Heidelberg has supplied a CutStar with a new long perfecting Speedmaster XL75. But the move does not signal an expectation that the technology, long available on Heidelberg’s B1 presses, will become just as popular on its B2 format machines.
However, it does indicate that Heidelberg is increasingly willing to build machines to meet a printer’s specific requirements. In this instance the customer is US printer Ross4Marketing and press will be used to produce in-mould labels.
The decision to purchase the XL75 was due to Heidelberg's willingness to adapt the CutStar unit from its XL106 to handle the smaller format. “Under no circumstances would we now buy a press without a CutStar; we expect the new CutStar 75 to facilitate even more savings and even better productivity,” says company’s founder Eric Ross. The company has previously used a reel sheeter on an earlier XL75 and an SM74.
In the UK, the larger format has long been popular: companies like Buxton Press, Stephens & George, Eclipse and Bluetree run multiple CutStars, but there have been few installations in the smaller size. So few, in fact, that Heidelberg ceased to offer a dedicated unit for a B2 press. “It’s not a serial release,” says Matt Rockley, Heidelberg UK sheetfed press specialist. “The UK is the biggest market in the world for CutStar on B1 presses and it brings a number of benefits: a 1,000 sheets an hour net increase in sheets on the floor, improved quality, improved feeding of paper without any twisting inside the press and a variable cut off which means precise cut to size for each job.”
These benefits are added to a 20% reduction in paper cost and reduced attention to the feeder as there is much more paper on a roll than in a stack of paper.
The US customer confirms the benefits saying that in ten years of running from the reel “we have taken advantage of the benefits such as 20% lower pace costs, fewer feeder stoppers, perfect register and improved overall productivity, allowing us to supply our customers both faster and with high quality” according to Ross.
Its work demands thin stocks which can attract a static charge and can be awkward to run from the stack. It is also running conventional commercial work, making ready with 150 run up sheets and from stop to go with eight new plates in four minutes using Autoplate.
The technology might prove attractive to a commercial printer as margin pressure due to rising paper prices makes the discount for purchasing on the reel more appealing. In B1 this also has advantages in finishing thanks to the inherent grain direction.
And while the CutStar 75 is not in serial production it joins an offering that covers all Heidelberg's B1 machines (though not the SRA1 CS92) and both XL145 and XL162 with versions of CutStar launched last year. Worldwide Heidelberg has shipped more than 400 CutStars since 2000, around a quarter to printers in the UK.
Ross 4 Print has installed a Speedmaster XL75 with a CutStar, more usually fitted to the B2 press's big brother. The investment demonstrates Heidelberg's willingness to build customer specific machines.