice president of manufacturing for the Quad/Graphics plant in Radzymin, Poland, which installed the country’s first Speedmaster XL 162 with Prinect Inpress Control in 2010: “The key success factor is to produce the highest quality available with the lowest possible paper waste. This is crucial for the environment and the balance sheet. The Heidelberg VLF press was designed to meet these requirements. Our machine operators call the Speedmaster VLF press ‘a printing machine for printers’ because there is no other press in the market that meets the needs of printers in a better way—it is fast, reliable and easy to handle—all at the same time.”
Shortly after the 2010 installation of a 6-color Speedmaster XL 145 with dual coating and integrated material logistics at Karl Knauer KG in Biberach, Germany in 2010, Production Manager Gerhard Kammerer noted that the company had stipulated that the new press should be ready to produce packaging orders after 250 makeready sheets, representing a considerable savings in time and material for average run lengths of 7,000 sheets. “We are still performing optimization tests to raise the efficiency of the machine further still,” Kammerer said at the time, “but we have already achieved a 30 percent improvement in capacity over the previous machine.”
Elimination of Makeready Steps
Standard features on the 57” Speedmaster XL VLF 145 and 64” VLF 162 include:
• A single-suction belt feeder that is a zero-makeready element – air settings are preset automatically and no rollers or hold down elements need to be set.
• The proven ink fountain liner that enables fast, clean ink changes as the operator doesn’t have to wipe down each fountain with a rag.
• Fully automatic plate changing – on a straight press, all plates are changed in less than 2.5 minutes
• Convenient coating plate changes – designed to be completed by one operator in less than 2.5 minutes
• In addition, extensive presetting of all ink, air, format and dryer settings via the high-performance Prinect Press Center dramatically speeds makeready on first-time and repeat jobs alike.
• The innovative, process-oriented Intellistart navigation system streamlines and standardizes makeready procedures from operator to operator and shift to shift, significantly boosting Speedmaster productivity.