MPS in world-first packaging press purchase

By Max Goldbart, Thursday 09 February 2017

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Multi Packaging Solutions (MPS) has claimed to be the world’s first company to invest in an 18-unit Heidelberg packaging press.

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The press will be fully commissioned by the middle of the year

The £1.4bn global manufacturer opted for an 18-unit Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106, which will be installed at its East Kilbride premises in March and be fully commissioned by the middle of the year.

It will work alongside MPS’ existing 17-unit Speedmaster XL 106, installed four years ago. MPS marketing communications director Bob Houghton said the site had “sufficient space” to accommodate both and that it would complement the other litho and flexo presses at the site.

An eight-colour Roland large-format machine, which MPS has had for more than 15 years, is being taken out. 

Houghton added that the spend was part of an ongoing investment plan across the group, which will see several other major items of equipment come in over the next six months.

The news comes following the announcement of the acquisition of MPS by US-headquartered WestRock, in a deal said to be worth around $2.3bn (£1.8bn). This transaction is not expected to complete until June and is subject to shareholder approval and other customary closing conditions.

MPS chief executive Marc Shore said that his company was making a significant investment “to ensure we can meet the needs of some of the world’s most prestigious brands”, and that the specified unit would enable MPS to handle more inline processes with total quality control. 

Houghton said: “It provides an unmatched range of production options to our customers and will raise capacity but allow us to offer a greater range of finishes and effects, all in one machine pass.”

The highly specified 18-unit B1 perfector will have 11 printing units, three coating units, four drying units and an inline cold foiling system.

The 18,000sph press is also being configured with Heidelberg Image Control 3, which offers a special opaque white control, and Inspection Control 2. As with the 17-unit press, it has a cold foiling unit with indexing.

MPS was confirmed yesterday as the first pilot customer for Heidelberg’s B1 sheetfed inkjet press, the Primefire 106

Last November, it acquired AJS Labels for an undisclosed sum in a bid for expansion. It employs around 8,800 staff worldwide and has sites across the UK. 

WestRock was formed in May 2015 from a merger between MeadWestvaco and RockTenn. It now has sales of around $15bn and employs 42,000 staff worldwide. 

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