Heidelberg has laid claim to delivering the two longest sheetfed offset presses ever produced. It has installed the presses for packaging manufacturer WestRock at its Polish factory.
The press configuration comprises a 42 metre specially adapted custom configuration of a Speedmaster XL 106 with a total of 20 printing and coating units.
Ludwin Monz, Chief executive officer at Heidelberg, says the press represents a key Heidelberg business strategy. He explains, “We help our customers simplify their printing processes and boost their productivity by offering them a high level of automation and flexibility. This is especially important at a time when the skills shortage is becoming more acute worldwide.
“This business strategy is increasingly paying dividends. With annual growth of approximately 2.3 percent forecast, the folding carton market is a strategic growth segment for Heidelberg.”
Around half the sheetfed offset presses Heidelberg sells and installs go to packaging customers. He adds, “Heidelberg is now the market leader in packaging printing, with Speedmaster XL technology playing a key role,” reveals Monz.
The trend toward ever more sustainable packaging, such as folding cartons, is driving demand. Cartons are increasingly replacing plastic packaging in everything from food and cosmetics to pharmaceuticals.
In addition, Heidelberg is supplying a further Speedmaster XL 106 with a total of 19 printing and coating units to a WestRock site in Obersulm, Germany – the second longest in the world.
The company says its presses can print particularly high-quality and eye-catching packaging. The Speedmaster XL 106 configuration handles a range of packaging applications with striking coating and metallic effects as well as sustainable products. They achieve this inline, double-sided, and in a single pass.
Based in the U.S. state of Georgia, WestRock delivers sustainable paper and packaging solutions with more than 50,000 customers in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Mark Shaw, business leader EMEA and APAC at WestRock, says, “Innovation and sustainability are the bedrock of WestRock’s operation, and by investing in print technology from Heidelberg we are future-proofing our capabilities for our customers. There is no better demonstration of this than the two longest presses in the world being developed specifically for WestRock facilities. As brands continue to drive demand for sustainable, fibre-based packaging, through our continued investment and industry-leading expertise, we are well positioned to meet these needs.”
Long custom configurations
Heidelberg sees a trend emerging, particularly in folding carton and label printing, toward customised, long press configurations. It says branded goods manufacturers are keen to create new purchase incentives, offering stand-out, sustainable packaging designed with striking effects. Heidelberg specialises in custom configurations of this kind. It can adapt its Speedmaster XL systems to meet customer-specific requirements.
Christian Steinmassl, who is in charge of the packaging segment at Heidelberg, says, “Projects such as the one for WestRock involve particularly high mechanical engineering demands and close consultation with the customer. We combine two things – first-class printing press construction and user-friendly operation.”
He adds that the company designs the operating concept so that staff always have all processes under control via the Prinect Press Centre. He says, “As underlined by the fact that packaging printers are more than ready to invest in custom configurations from Heidelberg, users trust our company’s expertise and partnership-based approach to finding solutions.”