Me & my: Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106 LE-UV
When Superior Creative Services installed a Muller Martini Concepta 8 web offset press to handle its growing document business, this led it to also replace its 10-year-old sheetfed Komori press with the latest technology in the form of a B1-format Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106.
Powell: Quality is a given, we don’t worry about it now
This was the first XL 106 in the UK to have the new features introduced at Drupa last year. It is also the first to have LE (low-energy) cool curing lamps for UV inks.
Based in Melksham, Wiltshire, about 10 miles east of Bath, Superior was set up in 1976. Over that time it has developed from a small graphic studio with a couple of offset presses into a large business employing 180 people with a turnover in excess of £20m. A management buyout in 2005 led to significant investment in technology and infrastructure. It occupies five sites on the Bowerhill Trading Estate and is one of the largest employers in the area.
Its operations range from small-format digital print, B1 sheetfed litho and B2 miniweb with inline inkjet personalisation, through to large-format high-speed flatbed printing. The company also handles a lot of point-of-sale work on both its sheetfed offset and the small- and large-format digital printers.
The Heidelberg XL 106 installed last year handles sheetfed B1 onto paper, heavyweight board and plastics, while a pair of Heidelberg Linoprint CP and CV models are used for short-run personalised documents. The Muller Martini Concepta 4/4 web press is used for longer-run documents, which are personalised by Kodak Prosper inkjet heads on the line. A pair of Inca Digital Onset S40 large-format high-speed flatbed inkjets can take paper and rigid media up to 3.1x1.6m, supported by a Goldline platen die-cutter and a Zünd digital cutting table. There is also a Fujifilm Uvistar 5m roll-fed UV inkjet.
Superior also has in-house finishing and direct mail facilities, supported by one of the largest design studios in south west England. The workflow and platesetter are Agfa, with Fujifilm plates used as part of a consumables package that also includes ink for the Onset inkjets.
Stewart Powell is production director and has worked with operations director Richard Blueitt to build up the company over the past 30 years. He says that the series of events that led to the purchase of the Heidelberg press started with the installation of the Concepta web offset press with inline inkjet personalisation to handle leaflet work, primarily for supermarkets.
This work used to be handled by a 10-unit B1 sheetfed Komori press, installed in about 2005, but that was starting to show its age, so Superior considered its future requirements for sheetfed offset.
“We took a big percentage of the perfecting work off and put it on the Muller, which left us the rest of the work to do the Komori,” says Powell. “It was not really suited to 600-micron board and things like that. The makeready times were long and it was quite tedious and hard work really for everyone. When we were doing the leaflets that press was brilliant, but when they went onto the Muller then the Komori become the wrong press for us.”
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