Heidelberg Perfecting Technology: Technical Innovations Combine to Maximize Quality and Productivity
Reliable and stable production is a prerequisite for speed and
flexibility, in particular with short to medium runs involving
frequent job changes, but ensuring smooth sheet travel for a wide
range of printing stock - from lightweight paper and card-
board to plastics - represents a huge challenge for
There are three factors that give presses with a
perfecting device the advantage of much higher productivity than
for straight printing but with virtually the same high print
Accurate perfecting increases productivity
- reliable sheet transfer with high register accuracy,
- innovative, ink-repellent cylinder jackets and
- a high level of automation.
The main tasks of the perfecting device are to reverse
the sheet already printed on one side as quickly and precisely as
possible, avoiding any damage to it and without disrupting the
sheet flow. The basic principle predominantly found with presses
arranged in rows - gripping the rear edge of the sheet - is the
same with most manufacturers. For the past 30 years, however,
Heidelberg has been different, adopting the principle (patented
until 2003) of pincer grippers which it developed itself. These
grippers are used in both straight and perfecting printing and
sistently smooth sheet travel. This minimizes the effect of
acceleration forces on the sheet, which is always kept at virtually
the same tension and transferred with maximum precision. The result
is exceptional register accuracy.
A further key factor for the productivity of Heidelberg
perfecting presses - which are currently capable of producing up to
15,000 sheets an hour - is the true-to-register three-drum
perfecting device developed by Heidelberg, which has the potential
to handle a much larger sheet throughput. It con-
sists of a transfer drum, a storage drum and a reversing
drum. The unique selling points of this Heidelberg unit are the
storage drum with its eccentric rotary suckers and the
reduced-diameter reversing drum which also uses the pincer gripper
system mentioned above, ensuring a high level of register accuracy
at any speed.
Three-drum perfecting - "streamline" sheet travel,
even for thick printing stock
The successful three-drum perfecting principle has been
further improved on the new Speedmaster CD 74 with perfecting
device by incorporating a restyled double-sized transfer cylinder
directly in front of the storage drum. The cylinder takes the sheet
from the last straight-mode impression cylinder. The transfer
system's drum shells can be folded up or extended. In per-
fecting mode, they are extended for thicker printing stock in
order to ensure optimal sheet transfer at all times to the storage
drum, which is also twice the standard size.
The storage drum has a rotary sucker system that tensions and
aligns the sheet perfectly, ensuring optimal registration. The
intake ports integrated into the shells of the stor-
age drum are a further new feature. They apply uniform
suction to the sheet over its entire length, even with thick
printing stock, and prevent waves from forming. This means that the
sheet is held securely on the storage drum right from its front
edge - a key factor for the high register accuracy of the
Heidelberg perfecting technology.
The storage drum is followed by an eccentrically shaped
single-sized reversing drum with a pincer gripper pad rail which
routes the sheet in a gripper closure to the downstream printing
In straight printing applications, perfecting presses from
Heidelberg deliver the same print quality and productivity as
presses without a perfecting device. The Prinect CP2000 Center
press control system can be used to switch perfecting presses to
Top quality thanks to ink-repellent transfer surfaces
The properties of cylinder surfaces are decisive for the
print quality and productivity of a press. If ink is smeared on the
transfer cylinders, this im-
pairs the quality of the recto side, increases the amount of
cleaning required and means that the surface is less durable.
Consequently, Heidelberg perfecting technology features innovative
exchangeable cylinder jackets with special ink-repellent coatings.
These jackets - 'TransferJacket Plus' (for
transport/transfer cylinders) and 'PerfectJacket Plus' (on
the post-reversal impression cylinders) - ensure that the sheet
which is not yet dry passes through the perfecting printing units
with virtually no ink/quality losses.
The secret of the TransferJacket Plus jackets lies in their
extremely ink-repellent surfaces. These were developed using
nanotechnology and satisfy two key requirements. They deliver
virtually uniform high quality on both sides of the sheet and
significantly improve press productivity thanks to much shorter
washing times than with conventional coatings. During field tests
in 2004, users achieved time savings of up to 80 percent.
Perfecting presses can now also be used with a wider range of
printing materials and support higher production speeds.
The PerfectJacket Plus ceramic jackets developed by
Heidelberg deliver high quality and smooth sheet travel. The
jackets have an exceptionally ink-repellent surface with a very
fine structure and are also easy to exchange. The jackets
themselves are made from high-quality steel followed by a layer of
titanium and, finally, the silicon coating. They are used across
the various Heidelberg formats. According to Heiko Mazur, Managing
Director of Häuser KG in Cologne [see 'Perfecting
flexibility'], "Compared to the coatings previ-
ously used, we now obtain much better quality with perfecting
printing, in particular with contones and solids. Shorter washup
times result in a big improvement in press capacity utilization
thanks to quicker job changes - a factor that makes a significant
contribution to the higher productivity of the new press."
Heidelberg is the first manufacturer to also offer jackets
Last but not least, patented Venturi sheet guide plates in
the delivery guide the printed sheet very gently and without
scratching on a cushion of com-
pressed air to the delivery pile. The sheets are deposited in
the delivery using optimized gripper bars.
Thanks to the intelligent interplay of fundamental
technical innovations - from sheet transfer and drum coating to
largely contact-free sheet transport to the delivery - Heidelberg
perfecting technology means top quality and maximum productivity.
The example of Häuser KG in Cologne shows how
perfecting technology from Heidelberg can be used to increase
productivity. Häuser KG is one of the few print media
businesses in Germany to have a business model focused on
Internet-based job acquisition. A new Speedmaster CD 74 eight-color
press with perfecting device acquired in November 2005 has signif-
icantly increased flexibility, providing key support for the
further expansion of the 30-strong family company.
In order to make the most of the Internet, of course, jobs
have to be pro-
cessed much more quickly. "Production times of four
hours from receipt of an order to the finished product are no
problem for us," states Heiko Mazur, Managing Director of
Häuser KG. The production setup has to be just as quick and
The new Heidelberg Speedmaster CD 74-8 plays an important
role in this. This is particularly true for Internet orders, almost
95 percent of which are four-color jobs. "As regards color and
quality, these jobs can be handled extremely well with an
eight-color press. The high level of automation offered by the
Speedmaster CD 74 allows us to cut setup times signifi-
cantly. In perfecting mode there are no longer any limits on
speed, quality and printing stock thickness - the potential
additional throughput is over 40 percent compared to a straight
press. And with a view to the imminent increase in orders, the
press still has sufficient capacity to cope with double the
throughput," explains Mazur.
Three drums for speed and register accuracy - the
perfecting system on the Speedmaster CD 74 optimizes sheet travel,
even with heavy grammages.
The surface of the new TransferJacket Plus from
Heidelberg is highly ink-repellent.