Ten years ago, the Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor revolutionized short-run, half-format printing. Reproducible results with minimal effort, short makeready times, extremely fast job and ink changes, and only a few sheets of start-up waste - This has been inspiring users worldwide ever since. Recently, a new generation of screen rollers manufactured using the Pulse Laser Process (PLP), which are used in the inking unit of the Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor and in the coating unit of all Speedmaster presses, is setting new standards.
Product Manager Jürgen Link explains how users benefit from the Anicolor technology and the Saphira PLP Anilox screen rollers.
Mr. Link, why is Anicolor technology more in demand than ever?
Because this technology supports our customers in reliably and quickly reproducing the desired quality at all times with minimal start-up waste. The need for this is increasing all the time, worldwide. At the same time, the pressure to save costs and resources and to become more sustainable is growing.
The Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor resolves these challenges. Thanks to the zoneless short inking unit and the adjustable temperature of the ink-guiding screen rollers, the Anicolor technology achieves the desired result quickly and easily. The entire process should be standardized to ensure that proof and production run match. Customers who have taken this step are very successful in the market and have complete trust in the technology, in line with the motto: once Anicolor, always Anicolor.
Easily and quickly to the desired result: What role does the Saphira PLP Anilox screen roller play in the inking unit of the Anicolor press?
In our short inking unit, the Saphira PLP Anilox screen roller is absolutely crucial for success. Because it is responsible for the even transfer of a precisely dosed ink volume. Due to its almost zero-tolerance quality in the surface structure, it largely determines the quality of the printed products produced and the duration of the set-up process.
How do you achieve such almost zero-tolerance quality in the surface structure of the screen roller?
Through our patented laser process - The Pulse Laser Process or PLP. At the Wiesloch site, HEIDELBERG has its own state-of-the-art production facility for the layer and type of the varnish screen rollers and the Anicolor ink screen rollers. We also use the PLP readjust to manufacture our screened ink fountain rollers for UV applications.
What exactly does this pulse laser process do?
PLP allows a reliable, material-friendly, and extremely precise production of the various surface structures and thus, the function-critical features. The reduced thermal load due to the pulse laser process prevents, for example, the ridges between the tri-helix cells or hatches from breaking out.
Why is this so important?
Because a precise screen roller surface is important for an equally precise pick-up volume. This ensures that the same ink volume is always transferred over the entire print width and that the best reproducible print results are achieved. Problems caused by uneven ink forming are minimized.
Are there other advantages?
The uniform screen roller structure significantly reduces mist and drips. In addition, achieving the desired print quality is accelerated even further thanks to the Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor and the Saphira PLP Anilox screen rollers.
Another advantage: The process reliability increases. The Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor with the Saphira PLP Anilox screen rollers is therefore ideally suited for a readjust such as multicolor, in which precise ink forming is extremely important. Our customers benefit from this. Let's take packaging printing as an example: Special colors have become increasingly important in recent years, and the number of ink changes has increased. With Prinect Multicolor, we offer our customers a perfect solution. In this context, the special colors are digitally substituted by up to seven process colors in the prepress. In this way, about 90 percent of the special colors can be reproduced. We have customers in the pharmaceuticals sector who, thanks to the use of Multicolor on the Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor, almost completely dispense with ink changes, thereby reducing washing times. Job changes only take a few minutes, and the ink stock has been significantly reduced.
The Saphira PLP Anilox screen roller is also used as standard in the coating unit of the Speedmaster: What challenges were decisive here?
The production speed of the printing presses is constantly increasing. This leads to challenges when coating, for example that the varnish form is applied unevenly. The results: The sheet has different gloss values or dries at different speeds, so that the printing speed has to be reduced.
We have already mastered similar challenges in the Anicolor short inking unit thanks to the new Saphira PLP Anilox screen rollers. So our goal was to optimize the coating units of all Speedmasters and create the best production conditions by using the knowledge we have acquired with the Anicolor technology.
What improvements were achieved?
The improvements that we have achieved with the new screen rollers in the Anicolor's inking unit can also be applied to the varnish form. The new generation of screen rollers in the coating unit increases process reliability thanks to its surface type. The aforementioned themes or stripes in matte finishes are reduced to an absolute minimum. The Saphira PLP Anilox screen roller ensures a homogeneous varnish form and thus consistently high gloss values. Productivity increases because the machine can reach the maximum production speed for the respective application thanks to the precise metering of the varnish form, even with "difficult" materials such as in-mold foils. In addition, we have optimized the roughness of the rollers and thus reduced blade wear, which increases machine availability. Because the doctor blade now has to be cleaned and replaced less frequently. In addition, metal abrasion in the varnish is reduced. This is particularly important in the food sector or for certain safety features. Overall, the need for servicing also decreased.
Further improvements, such as fewer problems caused by mist, not only mean higher performance, but also less pollution in the machine environment. Not only entrepreneurs benefit from this, but also the employees.
Are there companies that particularly benefit?
Customers in the packaging segment in particular consume a great deal of varnish every month. Even minimal savings during varnish form contribute to significant cost reductions and reduced consumption of resources.
What about medium-sized print shops?
Medium-sized companies in particular gain a high level of production reliability. The Saphira PLP Anilox screen roller reduces the undesirable side effects already mentioned and makes it easier to achieve the desired results quickly. In addition, medium-sized and industrial companies can benefit from our experience. Our specialists are there to support our customers.
What range of applications does the Saphira PLP Anilox screen rollers cover?
We have perfected our range of screen rollers for all requirements - from full-surface coating to textured coatings to the smallest spot coating. Whether commercial, packaging, or label printing: Due to the surface types that can be produced precisely, our screen rollers hit exactly the pick-up volume that is needed. For particularly demanding applications such as in-mold labels, we also offer custom-made products.
Can the new screen rollers also be retrofitted?
Saphira PLP Anilox screen rollers can be ordered in different pick-up volumes together with a new Speedmaster press or purchased later as a spare part. After all, we want to support our customers in developing crucial competitive advantages.
What is the market response?
Several thousand Saphira PLP Anilox screen rollers are already in use worldwide, mostly in 3-shift operation and at high speeds. And they all receive consistently positive reviews from various users.
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