For 33 years, AMP Printing and Graphics, one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s premier commercial printers, relied on the legendary dependability and print quality of its Heidelberg machines, all of which were from 12-20 years old. Push came to shove, however, when the Dublin, CA-based company determined that it would need to invest in a 10-color Speedmaster XL 106 perfecting press with two-sided UV printing and coating capabilities in order to stay competitive.
“Our decision had a lot to do with economics,” said Jeff Main, who, together with his wife, Kathy, president of the company, made the financial commitment to move forward with this major capital expenditure. “While we’ve always been successful running Heidelberg presses, we were losing ground in an extremely competitive marketbecause we were working with aging, less-productive equipment. There was never an issue with our name, reputation or the quality of our work, just with what it cost us in terms of the time and labor needed to sustain that level of excellence,” he said. “No matter how hard or how long we worked, we just couldn’t compete on productivity. We made up our mind to retool and update our pressroom in order to work faster and more efficiently while growing the business.”
Doing as well as the competition wasn’t an option. “We wanted to lead, not follow,” Main said.
An Eye-Opening Experience
That quest ultimately led AMP’s management team to visit Heidelberg’s factory in Wiesloch, Germany, and to tour a number of Europe’s most progressive printing facilities. What Main saw caused him to re-think his original investment plans.
“It wasn’t until we saw the new technology of the XL 106 that we decided to invest in a brand-new UV press,” Main said. “It was immediately clear that no other press manufacturer could beat the XL 106 in terms of print quality, speed, performance, and ease of use.”
The fact was, AMP Printing had never bought a new Heidelberg press before, let alone a two-sided UV perfector.
“Had you asked me a year ago if I’d ever buy a perfector, I would have said no, given the subpar perfecting capabilities of some older equipment I’d seen,” Main said. “When I went to Germany to view the XL 106 in action, I never imagined that I would wind up buying a perfector. But the technology and the quality exceeded all my expectations. Heidelberg has absolutely perfected the perfecting press.”
For Main, the overseas trip was a revelation in more ways than one. “When we saw European printers running demanding automotive catalogs at full speed, we realized that the quality would match our standards, “ Main explained, “but what really sealed the deal were the unbelievably fast makereadies enabled by the new technology. We saw setups that took well under 10 minutes—and that was for getting color and register on both sheet sides. The XL 106 perfector is truly revolutionary and a total mind-changer in my case. It’s the best investment this company has ever made.”
Thanks to automated features like Prinect Inpress Control and AutoPlate XL, AMP will be able to address its productivity issue by expanding its capacity, attracting additional high-end work, and by producing many more jobs per day—most in just one press pass. This will streamline press checks, as well as enable a customer to walk out the door with a finished sample after just one setup.