- May 24, 2013, Claudia Hine
KENNESAW, GA | When General Converting Inc. (GCI), Bolingbrook, IL, found itself in the market for a new, 40-in. offset press, it aimed to purchase a state-of-the-art machine that would help the company to expand its presence in the markets it already served and improve the cost structure to its customers. The company turned to longtime supplier Heidelberg for a solution, ultimately choosing an eight-color Speedmaster XL 106 with Image Control and Inpress Control, full logistics, and workflow integration via Prinect Pressroom Manager.
Privately held General Converting designs and manufactures custom specialty folding cartons and display work primarily for customers in the candy and confectionery markets. Other markets include foods, cosmetics, clothing, housewares, pet products, pharmaceuticals, automotive, office and school, and DVD packaging. The company also provides die-cutting, folding and gluing, as well as co-packing and fulfillment services.
“We needed a press that was capable of fast makeready and changeover to match the flexibility, creativity, and responsiveness our customers demand as their production requirements change,” said Bob Ruebenson, president. “Alongside our existing six-color Speedmaster CD 102 LYL UV double coating press and our seven-color Speedmaster CD 102 UV perfecting press, the new Speedmaster XL 106 puts us in a position to anticipate customer needs and respond to scheduling and forecasting changes without delay, and without compromising on quality.”
Leaving Nothing to Chance
GCI is one of just a few companies in its geographic market to boast redundant color control via Prinect Image Control at press side, and Prinect Inpress Control, integrated directly into the Speedmaster XL 106. The arrangement leaves nothing to chance, explained John Barry, general manager: “We want to be able to guarantee the highest quality to our customers, no matter what the specifications of the job happen to be.”
Thanks to Prinect Inpress Control, GCI is up to saleable color in fewer than 300 sheets, even before the Heidelberg PCM (Print Color Management) specialists finish optimizing the XL 106’s print performance. (By ensuring that the integration among the company’s prepress workflow, press, and the color measurement systems is properly established, the PCM effectively reduces makeready waste to a minimum and improves quality with the tightest delta E tolerance, resulting in more consistent, cost-effective production.)
“An Eye-Opener in Every Way”
Productivity was another dimension of the investment decision, and once again, all roads led to Heidelberg. Fewer than ten weeks into production on the new XL 106, the company has slashed its makereadies from two hours to less than 40 minutes, aiming to drive down that time to 20 minutes, once operators have fully adjusted to the new machine. Not that the pace of GCI’s pressroom hasn’t quickened since the XL 106 was installed. One recent day, for example, the company logged 39 makereadies on the new XL 106, which has racked up more than 8 million impressions to date.
Fully automated nonstop logistics on the 34.5 in. raised press ensure a continuous supply of stock to the press. Pallets traveling on press-side tracks continuously load blank paper into the feeder while a similar arrangement automatically removes printed sheets from the delivery. The setup enables the machine to print nonstop, freeing GCI’s operators to concentrate on running the press instead of loading and unloading materials. According to Ruebenson, the company runs almost everything from 12- to 36-pt. paperboard at the full rated speed of 18,000 sph.
Now that the Speedmaster XL 106 is up and running smoothly, a final word belongs to Mike Harper, GCI’s pressroom manager, who observed, “This is my fourth new press installation and my first new Heidelberg startup. Personally and professionally, it’s been an eye-opener in every way because the Speedmaster XL 106 is also the first press that does exactly what the manufacturer said it would do. That’s unique in my experience.”