Heidelberg bills Speedmaster CX 104 as 'true all-rounder'

Jo Francis
Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Heidelberg has taken the wraps off the new Speedmaster CX 104 at its Showtime livestream event which also coincides with the China Print show in Beijing.

Heidelberg Showtime featured a CX 104 at its Wiesloch site
Heidelberg Showtime featured a CX 104 at its Wiesloch site

Product manager Florian Franken said the press had been developed to deliver “outstanding price performance”.

“We see that it’s not always the survival of the fittest or the fastest, but the rather of the one that is adapting best to the situation. And this is exactly where the Speedmaster CX 104 plays to its strengths in terms of scalability and flexibility,” he said.

“We come from a base model that can be configured as a packaging machine, but also as a commercial configuration or even special applications.”

The CX 104 can have a maximum of 15 units, and Franken said that Heidelberg already had two orders in the pipeline with that configuration. 

Standard speed is 15,000sph with a maximum speed of 16,500sph. It can handle stock thicknesses from 0.03mm – 1mm, with optional card and thin substrate packages. 

Heidelberg highlighted the “completely redesigned” coating unit with improved ergonomics. The changeover of anilox rollers has been made much simpler, the roller is much lighter, and it can be carried out easily by one operator. 

“We have reduced the time from about five minutes 30 seconds to one minute 20 seconds – that’s a 75% time reduction,” said Jens Kalbantner, R&D project manager for the new press.  

Heidelberg showed a female press operator switching out the coating roller with ease. 

Speaking to Printweek after the Showtime event, Heidelberg UK product manager Matt Rockley said: “I’ve got to say the coating unit is absolutely bloody brilliant, because I worked and sweated on those type of units myself for years.

“This has really opened things up for commercial printers looking at getting into packaging.”

Rockley said there was already interest in the CX 104 from UK customers based on conversations that had taken place since the Heidelberg team were briefed on the new model.

The CX 104 is driven by Prinect Press Centre XL 3 with a new Speedmaster operating system described as being “like a smartphone”. IntelliStart 3.0 guides the operator through every operation “up to the level of autonomous printing”, while the new Intelliline function uses LED lights to provide a colour status visualisation on all printing, coating and drying units “on the operator and drive sides”.

Heidelberg is pitching the device as being suitable for a range of customers, from “firms that prefer flexibility and high automation… to those requiring sturdiness and reliability as well as special applications,” said Franken. 

The press has been field tested at Belgian printer Buroform. Chief print officer Jesse Marynen said: ‘We were looking for a machine that combines small and big orders. We print a lot of uncoated paper and our customers want the highest quality and the highest image control, and that’s the advantages we found in the new CX 104.”

Other features include WashAssistant for optimised wash-ups and a standby function to reduce electricity consumption. 

“It’s an absolute game-changer. This is a true all-rounder and a very flexible platform. I actually think there’s no comparable machine in its class,” Kalbantner stated. 

The CX 104 will supersede the CX 102 model. 

Heidelberg also showed a new AutoProtect system that filters ink mist, cutting emissions and resulting in cleaner air in the press room. 

Also new is an in-mould label (IML) performance package on its Speedmaster XL 106 for IML and wet glue labels, which uses aerodynamic engineering techniques to handle challenging substrates at higher speeds, with stability.

In the post-press area, Showtime included a debut for the XL 106-D rotary die-cutter, now in a single unit configuration that reduces its footprint and power consumption compared with the previous twin-unit device, “and at a very attractive price”.

A new folding roller – PerfectGrip – combines the benefits of hard and soft PU by using a new roller geometry. 

Polar showed its new DCC-12 cutting system that increases productivity by up to 25%. It also showed the new AirGo jogging system that automates the preparation process.

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