Heidelberg presented the new Speedmaster CX 104 – live at this year’s largest customer event, China Print from June 23 to 27 in Beijing, and also online at its simultaneous IT’S SHOWTIME! digital customer event. We talk about it with Mauro Antonini of Heidelberg Italy
With the new Speedmaster CX 104, Heidelberg is looking to further build on its strong position in the expanding packaging segment and meet the growing demand for flexible printing systems with a variety of automation solutions and variants in the commercial sector. The new 104 sheet format press offers commercial, packaging, and label printing customers access to cutting-edge sheetfed offset technology from Heidelberg with an outstanding price-performance ratio.
Unique operating philosophy with intelligent assistance systems as standard
The Speedmaster CX 104 boasts a new, ergonomic design with excellent accessibility and offers a completely new operating philosophy (Heidelberg UX), together with a whole host of assistance systems included as standard. This provides the best possible support for operators at the Prinect Press Center XL 3 control station and at the press itself. To ensure makeready times are always kept short, the patented Intellistart 3 system automatically determines the makeready processes required for the jobs to be produced. This involves continuously monitoring the press status and comparing it with the upcoming jobs. Intellistart 3 initiates the makeready process and carries it out automatically. Intelliguide and the Intelliline color-controlled LED elements on the printing and coating units tell operators the press operating status at any given time and indicate any manual intervention that is required. The newly developed Intellirun software provides a preview of several planned jobs. This gives operators information prioritized according to the situation, which helps them prevent unnecessary downtimes by taking prompt action.
There are also a number of assistance systems based on artificial intelligence, such as Wash Assistant and Color Assistant Pro. These systems enable user-friendly, intuitive end-to-end operation, ensure stable processes that can be controlled precisely, and boost performance thanks to minimal makeready times, less waste, and lower energy consumption. Various Prinect color measurement systems also provide optimum, reproducible color stability with minimal waste.
New coating unit for efficient and flexible top-quality surface finishing
One highlight of the Speedmaster CX 104 is its new coating unit. It is based on XL technology, which places the focus on simplified operation, faster makeready, and a further improvement in coating quality.
Accessibility is optimized thanks to the arrangement of key elements. A 30 percent lower roller weight of the anilox roller makes the changeover process more ergonomic and far faster. A time saving of up to 75 percent based on one-person operation has already been confirmed under real-life conditions by pilot customers. The Speedmaster CX 104 is the first press to use as standard the new “pulse laser process” (PLP) screen rollers manufactured by Heidelberg. This patented process with targeted laser pulses enables particularly gentle engraving, which results in homogeneous coating surfaces and thus uniformly high gloss levels. These advantages come into their own with UV coatings and when using a helical engraved anilox roller with the new pressurized chamber blade system. Consistent pressure in the chamber suppresses foaming by preventing air pockets in the coating. Even at maximum printing speeds, excellent gloss results and effects can be achieved under stable production conditions. All functions can be operated intuitively on the coating unit itself, and many functions can also be controlled efficiently and adjusted remotely from Press Center XL 3.
Innovations in inking/dampening unit increase versatility
The inking/dampening unit on the new Speedmaster CX 104 is geared to optimum quality and productivity. Additional functions are also available for customers that are looking to further boost the performance of this unit, especially in UV printing. For example, integrated ink mist extraction cuts pressroom emissions, in particular at high printing speeds. An automatic ink agitator ensures high printing quality by keeping the viscosity of the UV ink constant. An additional washup solution supply is optionally available for mixed operation with conventional and UV inks. Switching between UV and conventional operation means the correct washup solution is used fully automatically and this makes the washup process far faster. The Auto Protect option protects the rollers in the inking units without a color assignment by applying Saphira Roller Protection Liquid. Intellistart 3 controls this process automatically based on the job data and printing unit assignment, which means no manual intervention is required. This also applies to deep cleaning – another extra – which is automatically suggested when switching from dark to light colors so that the operator can complete other tasks in parallel, saving around five minutes per printing unit.
Face to face with Mauro Antonini, Head of Equipment, Digital Technology & Marketing at Heidelberg Italia
Mauro, let’s remember first Alberto Mazzoleni, whose unexpected death shocked the world of the press?
“Alberto, in the company for over 20 years, was a manager and an important colleague, under his guidance was managed the fundamental transition of our company from Macchingraf to Heidelberg Italy. A tireless worker, he has always dedicated all of himself to the company and to his colleagues, I remember how we faced together the difficult period of the first lockdown, the decisions made and the results obtained, always with the aim of protecting the people working in the company. The death of Alberto was, as you can imagine, a hard blow, today we have collected his legacy and it will be our task to continue managing the company with commitment and dedication, taking advantage of the experiences we have had with him”.
Will there be any news at management level for the Italian structure?
“The management of Heidelberg Italia has changed and has already been operational since last May, together with the parent company we have acted quickly to give continuity to the activities of our company, focusing on the market so as not to miss any opportunities.
The new management team is made up of three people who have shared the responsibilities of the company:
Marco Marangoni as Territory Head, is responsible for consumables area that we call Life Cycle, Service, logistics and the Call Center;
Mauro Antonini as Head of Equipment, Digital Technology & Marketing, takes care of all equipment, Prinect area and marketing;
Laura Betelli as CFO, is responsible for finance, administration and HR area. Marco Marangoni and Mauro Antonini are additionally members of the board, respectively as president and vice president”.
What does this new SpeedMaster CX 104 represent for Heidelberg strategy?
“This new machine is the result of an in-depth study of the world printing market, aware of a very important installed base of 102 format printing units, well over 100,000 units and a clientele that today uses equipment from competitors, Heidelberg has decided to present the new Speedmaster CX 104, a printing machine that will help these companies to harmonize the press room, introducing technology, while improving productivity, transparency in order management and production flexibility, a fundamental aspect in the market today”.
Strategy focused on packaging, but not only given the great flexibility that makes it an ideal solution also for commercial and labels. Who is the ideal customer of this new machine?
“Heidelberg focuses on all three segments of graphic, packaging, label and commercial market; all these markets have common denominators such as the need to be fast and effective in job changes, here the Speedmaster CX 104 gives a precise answer to these needs. The typical customer is the company that wants to improve productivity through speed, transparency, reliability and production availability of the equipment”.
What is the technical aspect that you think the market will appreciate the most about this new SpeedMaster?
“The Speedmaster CX 104 is a machine of great technological content, as mentioned above, production flexibility is one of the main features of this SM, in the models with coating unit, Heidelberg has completely re-engineered the flexo group, making it fast in the changes and manageable by a single operator.
In addition to this, the level of customization of the machine is maximum, the customer can choose every single accessory based on his production without having to accept technological compromises up to the Push to Stop machine. With this equipment, Heidelberg satisfies all the requests and production needs of customers, so the machine can be inserted in the press room in a harmonious and effective way”.
When we will see the first installation on the Italian market?
“For a few months we have been working with selected groups of customers, giving a preview of this new technology. The response from our market was immediately excellent, we have sold 10 Speedmaster CX 104 in Italy to date; the first installation will take place after summer 2021 at an important Milanese company, famous for the print quality, the careful management of orders and the integration of production processes, I am talking about Galli and Thierry.
Personally I believe that this machine will give the Italian market great satisfaction, the number of units already sold, the interest of the customers and the results we see during the tests in our factory clearly demonstrate this”.