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The international packaging manufacturer Multi Packaging Solutions (MPS), part of WestRock, has installed the world’s first Speedmaster XL 106 with 18 units at its Scottish site in East Kilbride. MPS is responding to the high level of customer demand on the part of designers and brand owners for a wide variety of finishing options and premium quality. The new press is the most versatile machine that Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) has ever produced for packaging printing in the premium sector and has now passed its final acceptance tests. It comprises eleven printing, three coating and four drying units, as well as the FoilStar in-line cold foiling system. To facilitate zero defect production and top color quality, the Speedmaster XL 106 is equipped with the new Prinect Inspection Control 2 and Image Control 3 quality and color measurement systems. For more than a year, MPS monitored a field test with Image Control 3 on its 17-unit Speedmaster XL 106, and was impressed by the new options.
“With the new 18-unit machine which, by the way, is positioned right next to the 17-unit machine, we have once again made a significant investment within our global activities,” explains Tim Whitfield, EVP European Branded Consumer, MPS. “With the perfectly equipped Speedmaster XL 106, we can implement even more processes in-line, with 100% quality assurance, and thus ensure that we meet the requirements of some of the most well-known brands in the world. This helps us to optimize and grow our business.” One example application for the Speedmaster XL 106, which prints at a top speed of 18,000 sheets per hour, is the production of folding whisky cartons with printing on the back, cold foil finishing and double coating.
New Prinect Image Control 3 – gets colors right
“Our portfolio of products ranges from premium spirits to high-quality fine confectionery. Brand owners can now give their packaging even more colors and foils, as well as matt, gloss and pearlescent effects, with spot and solid finishes,” confirms David Rae, Print Champion at MPS East Kilbride. In these brand-conscious segments, the quality is extremely important and MPS therefore ordered the Prinect Image Control 3 system along with the new machine. “We tested Image Control 3 extensively and were also able to ensure that our requirements were also taken into consideration,” explained Rae. “Most of our jobs are produced with metalized cardboard. Image Control 3 gives us the opportunity to measure and control the opaque white using a completely normal print control strip for the first time. On the basis of our feedback, Heidelberg made this function even more reliable. The color values required are now much easier to save and call up, and the entire system is more user-friendly.”
This is of even greater value as currently more than 600 colors are saved in the archive at MPS – from colors for cardboard with a metalized coating to uncoated and coated papers. 90 percent of the colors are spot colors and are adapted in line with each individual customer. “Overall, Image Control 3 has ensured higher quality and more uniformity within our process as we can now measure and control colors on all substrates – especially metalized substrates,” summarizes Rae. “Since the end of last year, our Image Control 3 has been connected to the new Heidelberg central color database. This means that we have a full backup for all the colors and we can also use conversion software to import color data in CxF format that is then immediately available for use in the system.” MPS requested this function to allow them to produce one and the same color consistently at all sites.
Heidelberg has been supplying the third generation of the Prinect Image Control full sheet color measurement system since the end of last year. It scans with spectrophotometric measuring heads and a resolution of 200 dpi. In addition to true color image control, the “Offline Inspection” option means that the entire printed sheet can be checked for printing defects and therefore ensures that the packaging is fault-free.
MPS also achieves zero defect production thanks to the Prinect Inspection Control 2 in-line inspection system, which implements maximum productivity and quality assurance into daily production.
The two new Image Control 3 and Inspection Control 2 Prinect color and quality measurement systems were presented at the Interpack trade fair in Düsseldorf and also were on show at the subsequent Packaging Days in Wiesloch-Walldorf. Both events took place under the motto “Smart Print Shop – Zero Defect Packaging”.
David Rae, Print Champion at MPS (left), has tested the new Prinect Image Control 3 color measurement system extensively. In his opinion, the opaque white control is the most important feature for optimizing the print quality. He was supported by Bernd Utter, product management Heidelberg, Jason Brooks, Print Manager at MPS and Gary Wilkinson, Heidelberg UK (from right to left).