KP Corp. Invests in Unique Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106 Press
KENNESAW, GA—February 8, 2013—KP Corp., headquartered in San Leandro, CA, will install a highly-automated Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106 in its Salt Lake City facility as the centerpiece of an extensive equipment investment this spring. The five-color perfecting model with coating tower will be configured with CutStar sheeter, Prinect Axis Control, AutoPlate Advanced, and Prinect Inspection Control PDF. It will be the first Speedmaster XL 106 to be installed in Utah, the only press in North America to boast this unique configuration, and the first press of its kind purchased by a North American commercial printing company and dedicated primarily to the production of printed materials for customers in the medical device industry.
KP’s selection of the Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106 supports the company’s bedrock value proposition: to provide its clients with the means to drive revenue by working smarter and more cost-effectively while meeting the highest-quality standards.
“KP already has significant long-term experience working with leaders in the medical device vertical,” said Brett Olszewski, chief sales and marketing officer. “Our choice to invest was an educated decision based on hands-on experience with leading companies, market research, and growth expectations in the target segment. Heidelberg’s unique printing configuration is at the core of several other synchronized technology investments we’ve made to optimize our manufacturing supply chain.”
The company, which offers 60 percent printing and 40 percent multi-channel services, provides a large selection of programs and specialty products for the life sciences and medical device industries. These include sub-assembly components, IT platforms, and marketing communications programs in critical procurement areas such as printing and packaging materials, mailing services, fulfillment, inventory management, and just-in-time distribution.
Supply Chain Management for Cost Efficiency
“As a company, we look at various links in the supply chain with an eye toward optimizing the entire chain,” said Dave Bates, vice president of operations for KP’s Central Region. “Here we saw an additional opportunity to help our clients design, re-engineer or otherwise modify production specifications to suit their needs, as well as have the capability to deliver the highest quality products efficiently and at lower cost. The leading-edge configuration of the new Heidelberg solution plays a critical role in that vision.”
The Speedmaster XL 106 will replace two existing presses, “with capacity to spare,” Bates said. Makereadies will get a boost from the Prinect Axis Control closed-loop measuring and control system, with an able assist from the Auto Plate Advanced plate-changing system. The XL 106 also will run twice as fast (15,000 sph) in straight and perfecting modes as KP’s existing presses. “All that and more goes into cost efficiency,” Bates added.
KP’s emphasis on cost efficiency not only is good business, but also is a fundamental requirement in supplying a market where enormous sums are spent on research and development and on M&A activity. “The key players are always looking at cost reduction strategies to raise the needed cash,” Olszewski explained. “In symbiotic relationships such as this, businesses work with fewer strategic suppliers in smarter ways to obtain cash to fund growth. Suppliers like KP benefit from additional volumes stemming from that growth. This is the sustainable business model.”
KP’s cost efficiency approach is timely in an environment of rising costs. “We estimate that our clients will see their costs rise this year as a consequence of regulatory requirements, taxation, and healthcare reform,” Olszewski added. “One example is the 2.3 percent medical device excise tax starting in 2013. There is significant value to our clients and to us in finding cost savings and increasing the quality of the products we produce for them.”
The modular design of Heidelberg presses enables users like KP Corp. to create a wide range of customer-specific configurations that are not only economical, but that also ensure the highest level of quality.
“You typically gain manufacturing efficiencies with a custom press configuration,” Bates concurred. For example, KP already has taken steps to standardize on sheet size and paper to save money on the IFU documents (Information for Users) it produces. However, with the new Heidelberg CutStar system, “We’ll also gain the ability to customize sheet size in order to skip the cutting department altogether and go direct to the folder, passing the savings on to our clients.”
Obsessed with Quality
Quality—a key requirement in the world of medical device packaging—is a business imperative for KP Corp.
“The medical device segment is subject to strict quality requirements, up to and including sterilization of the materials we supply,” Bates said. “The materials we print are subject to the same level of scrutiny as the medical devices themselves. Clients expect our products to be zero-defect. Random sampling doesn’t cut it.”
Because KP is ISO 9001:2008-certified and Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP)-compliant, the company is accustomed to operating at very high quality levels. Elements of KP’s comprehensive quality program already include audited standard operating procedures; standardized life sciences and medical device ISO training; continuous improvement programs; documented line clearance at every stage of production; internal and client-driven audits and benchmarks; in addition to a variety of in-line, quality alert and end-of-line inspection processes.
KP is applying the latest technology and automation to further improve its quality program. The addition of Heidelberg’s award-winning Prinect Inspection Control PDF inline sheet inspection system adds an elevated level of product security by enabling the company to quantify and document its quality results in a completely transparent and traceable way for reporting back to its clients.
Prinect Inspection Control PDF is based on two high-resolution grayscale line scan cameras that reliably detect and capture minute defects inline, in real time, by comparing every printed sheet with a digital reference (at 15,000 sheets-per-hour). Nonconforming materials are flagged, alerted to the operator, and recorded in the system. This ensures that all printed sheets meet strict customer and regulatory requirements.
KP’s new equipment configuration, featuring the Speedmaster XL 106, also will be used to produce a wide variety of healthcare-related, insurance and financial products. The company will send its press operators to Heidelberg’s Tech Center in Kennesaw, GA for pre-installation training later this month.Installation of the new press is set to begin in March, with completion slated to coincide with the unveiling of the plant-wide upgrade during a grand opening celebration and client open house in May.