Superior to be first to take delivery of Drupa spec Speedmaster XL 106 LE-UV


Superior will be the first company in the UK to take delivery of a Drupa specification Speedmaster XL 106 and it will be an LE-UV machine. The press will be delivered in the autumn. It will be a great way for the Melksham company to mark its 40th anniversary.

This is a company which makes investment decisions on a case by case basis and the five-colour and coat Speedmaster from Heidelberg will replace a Komori B1 ten-colour perfector. Superior’s most recent investment was in a Muller Martini miniweb with a bespoke configuration, including high speed inkjet heads for personalisation, which has absorbed most leaflet work and negated the need for a sheetfed perfector.

“We have seen our point of sale and packaging work grow over the last two years so we needed a press that was both flexible and versatile as it had to handle 75gsm to 1 mm thick board,” says operations director Richard Blueitt.

“We wanted to go LE-UV or LED-UV and looked at Komori, KBA and Heidelberg. Heidelberg was very objective in its advice between the technologies available in new UV drying systems. We also met with the UV product team and openly discussed both technologies, allowing us to digest detailed technical and financial benefits. Our feeling is that LE-inks are more advanced, especially in metallic and so we opted to go this route with Heidelberg. We also retain the option of switching to LED-UV in the future.

“We liked the prospect of LE-UV because it will reduce our energy bill, eliminate spray powder (which affects the finishing and particularly laminating), will give instant drying for fast printing back up or finishing and which holds the ink better for a more vibrant printed result,” says Mr Blueitt.

“For many people the ink cost (potentially three times higher) is the concern. We know we will need less ink per job and we are convinced that there will be more developments at Drupa and that prices will fall as more printers adopt this technology.”

The Drupa specification Speedmaster XL 106 will feature the new Prinect Press Center XL2, including wallscreen XL, interactive pad and intuitive multi-view interface. The Superior press will also feature the latest versions of Inpress Control, Autoplate Pro and Pressroom Manager.

“Inpress Control 2 is outstanding and we are very excited to have that colour and register control system as well as the benefits of LE-UV,” says Mr Blueitt. “We saw the major benefit of Heidelberg’s Inpress Control during our press trials. The Speedmaster XL 106 with Inpress Control 2 took our work in its stride. The jobs we tested were delivered to the press hours before the trials just as our jobs would have come into Superior’s production workflow. We take quite a long time to makeready on the Komori long perfector and this automated, inline tool will be a huge benefit to us. The minders will quickly adapt to the technology, benefitting from the ease of use of the new Prinect Press Center. The press will be run by one printer and will operate on a 24/5 basis.”

It is only a few weeks since Superior added two Heidelberg digital presses, a Linoprint CP and a Linoprint CV. These have mopped up the very short run and some personalised jobs with the added benefit of being able to add white or clear varnish which has attracted new work.

“Printing was once regarded as dirty but today it is clean and computerised,” says Mr Blueitt. “What has surprised me over the last four years has been how litho has bitten back, developing so that it can do almost anything a digital press can do bar personalisation and still with an edge on speed and quality.”

Plans for the new Speedmaster have spurred some changes in layout at the factory which will result in a more effective and productive workflow.

The company offers litho, digital and wide format printing operations plus extensive finishing including cut, fold, die-cut, glue, laminate and more. It grew out of a studio so design, artwork and cardboard engineering is fundamental to the business which employs 175 staff and counts many blue chip companies among its clients. Indeed it describes itself as a solutions provider rather than a printer, frequently consulted at concept stage and seeing work through to delivery.

“The technical support from Heidelberg has been superb. There is a reassurance in the Heidelberg name because you know there will be the advice, hand-holding and comprehensive support including qualified and experienced engineers. Heidelberg staff have shown a desire to listen and moving forward I know we can learn from each other,” says Mr Blueitt.

Ian O’Connor and Richard Blueitt, two of the directors who led the buyout of the company in 2005, will attend Drupa.

For further information please contact:

Diana Thompson, Plus Point PR Ltd, on 01494-817178
Matt Rockley, Heidelberg UK, on 020 8490 3500
Richard Blueitt, Superior, on 01225-898341.