Graphic Packaging International is installing a highly specified Heidelberg XL106 at its Gateshead plant. The additional machine will enable it to print 30-40 million more B1 sheets a year and is the company’s second Speedmaster XL106.
An extra Bobst ExpertCut 106 PER will take the investment at the plant to more than £5 million, generating eight additional jobs at the site. There is no need for any additional carton gluing, the company says.
The new press is a six-colour double coater machine and will join an eight-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster XL106 installed in 2014. This earlier machine has a perfecting unit, allowing print on the inside of the carton. This feature is not needed on the latest machine. It is replacing a Komori Lithrone, leaving GPI in the UK as an all Heidelberg operation across three sites. There are XL106 Speedmasters at the plant in Coalville and XL145s at the plant in Leeds.
GPI Gateshead plant manager Andrew Pybus says: “GPI'sGateshead investment will enable the company to meet increased demand from retailers and private labels seeking more sustainable packaging options. We are driving innovation in cartonboard to cater for the global environmental trend and our north east development is key to maintaining our success.”
The fast makeready options on the press will cope with shorter production runs and faster turnarounds which are percolating the packaging sector. The company’s average production run in 2017 was down to 9,211 sheets, making many jobs shorter than this.
The new press has been specified with this in mind. It is the first press in the GPI group with Inpress Control spectrophotometric measurement in the press. This is a first for GPI in the UK. In addition there is a full logistics system to load pallets to the feeder and remove them from the delivery to enable non stop running. The press is mounted on a plinth. It has Autoplate Pro for semi automated plate changing. And for the first time in the UK, the Autoplate Pro is applied to the coating units to position and replace coating plates automatically. This functionality was introduced at Drupa, says Heidelberg UK sales director Jim Todd and is now coming available.
The press has the full set of UV curing including interdeck units and has a hot air/IR dryer to enable the press to run with either UV or conventional inks.
The fifth and sixth print units have the HyColor Multidrive technology which will lock off one print unit for cleaning and priming with a new spot colour while the press is running while running with a spot colour in the other unit.
“This is a press capable of ultra short print runs thanks to makeready times which come down from 20-30 minutes to less than ten minutes typically, thanks to the technology,” says Todd. It is where the company can anticipate a leap in productivity despite removing one operating press for the new Heidelberg.