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Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 105 Proves Its Mettle in Tough Times

March 2009
KENNESAW, GA—March 30, 2009—In the midst of an extended economic downturn, longtime owners of Heidelberg’s peak-performance Speedmaster XL 105 can point to the real-world benefits of access to the fastest speeds and highest level of automation available in sheetfed offset printing.

Embrace the Label, Exceed Expectations
“Like it or not, clients interpret the products we supply as commodities,” said Jack McGrath, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at DS Graphics, Lowell, Mass., which installed a 10-color Speedmaster XL 105 perfector with Inpress Control last October. “That scenario is complicated by the need to provide the same quality faster, less expensively and with greater efficiency, all while demonstrating a sensitivity to environmental concerns.  It’s a tall order for any printer, but fortunately one that the Speedmaster XL 105 perfector is uniquely equipped to address.”

According to McGrath, Heidelberg took the quality issue “much, much deeper” by rethinking the way sheets are turned in the perfecting unit. “Heidelberg engineers came up with a football-shaped turning unit that doesn’t stress the sheet on the turning edge,” he said. “As a result, we don’t have to slow down the press to perfect. It’s an engineer’s dream, compared with conventional turning systems.” Moreover, the XL 105’s ability to prepare both sides of the sheet simultaneously cuts makeready to around 400 sheets, reducing makeready waste by 300 to 400 percent, and “enabling us to pass on those savings to our customers.” Finally, integrated Prinect Inpress Control locks in specifications for color, measuring process colors, spot colors and register in the print control strip. Corrections are automatically forwarded directly to the Prinect Press Center for adjustment, eliminating any need to stop the press for makeready or monitoring of the production run and delivering maximum productivity.

The net effect of enhancements like these? “From a business ownership perspective, my customers are in business to make money, just as I am,” McGrath said. “Thanks to our XL 105 perfector, we now embody value for our customers on four levels: efficiency, shorter time to market, reduced waste and lower costs. Clients understand the value because they can see the savings, and I can make more money in the process. If you’re going to be a commodity, you’d better be the best at what you do.”

Efficient, versatile Heidelberg technology “hasn’t just helped us do better in businesses, but to do business better,” McGrath concluded. “The Speedmaster XL 105 perfector is a wonderful addition to the market at a time when the industry sorely needs it.”

Three is a magic number for Moquin Press, Belmont, Calif. Having installed a trio of Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 105 presses since 2005, President Greg Moquin understands the benefits of the XL 105’s comprehensive automation as well as anyone and better than most, and has positioned his capabilities for maximum competitive effect.

“It’s no contest for us to go up against a 40” conventional perfecting press and win the job,” Moquin said. “It happens all the time. We’re printing faster, our makereadies are faster, and we can take advantage of the XL’s larger sheet size by running more up on a sheet when necessary. Every time we put in an XL 105, our productivity increases by 50 percent over a conventional press” in the same format class. Because he can produce more work in less time, he also can make up in volume what he may have to concede on price. “I can afford to be aggressive because I know I can get the job done quickly,” he said. The brutal pace is not for sissies: Each of Moquin’s XL 105s runs across two 12-hour shifts per day at its full rated speed of 18,000 sph, turning out a staggering array of products on a wide range of substrates that now includes plastic, thanks to the integration of 4 interdeck UV on the company’s newest XL.

Moquin is eager to dispel any notion that he is prepared to sacrifice quality for the kind of productivity his business demands. On the contrary, for color-critical work, the XL 105 “holds color fabulously well,” Moquin said. “The Speedmaster XL 105 is a made-to-order solution for a business like ours.”

In the printing business, “Speed gives you power,” said Taylor Blackwell, owner of Walker Printing in Montgomery, Ala. Blackwell knows whereof he speaks, having owned and operated a 4-color Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 105 for the past two years, during which the company has experienced a dramatic reduction in overtime.

“The XL 105 is a hungry press that enables us to turn work faster and produce more jobs in less time,” he said, citing one recent instance when one of Walker’s largest customers came to the company with a request to shrink the time it took to produce a monthly publication from five days (including prepress) to three, also including layout. Thanks to the speed and makeready efficiency of the XL 105, “We were able to print the job in 24 hours and meet this important client’s expectations,” said Blackwell, who no longer dreads being slammed with several big projects at once that must be completed in a short period of time. “The XL 105 is more than twice as productive as a conventional 40” press,” said Blackwell, who runs the XL 105 at 18,000 sph consistently over the course of two eight-hour shifts per day.

While Blackwell concedes that it sometimes can be a challenge to keep the machine as busy as it wants to be while the market is soft, he also notes that the XL 105’s speed has made Walker competitive on additional low-end publication and catalog work as web run lengths decrease. Proving that you can teach an old dog some new tricks, 60-year-old Walker Printing currently is entertaining a possible foray into packaging, “since we already have the capability with our Speedmaster XL 105,” Blackwell said.

About the Speedmaster XL 105
The ultra-high-performance Speedmaster XL 105 from Heidelberg enables commercial print shops to offer their customers top quality printing delivered at the highest real production speeds. Now available with perfecting device and full interdeck UV capability, the Speedmaster XL 105 is designed to achieve the industry's highest output with significantly faster changeover times. The XL 105 permits extensive workflow integration on the basis of open, future-proof standards through the Prinect Press Control Center, while its 29.53 x 41.34” format allows for more rows of ups per sheet, a key advantage for boosting the net output of packaging and label printers. The XL 105’s fully automatic logistics system consists of fully automatic pile changing, automatic material conveying and pile buffering to secure the constant maximum production speeds while running thicker board substrates. The XL 105’s Preset Plus delivery system features aerodynamically designed gripper bars and perfectly adapted Venturi air sheet guide plates designed to stabilize any size substrate at maximum production speeds. Fully remote controllable sheet breaks and high frequency joggers present perfectly aligned delivery piles for finishing processes. To learn more about this game-changing press, visit

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG
With a global market share for sheetfed offset printing machines of more than 40 percent, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) is the world's leading solution provider for commercial and industrial customers in the print media industry. Headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, the Company focuses on the entire process and value chain for popular format classes in the sheetfed offset and flexographic printing sectors. Apart from printing presses, the product portfolio includes plate imaging devices and finishing equipment, as well as software components designed to integrate all print manufacturing processes. In addition, Heidelberg offers a wide range of spare parts, consumables, used equipment and services, along with extensive training programs provided by the Print Media Academy. Furthermore, the Company assists its customers' investment plans by offering financing concepts.

Heidelberg is most active within the major OECD industrial regions and is expanding its involvement within growing markets such as Asia and Eastern Europe. With development and production sites in six countries and some 250 sales offices worldwide, the Company offers services to more than 200,000 customers around the globe. Heidelberg generates 85 percent of global sales through company-owned sales offices and above 85 percent outside of Germany. In fiscal year 2007/2008, Heidelberg achieved sales of Euro 3.670 billion referring to the divisions Press, Postpress and Financial Services as well as a net profit of Euro 142 million. As of March 31, 2008, the Group employed 19,596 staff worldwide.

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