Commercial printing company invests in automation

The Speedmaster XL 75 and the new Heidelberg Operating System

Printing company Friedrich runs production with a Speedmaster XL 75 with the new Prinect Press Center. Experience shows that the increased printing speed of 16,500 sheets per hour can be used consistently and stably for most substrates

Quality, service, speed – these are the pillars of printing company Offset Friedrich in Ubstadt-Weiher on which the family business has built its success and continues to grow, despite strong competition. “We strive to work profitably and need a high level of automation, which is something the Speedmaster XL 75 can deliver on a permanent basis,” confirms managing director Marcus Friedrich. He has been producing on a Speedmaster XL 75 five-color press with the new Prinect Press Center and the Heidelberg Operating System in a field test since mid-2019. The Push to Stop concept and the Prinect Production Manager provides optimal support for the printer. “What impressed us most about the Speedmaster XL 75, in addition to the new control system, is the increased printing speed of 16,500 sheets per hour, which we consistently and stably use for most substrates. We were also able to reduce waste paper by about two thirds,” says Friedrich his positive experience.

We’ve always invested in innovations and state-of-the-art machines,” explains Friedrich. “So we jumped at the chance to be involved in field testing the new operating system.” The company has up to fifteen employees and also provides apprenticeships. End customers are offered virtually the entire spectrum of classic offset printing, supplemented by toner-based digital printing. Other printing companies are also known to avail of Friedrich’s high quality. Grammages range from 80 g/m2 to 135 g/m2 and up to 250 g/m2 picture paper, which delivers a high level of flexibility. Offset printing is used for 80 percent of production, with digital printing used for shorter runs and personalized orders.

The Speedmaster XL 75 replaced two printing presses from another manufacturer. Friedrich has been a loyal customer of Heidelberg ever since and greatly values the partnership-based relationship. In prepress, imaging is handled by a Suprasetter while another Heidelberg machine produces the printing plates. In postpress, a Stahlfolder machine and a Polar cutting unit are used. When it comes to consumables, Friedrich uses Saphira Eco inks. “Never change a running system – we do everything at top speed, and the inks optimally coordinated to the machine are completely compatible with this,” says Friedrich. Together with the reduction in paper waste and the environmentally compatible inks, Friedrich’s production is highly sustainable.

With the Speedmaster XL 75 five-color press and the new Speedmaster Operating System, Friedrich now offers its operators a modern, attractive workstation. Intellistart 3, the digital makeready assistant on the Prinect Press Center machine control station, enables a high level of productivity. The 24-inch multi-touchscreen shows the operator the extended job queue, which displays all job data from the digital Prinect print shop workflow in a clear format. The job queue makes it possible to prepare for job changes using the automatically generated process view while production is still underway. During the job change, Intelliguide simulates the time-optimized sequence live and, if necessary, also includes the steps to be executed manually. For example, Intellirun shows the mask for preparing the next job in good time before the current run is completed. The operator can see at a glance whether anything is missing and can intervene if necessary in good time. A lot of time losses can be eliminated or at least minimized through timely preparation.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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