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IT’S SHOWTIME! - Heidelberg drives further development of digital printing portfolio

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) is driving the further development of its Versafire digital printing system for the growth market of digitally printed short runs. As part of IT’S SHOWTIME! – a digital customer event – the company presented a quality assurance system for its Versafire EP production press, plus gold and silver toners for the Versafire EV five-color system. Both these innovations emphasize the market’s growing quality requirements relating to print products produced digitally and can make users far more competitive.

Versafire EP – inline color control and error detection

Auto Color Diagnosis (ACD) is the name Heidelberg has given to a new inline quality assurance system on its Versafire EP press for high production speeds (135 A4 pages per minute). The ACD unit serves two purposes. Firstly, the system controls the ink feed during the inline process and corrects deviations from a reference file during production. Secondly, ACD identifies errors in the print image such as streaks and marks. If an error is detected, production is automatically stopped on the Versafire EP. The operator can have an electronic image of the defective sheet displayed on a monitor, and this sheet can then be removed manually from the delivery pile.

ACD works with a scanner module that is subsequently incorporated into the fuser station in the press. The scanner reads the printed image of each individual print sheet across the entire width of the format. The print-ready file calculated in the RIP and stored in the Prinect Digital Frontend (DFE) serves as a reference.

In this way, ACD ensures a reliable and stable production operation, helping print shops that are aiming to achieve the best possible print results with the highest possible productivity on their Versafire EP. During the industrial printing process, the quality assurance system ensures the press delivery pile only contains print sheets that meet the defined quality criteria. Furthermore, inking remains stable throughout the entire run.

Gold and silver effects on Versafire EV make products stand out at point of sale

Heidelberg will soon be offering a gold and a silver toner for selection as a fifth color on its Versafire EV. Users of the five-color system will benefit from even greater flexibility than before when it comes to designing creative print products that make even more of an impact at the point of sale. The new toners can be used on their own or combined with the four process colors (CMYK) to create metallic colors. Applications with gold and silver are possible on white substrates, and also on dark and transparent material.

With these gold and silver toners, Heidelberg is increasing the number of spot colors for the Versafire EV to seven. The new additions join opaque white, transparent toner (coating), neon yellow, neon pink, and invisible red. Print images created using invisible red are only visible under black light. The toners are especially useful for integrating security motifs and/or hidden identifying features to protect documents from counterfeiting.

These gold and silver toners can also be retrofitted on Versafire EV models already installed.

Wide range of applications includes packaging

Digital printing is playing an increasingly important role in both commercial and packaging printing. The global print production volume is continuously rising, and the importance of personalized, individualized, and versioned print products for mailings, brochures, and packaging is growing. Thanks to a wide range of substrates, the digital printing systems in the Versafire range from Heidelberg can be used for all kinds of products. The highly productive Versafire EP is the system of choice for many packaging printing customers. This press processes thick materials weighing up to 470 grams per square meter.

“Two printing methods – one workflow technology” with Prinect

Print shops are increasingly combining the advantages of offset and digital printing, including for hybrid products (digital printing for individualized cover and sheetfed offset printing for contents). Heidelberg has geared its printing system portfolio and Prinect workflow technology to this market need. The Prinect workflow control system integrates both digital and sheetfed offset printing for the benefit of the market. Heidelberg developed the Prinect Digital Frontend (DFE) specifically for its Versafire printing systems. The “two printing methods – one workflow technology” principle makes print product manufacturing processes far simpler and plays a big part in standardizing production. Regardless of the output channel for a print product, exactly the same data is always used to start with and the coloring is largely identical with both printing methods. This means print shops can switch between methods quickly and flexibly – if a customer requires earlier delivery, for instance.

Photo caption: A new inline quality assurance system on the Versafire EP from Heidelberg controls the ink feed and detects errors in the print image.