Heidelberg launches new generation Speedmasters

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The world's biggest offset press manufacturer Heidelberg is launching what it says is a new generation of Speedmaster presses, which it calls 'the most intelligent and most automated' to date.

Intelligent: new generation Heidleberg Speedmasters
Intelligent: new generation Heidleberg Speedmasters

The press giant says the new Speedmasters take its Push to Stop concept to the next level. The presses have a completely new Plate to Unit feature, an eye-catching fully automatic printing plate system which removes the need for any operator action in loading and unloading plates, they are essentially stacked then fed into the units from above.

Heidelberg says Plate to Unit improves logistics, delivers lower personnel costs, and greater process reliability with short runs.

The new commercial and packaging Speedmasters will be launched to the world simultaneously at drupa and at the company's production centre in nearby Weisloch, although the new Speedmasters will be in series production as early as April.

Heidelberg's drupa presence will see it run twin sites: it will be in its traditional Hall 1 at the Messe Centre, where it will highlight digital integrated solutions; while at the same time running themed days in Weisloch under its Smart Print Shop banner.

The new Speedmaster generation comprises all of Heidelberg’s 'peak performance', presses, including the XL 75 and the XL 106. All of the new models, in small, medium and large formats, will have the new Push to Stop functionalities and a cloud connection equipped as standard.

Heidelberg said this will enable all customer groups to enjoy the ever-increasing range of cloud-based software solutions, and also benefit from future developments.

“These integrated measures will enable our customers to take the next step at drupa 2020 towards much higher productivity and process reliability,” said Heidelberg head of sheetfed product management Rainer Wolf.

“Our forecast at drupa 2016 that the industry would double its productivity by 2026 is on its way to becoming a reality, and Push to Stop is the key to this.

“We will present all kinds of technical innovations at Drupa 2020 to solve our customers’ concrete problems and close gaps in the automation chain. Interesting innovations in the area of intelligent assistance systems and artificial intelligence will be an impressive display of what is already possible today and where development will lead in the coming years.”

Explaining the new Plate to Unit system Wolf said, “There’s no point in just increasing the speed of the printing press. That would be like being stuck in a traffic jam and expecting a faster car to solve the problem. Optimised, coordinated overall processes are a much more effective way of increasing productivity in the long term – they solve the traffic jam and deliver continuous schedulable productivity at the highest level. This is exactly where our focus lies.”

“At drupa 2020, Heidelberg will address the increasing job complexity in the press room with the simultaneous increase in requirements for operator qualification and improved productivity. In addition to increasing the output of the printing press itself, software-supported applications, intelligent user guidance, and autonomous processes as part of an integrated solution system – or as we say, Smart Print Shop – will continue to grow in importance in terms of the competitiveness of the print shop”, explains Prof Dr Ulrich Hermann, member of the management board responsible for Lifecycle Solutions and chief digital officer at Heidelberg.

“Heidelberg not only supplies tailored technology, from equipment to software and consumables, but also performance services aimed at increasing the performance of our customers' overall system. With new services like Heidelberg Subscription we not only ensure the optimal technology, but also look after our customers’ available productivity. This delivers planning certainty and gives print shops the freedom they need to devote more effort to cultivating their market and innovating their offering.”

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