The six-colour double-coater Speedmaster XL106-6+LYYLX also includes a PDF verification system which will reject sheets that have defects on them. It is understood that this is the first implementation of such technology in the pharmaceutical sector.
The press also includes Autoplate and HyColor Multidrive, which will enable fast wash ups between spot colours and meet a rising demand for shorter runs and delivery times. This is driven by growth in generic version of out of patent medicines, while at the same time according to operations director Alan Porter some of the larger pharmaceutical companies want larger order quantities.
“This technology enables an agile approach to quality, service and accuracy at our Belfast site for our customers,” he says.
The press includes Inpress Control 2, calibrated to run with the MPS in-house colour library ensuring consistency between print runs for a customer and across locations. In addition the Prinect Inspection Control 2 will monitor and verify the artwork of each carton blank against a PDF. Any sheets that have defects in a graphic element or the text will be automatically diverted to a rejection pile.
This will reduce problems at the folder gluer stage where any boxes with problems can slow production. “This is a significant step forward within quality control and adds value to our downstream departments by helping to further reduce variation. We will soon be able to identify any defect sheets with a serial number that will provide us with full traceability,” says Porter.
MPS Belfast is part of the WestRock Group following the acquisition of the MPS group in June last year. The group has been a regular purchaser of Heidelberg presses, including two of the longest Speedmasters in the world at its drinks and confectionery packaging factory in Glasgow. This is a first Heidelberg investment in Belfast, however.
Key account manager at Heidelberg UK Gary Wilkinson says: “This is a major step forward in technology and automation for MPS Belfast. We have supplied a very highly specified machine but, as importantly, we have trained teams of operators at Brentford and at the manufacturing hub in Wiesloch to ensure everyone is ready for the start-up of the new press and able to maximise its capability.”
The press at MPS Belfast is understood to be the first in the pharmaceutical sector to include Prinect Inspection Control to check the integrity of what is printed against the signed off PDF. Any sheets that fall short of perfect will be directed to a rejection pile.