12 February 2017 Print Companies

MPS to be pioneer of Heidelberg's B1 inkjet press

Heidelberg has named MPS's Obersulm plant as the pilot site for its Primefire 106, the inkjet press to drive digital ambitions.

Heidelberg has named MPS as the first pilot installation of its Primefire 106. It will be installed at the company’s Obersulm factory around one hour from Heidelberg's Wiesloch factory.

The factory is being enlarged to come with an influx of work from the Stuttgart plant that MPS is closing. This brings confectionery work to the site to join the healthcare and cosmetics work that is currently printed at the site. Building work to create a segregated area for confectionery and to house the new press is underway.

The Primefire 106 will be shipped from Heidelberg to the site in the next few weeks, once alterations have been completed. The Primefire 106 is essentially the same machine as seen at Drupa 2016, offering a seven-colour inkset to cover more than 90% of PMS colours. There have been improvements to image quality and other changes resulting from the feedback received says Heidelberg sheetfed digital general manager Montserrat Peidro-Insa.

“It is running at the same resolution as at Drupa and at the same speed, 2,500sph,” she says. “But we will also offer an option of running at 4,000sph. This will make the Primefire 106 the most productive sheetfed inkjet press available.”

MPS, with sites across the world and operating across a host of sectors, is considered an ideal test site. It can work our the where the Primefire best matches needs and what the best business models are and where digital printing can sit within product life cycles.

MPS is printing cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and corporate packaging for both large and smaller brands,” says Peidro-Insa. Among the spread of jobs at the Obersulm site is hair dye packaging where a long run of boxers for the customer can be divided into multiple smaller batches for different shades of blond and brunette.

Once the press is settled, Heidelberg will install other test machines ahead of the full commercial launch in a year’s time. By this means Heidelberg hopes to gain as wide an appreciation as possible of potential applications for the B1 press. A number of customers are keen to participate in the programme, some among the 40 companies attending an open day in Germany last week where the press was put through it paces.

“We see litho and digital technologies as fully complementary,” she says. The digital press will relieve pressure on conventional machines she says by taking on the shorter jobs and will enhance a converter’s offering by enabling production of short runs for new products, new customers and those looking for new ways to take products to market.

Peidro-Insa is keen to stress that Heidelberg has fulfilled commitments at Drupa to ship the pilot machine early in 2017. “We have kept to the schedule we announced 18 months ago,” she says.

MPS is currently being acquired by WestRock, a move which will integrate board with carton printing and form the world’s largest packaging operation. The company is also accustomed to pilot testing having been one of the initial installation sites for the HP Indigo 30000 B2 digital carton press.

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First customer for Primefire

First customer for Primefire

Global account manager Thomas Heissler, MPS Obersulm md Götz Schümann and Monserrat Peidro-Insa with the Primefire 106 that is due for installation at the nearby MPS Obersulm plant. It is the same specification as the Drupa machine, but updates are coming.

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