Push to Stop users report productivity gains

Jo Francis
Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Early adopters of Heidelberg’s 'Push to Stop' autonomous printing technology have been speaking about their experiences, with the first press of its type set to arrive in the UK this week.

The manufacturer launched the concept at Drupa, and it has already been field tested at a number of customers, with six presses of different sizes involved in the field testing phase.

It expects its customers’ OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) to vastly increase over the next decade as a result of the developments.

“It’s currently at an average of around 25% and I expect 50% OEE to be the average in 10 years,” said Heidelberg head of sheetfed product management Rainer Wolf. “We have customers today producing 80m or even 90m sheets per year on an XL 106. How are they achieving this? They look very deeply into their processes; they analyse it all.”

The first of the ‘Drupa generation’ Speedmasters in the UK will arrive at Letchworth-based Falkland Press tomorrow (2 November). Falkland’s six-colour XL 106 has Autoplate XL 2 simultaneous plate change and blanket wash.

“I like it because it means the operator doesn’t influence makeready anymore – it’s a fixed thing,” said managing director Jon Lancaster. “We’ve been doing about 6,000 plates a month during September and October on our XL 75 and obviously with B1 we’ll get double the pages out of each plate. B1 sections will also help our perfect binding operation a lot.”

Heidelberg organised a road trip to a number of its German early adopters of Push to Stop last week.

Lokay Druck, which specialises in an eco-friendly and ethical approach, is running Prinect 2017 on its Speedmaster CX 102, with Inpress Control 2 and the large Wallscreen XL display.

Thomas Fleckenstein, general manager and head of marketing at the Reinheim company, said the use of Push to Stop technology had smoothed the path to increased productivity with the firm’s workforce. “Before there was always conflict in addressing the need for more productivity. This is getting productivity without getting conflict,” he said.

Anthony Thirlby, who built a reputation as a productivity and process improvement guru at Swindon’s ESP Colour, and who is now general manager for Prinect at Heidelberg, said: “Printing should be like car manufacturing, with a known output per hour, a known cost, and known quality. All of it optimised and nobody touches the approved process.”

Regensburg-based Aumüller has been operating on an ‘industrial printing’ basis for many years. The €33m (£29.8m) turnover firm has been a production partner of German web-to-print giant FlyerAlarm for almost a decade.  

It runs a bank of six long-perfectors, with the newest being an eight-colour XL 106. Run lengths at the firm can be as low as 200.

“The improvement was tremendous, even compared with our already modern equipment,” stated owner Christian Aumüller. “It’s perfect for short runs and also for long runs. We are working on three-minute job changeovers. Our goal is that the operator can do all jobs without asking anyone where are plates, or the paper, or the ink.”

Pruskil in Gaimersheim also highlighted the need to involve employees. The company, which specialises in high-end brochures for car manufacturers, installed the first serial production Drupa generation Speedmaster XL 106-8P+L about a month ago.

“We are perfecting at 18,000sph. Not every job can be autonomous but when we have suitable jobs we just let it run,” explained technical manager Thomas Kerndl. “We involve the operators so they understand which way to go, we are supporting them to produce more jobs per shift so the whole company will be successful.”






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