"Star Peripherals from Heidelberg" Article Series, Part I
Smaller, More Powerful, More Efficient - the New AirStar 3000
Air Supply System from Heidelberg
The Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) Star
System covers the whole system solution with peripherals for
Speedmaster presses. The key peripherals are connected to the press
via the Prinect CP2000 Center control station by means of CANopen
All peripherals are developed directly by Heidelberg or in
close cooperation with leading suppliers. This provides a whole
raft of benefits for customers, including extensive automation
functions, standardized and easy-to-follow navigation and one-stop
installation and maintenance.
Heidelberg has recently unveiled a new generation of
peripherals featuring the AirStar 3000 air supply cabinet,
CombiStar 3000 combination unit and DryStar 3000 LYL and DryStar
3000 UV dryers. These enable printers to increase productivity by
up to 30 percent.
This is reason enough to cover these innovations for
peripherals in a series of articles. In the first part, we will
look at air supply.
AirStar 3000 - up to 50 percent less power consumption, 45
percent less heat transfer and a 50 percent smaller footprint
Every press needs air, for example to separate the sheets in
the feeder, to transport the sheets between the printing units and
to ensure optimum pile stacking in the delivery. While many press
manufacturers "hide" the blowers required for this
underneath the press, Heidelberg has long been committed to the
concept of a decentralized, high-performance and easy-to-access air
supply cabinet. Since 1995, Heidelberg has installed over 15,000 of
these cabinets on Speedmaster presses. The new AirStar 3000 air
supply system takes this success story one stage further with a
quantum leap in terms of energy efficiency and new blower
technology. The AirStar 3000 features two new types of air
generator: a two-stage claw pump and - for the first time in the
print media industry - a turbo radial blower with very high
efficiency of 70 percent.
In future therefore, all Speedmaster XL 105 presses will be
equipped with the AirStar 3000 air supply cabinet as standard and,
as of fall this year, this will also be the case for most other
Speedmaster models. This innovative technology delivers annual
electricity cost savings of up to 8,000 Euro based on a Speedmaster
XL 105-6+LX in three-shift operation.
Groundbreaking technology from Heidelberg
"Presses and peripherals today need to be closely
coordinated with one another," explains Ruben Schmitt, Head of
the "Air Systems" development department at Heidelberg.
"The high production speed of a Speedmaster XL 105 requires
optimum sheet travel. The press regulates this very conveniently by
adapting the air quantities automatically to the printing stock and
production speed. This automatic regulation and the ability to
store all air settings along with the print job have necessitated a
whole new concept. An "one-size-fits-all" air supply
system or installing a central air generation system for the whole
print shop is no longer sufficient," Schmitt adds.
The key objective of the development is to ensure optimum
availability of the press. The individual air consumers such as the
blowing devices in the printing units or on the transfer drums are
therefore not supplied directly from the blowers. Instead, a
central air distribution tube is installed along the press which
supplies almost all the press's blast-air consumers. This tube
is fed from several identical blowers belonging to the AirStar 3000
system. If one of these blowers fails, another one automatically
cuts in, thereby significantly minimizing the risk of a press
Innovative turbo radial blowers
Heidelberg uses completely new blower technology based on
turbo radial blowers in the AirStar 3000. These high-tech blowers
run at speeds of up to 15,000 revolutions per minute - a speed
unimaginable just a few years ago.
The advantages of this for the printshop are clear. With an
efficiency factor of 70 percent (as opposed to 30-35 percent with
conventional air supply cabinets for presses from other
manufacturers), the system converts the electrical energy it uses
highly efficiently. This reduces power consumption by up to 50
percent. The high efficiency also reduces heat transfer to the
pressroom by up to 45 percent.
Through the use of new materials, the developers at
Heidelberg have succeeded in designing extremely low-wear, almost
maintenance-free blowers. The contact-free compression means there
is hardly any running noise. This is another major advantage for
day-to-day print shop operations.
All turbo radial blowers have a dynamic speed regulator. This
ensures that the speed of the blowers always corresponds exactly to
the press's current air requirements. This solution saves
energy and, ultimately, cash for the customer, as frequently only
30-50 percent of the actual blower capacity is required in
practice. Only when processing very thick grammages or running the
press at high speed, when powerful suction and blast air support is
required for sheet travel, is the blower speed increased.
In addition to the turbo radial blowers, the AirStar 3000
also uses a newly developed two-stage claw pump that can form two
pressure levels at each stage. This system enables four different
pressure levels to be generated - and does so using only a single
drive. As a result, the dimensions can be kept small, and this is
reflected in the significantly reduced footprint of the AirStar
Total success in practice
With the tried-and-tested AirStar 2000, Heidelberg was
already ahead of the game in the field of air supply technology.
Most of the rival systems are twice as big, consume much more
energy (this can quickly add up to an extra 10,000 Euro a year
compared with the AirStar 2000) and generate more waste heat. With
the AirStar 3000, Heidelberg is widening its lead in the air supply
sector. Energy consumption and footprint have been reduced by up to
50 percent compared to its predecessor, and heat transfer to the
press has been reduced by up to 45 percent. This lowers operating
costs and facilitates the print process.
Hannes Manz, Production Manager at AZ-Druck und Datentechnik
in Kempten, is impressed by Star peripherals: "With the best
peripherals, you tend to forget after a couple of months where they
actually are in the print shop. The AirStar 3000 is one of these.
It works flawlessly and reliably, and adjusting the air settings
using the Prinect CP2000 Center is easy and saves a lot of time.
Our electricity bill has dropped dramatically since we installed it
- I never would have believed that peripherals could have such an
effect on energy costs."
Reliable scroll compressors
In addition to the AirStar 3000, every Speedmaster XL 105 is
also equipped with a ScrollStar compressor. This generates the
highly compressed air used for supplying all pneumatic cylinders in
the press, including the new InkLine 3000 ink supply system. For
compressed-air generation too, Heidelberg uses different technology
from its competitors. The scroll compressor works on a contact-free
basis, making it very quiet and low-maintenance. It does not need
any oil for lubrication. This eliminates the usual high maintenance
outlay and ultimately reduces press standstills.
To be continued...
Image 1: Star System from Heidelberg
The Heidelberg Star System covers the whole system
solution with peripherals for Speedmaster presses. These are
connected to the press via the Prinect CP2000 Center control
station by means of CANopen data bus.
Image 2: Control cabinet
AirStar 3000 is the new air supply cabinet for blast and
suction air generation.
Image 3: Claw pump
The innovative two-stage claw pump combines the pressure
and vacuum stages.
Image 4: Turbo radial blowers
In the AirStar 3000, a turbo radial blower with very high
efficiency of 70 percent is used for the first time in the printing
industry. It reduces energy consumption by up to 50 percent. It
also cuts heat transfer to the pressroom by up to 45 percent.
Image 5: Efficiency graphic
Efficiency comparison of turbo radial blowers and side