Heidelberg will present a series of sheetfed offset, flexographic, and digital solutions for packaging and commercial printing at drupa 2024, including a printing press said to reach production speeds of up to 18,000 sheets per hour.

The Speedmaster XL 106 Peak Performance printing press utilizes artificial intelligence for continuous process optimization, and the solution claims to reach production speeds of up to 18,000 sheets per hour in straight printing or perfecting mode – a feature thought to be ideal for longer runs.

According to Heidelberg, it unlocks autonomous printing ‘from the last to the first good sheet’, and the integration of the Speedmaster Operating System provides an intuitive touch operating concept intended for easy use.

Due to its fully automated air settings and use of characteristic profiles when changing substrates, the printer is not thought to increase makeready time. Its AutoPlate XL 3 technology also facilitates plate change in under one minute, the company says, while Plate to Gallery and Plate to Unit aim for optimized, automated plate logistics.

It is set to cut down on production costs thanks to the intelligent interaction of its automation components. Additionally, it reportedly achieves an overall equipment effectiveness of around 20%, and its waste ejection system is also thought to negate the need for subsequent quality inspection.

“Discussions with our customers make us optimistic about the trade fair,” says Dr. David Schmedding, who will become the new board member for Sales and Service at Heidelberg in July. “Also, because we are presenting innovations such as the performance enhancements to the Speedmaster XL 106 Peak Performance.

“Digital Label and the Boardmaster in flexo packaging printing have also been very well received by the market. And we’ll see what else we can show our customers at our stand at drupa - it’s definitely worth coming by.”

Discussing the main trend at this year’s trade fair, Schmedding states that drupa “is still about innovations with which we help our customers to overcome their challenges - whether in the packaging or commercial sector. Cost pressure, a shortage of skilled workers, digitalization and sustainability are the main challenges facing our customers.”

Fujifilm will also attend drupa this year. Its integrated analogue offset and digital printing solutions will be on display, including a new water-based ink, a ‘processless’ plate for offset printing, and a printing press that utilizes dry toner for compatibility with paper packaging.

Scodix will also present its first artificial intelligence tool, Scodix AI, in a bid to address growing demand for automation tools among print providers and designers.

Back in 2022, Heidelberg revealed the Speedmaster SX 102. This solution sought to achieve an ergonomic user experience and high-quality commercial printing using artificial intelligence and other automated assistance systems.

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