It replaces a 2012 machine to the same specification, but thanks to the technology improvements introduced at Drupa, it will cut time at makeready by 1 minute 20 seconds. And Elle Media plans to make full use of this. “It will give us an extra 170 sellable hours a year,” says managing director James Cuthbert .
To achieve this, the company will increase integration with its Tharstern MIS and the Heidelberg Prinect workflow. Its work in this direction has already made the company one of the most efficient in the world, delivering sales of £8 million from the single press, which is running at 45 million sheets a year. The new press will have the capacity to lift sales to £10 million annually.
This will put Elle in prime position to exploit the ‘press to stop’ concept that Heidelberg introduced at Drupa. As well as the new operating software, the press comes with Intellistart 2, Inpress Control, Autoplate XL, automatic tabbing and the Wallscreen XL operating interface. The tabbing unit will identify when production of good sheets has begin, so cutting the need to run overs.
“The new machine is a very much upgraded version of what we have now,” says Cuthbert. “We have in the past upgraded software where we can, but have now reached the point where improvements are only giving us marginal productivity gains.”
The five-year-old machine will be sold back to Heidelberg which is keen to increase its sales in this area to capture revenue opportunities that it has previously not paid sufficient attention.
“We think that the installation should be seamless,” says Cuthbert, hence the decision to implement the upgrade to Prinect 17 ahead of the arrival of the press. Nevertheless it will run alongside the machine being replaced until the installation is fully signed off and training completed.
Cuthbert will also be watching the impact on other parts of the process flow. The platesetter is relatively new and should cope, while a guillotine was installed last year to ease a bottleneck in cutting. The company looked at folders during Drupa, admiring the latest Heidelberg Stahlfolders, but cannot justify that investment. “We’re keeping an eye on folding, but there is nothing there yet which give a significant gain for the work mix that we have.”
Those gains are going to come from the automation on the press and the integration to the business side that will be possible. For Cuthbert this will mean that the press becomes subsidiary to the workflow and the MIS software. “That will be driving the press,” he says. It will mean close work with Heidelberg in the coming months and Cuthbert in particular is looking forwards to working with Anthony Thirlby. A trip to ESP Colour to look at the set up there kicked off Cuthbert's thinking about lean management and automation.
“This means we will be working with Anthony Thirlby which will really help us. This is going to be an exciting time, a positive start to the new year.”
A new Speedmaster XL106-5+L will arrive at Elle Media in Basildon before the end of the month.
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