Multi Packaging Solutions has bought the largest sheetfed press that Heidelberg has ever built. The 18-unit Speedmaster XL106 will be installed at its East Kilbride plant alongside a similar press installed four years ago, but that had only 17 units.
The foundations for the huge machine are now being prepared ahead of installation in March. Commissioning will follow with the aim of being in full production by the middle of the year.
MPS is cagey about the precise configuration of the machine. However, it will include 11 print units, three coating towers, four drying units and inline cold foiling. It will also perfect, enabling the inside of the carton to be decorated to the same quality as the outside in a single pass through the press.
The machine will produce premium packaging for food and drink customers, primarily for the Scotch whisky producers and confectionery. Premium brands have used packaging to create a luxury feel with foils, opaque white and varnish effects to achieve shelf appeal. And it works. Exports of Scotch in 2015 were valued at £3.95 billion, around 25% of the UK’s food and drink exports.
The press will be mounted on an 875mm plinth. Even so a stack of 0.8mm board will need to be changed in less than ten minutes when the press is running at 18,000sph. A logistics system which automatically loads fresh board at one end and removes the printed stack at the other is essential.
The press joins a variety of other litho and flexo machines at the East Kilbride plant and replaces an eight-unit Roland 900. The smaller sheet size of the Heidelberg is easier to control in terms of register for the key elements, says Heidelberg UK sales director Jim Todd.
Tim Whitfield, EVP European Branded Consumer, says; “The colour control system offers a special opaque white control, enhancing quality on the popular metabolised boards used in alcoholic drinks, confectionery, cosmetics and personal care sectors. Quality reports are available automatically so customers can be certain that their specified colours are reproduced to the highest tolerances.”
The combination makes it possible to achieve the zero defect target that demanding brands require even with a press of this complexity. As well as the extra printing unit, says Todd “this press runs at 18,000sph where for most packaging installations top speed has been 15,000sph. And it will perfect at this speed which has a big impact on productivity.”
Marc Shore, CEO of MPS, adds: “We are making a significant investment to ensure we can meet the needs of some of the world’s most prestigious brands. The highly specified 18-unit B1 Speedmaster we have ordered will allow us to handle even more processes inline and with total quality control.”
The 18-unit Speedmaster XL106 headed for MPS East Kilbride was put through its paces on a series of acceptance tests, including operation at 18,000sph, at the Heidelberg Wiesloch factory. At East Kilbride it will run alongside a similar 17-unit machine installed four years ago.
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