The company runs four other Heidelberg machines in this format, an XL145 and two XL106 giving a total of 36 printing units. All are four-colour machines with the B1 presses also fitted with CutStars. It was experience with these and the cost savings from paper on the reel that led to decision to equip the jumbo press with the reel sheeter.
Negotiations began at Drupa, leading to the development to extend the standard version. Heidelberg has also delivered CutStars with B2 presses, but this is an adapted B1 machine, an approach not possible with the much larger 1,600mm wide reel.
That development involved Heidelberg’s engineers and a team at BW Papersystems in Stuttgart. It was delivered to the Dresden factory in January and has performed to the expectations that Saxoprint had according to managing director Klaus Sauer.
The company has become almost twice as efficient. One reel contains as much paper as three or more pallets and the sheeting is accurate to 0.3mm, a consistently tighter tolerance than is offered on commercially available sheets. It reduces misfeeds and improves accuracy of finishing, crucial when 400 different business cards can be ganged on a single sheet.
“We have succeeded in compensating the 10% increase in the price of paper through innovations and increased efficiency,” says Sauer. “This is all the more significant since paper accounts for up to 30% of our costs.”
The Saxoprint business model is built on ganging as many jobs to the sheet as possible, resulting in its preference for Size 7 presses. Others have used B1 machines for greater flexibility. To date the focus has been on simple products, flyers and business cards comprise 80% of production at the business.
The company can handle 5,000 orders a day through websites that collect business from across Europe, either from direct consumers or from printers outsourcing varying amounts of their work. It has worked the Haybrooke Associates to integrate Saxoprint's pricing into the PDQ Sales Hub estimating system to check the cost of a home produced job against that offered by Saxoprint’s ganged model.
Now Saxoprint is increasing volumes of packaging through its EasyBox online carton specifier. This allows designers to view how artwork will be presented on a box that can be to any format. The company will send a single mock up of a box to the customer to check its suitability for the end purpose.
With the new installation, Saxoprint becomes an all Heidelberg house and begins to embark on its next three-year collaborative project. It is currently working on an integration project that will result in autonomous printing using the Prinect workflow.
By Gareth Ward