Sterling North America Installs Heidelberg’s First Speedmaster CX 104 Press in North America
Sterling North America, a commercial printer specializing in serving the financial industry, has experienced exponential growth over the last few years. With some of its presses beginning to age, the Hauppauge, New York printer could no longer keep up with its increasing demands. Needing faster production speeds and quicker makeready times, Sterling recently completed installation of a new Speedmaster CX 104 from Heidelberg, the first of its kind in North America.
Faster Speeds. Shorter Makereadies. Unbeatable Turnaround Times.
Sterling, who serves many time-sensitive customers nationwide, prides itself on having the fastest turnaround times amongst its competitors. To achieve this, the company mans most of the equipment in its new 75,000 square foot facility around the clock. Even with 24/7 production, the company could no longer keep up with the increase in business it was seeing due to the consolidation of printers in its area. The company, which historically has purchased used Heidelberg presses in the past, decided it needed to invest in new technology to keep its edge over its competitors. According to Owner Ed McAllister, “We needed an upgrade in speed and to be significantly more efficient, especially with makereadies.”
Sterling’s new five-color, hybrid Speedmaster CX 104 with coater is equipped for both conventional and UV production. New to UV, Sterling will initially run the press conventionally, but according to McAllister, “We see the future as UV printing and hope to run it exclusively UV down the road.” The CX 104, introduced by Heidelberg in 2021, runs up to 16,500 sheets per hour, which is a significant increase in speed over Sterling’s current presses. Additionally, the company will see efficiency improvements from the press’s incredibly fast makeready times thanks to Heidelberg’s new intelligent User Experience (UX), autonomous Push-to-Stop technology, and AutoPlate Pro, the automatic plate changing device. Heidelberg UX, together with a whole host of assistance systems, provides the best possible support for operators at the Prinect Press Center XL 3 control station and at the press itself. Additionally, to ensure makeready times are kept short, the patented Intellistart 3 system automatically determines the makeready processes required for jobs to be produced.
“With our current presses, makereadies can take up to 60 minutes and 600 sheets,” said Vice President Eric Davis. “With the new press, we are looking forward to cutting makeready times to as little as 5-10 minutes.” Initially, Sterling will not replace any of its current offset presses, but it does anticipate shifting the bulk of its workload to the new CX 104 with the potential of completely removing some of its older presses in the future.
One Word: Reliability
While the search for a new offset press began two years ago, Sterling knew early on that it would select a Heidelberg press. “Reliability,” according to Davis and McAllister, is what sets Heidelberg machines apart from other offset presses in the market. “I’ve worked with Heidelberg presses my entire career. I know they are built to last, and the service on them is second to none,” said Davis. To ensure the press runs at Peak Performance, Sterling will use Heidelberg’s Prinect Production Manager and Saphira Consumables. Additionally, to optimize and track its productivity, Sterling will utilize Heidelberg Assistant with Performance Data and Online Advisement, which provides easy-to-understand production data and metrics that will aid Sterling in business decision-making processes and track any necessary improvements to the print shop’s efficiency.
Not yet in full production, the CX 104 is already impressing McAllister and Davis along with Sterling’s press crew during the training and installation process. Since this is the first new press in Sterling’s facility, its press crews are particularly excited about the new Push-to-Stop automation of the machine, which works autonomously to reduce the number of operating steps during a job change. “Before the press came in, I was explaining to them what the machine was capable of, but they didn’t believe it until they saw it. They can’t wait to start running it in live production,” said Davis.
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