A world record – HEIDELBERG supplies packaging manufacturer with two longest sheetfed offset presses ever produced

04 Mar 2024
  • Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG
  • offset printing
  • Print technology
  • Speedmaster XL
  • WestRock

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (HEIDELBERG) delivered the two longest sheetfed offset presses ever produced to leading global packaging manufacturer, WestRock. The longer of the two, which was delivered to WestRock’s Poland facility, is a 42 metre, specially adapted custom configuration of a Speedmaster XL 106 with a total of 20 printing and coating units.

This record-breaking press represents a key HEIDELBERG business strategy: ‘We help our customers simplify their printing processes and boost their productivity by offering them a high level of automation and flexibility, something that is especially important at a time when the skills shortage is becoming more acute worldwide,’ says HEIDELBERG CEO, Dr. Ludwin Monz.

This business strategy is increasingly paying dividends. With an annual growth of approximately 2.3 percent forecast, the folding carton market is a strategic growth segment for HEIDELBERG.

Around half the sheetfed offset presses HEIDELBERG sells and installs go to packaging customers. ‘HEIDELBERG is now a market leader in packaging printing, with Speedmaster XL technology playing a key role,’ Monz reveals.

The trend toward ever more sustainable packaging, such as folding cartons, is driving demand. Cartons are increasingly replacing plastic packaging in everything from food and cosmetics to pharmaceuticals.

In addition, HEIDELBERG is supplying a further Speedmaster XL 106 with a total of 19 printing and coating units to a WestRock site in Germany – this will be the second longest in the world.

The record-breaking presses supplied to WestRock can print particularly high-quality and eye-catching packaging. With its large number of printing and coating units, the highly flexible long Speedmaster XL 106 configuration is suitable for handling a wide range of packaging applications with striking coating and metallic effects as well as sustainable products – completely inline, double-sided and in a single pass.

Based in the U.S. state of Georgia, WestRock is a global leader in sustainable paper and packaging solutions with more than 50 000 teammates in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Its integrated packaging capabilities offer end-to-end solutions to help customers across food and beverage, healthcare, e-commerce and beyond meet their greatest challenges.

Mark Shaw, Business Leader, EMEA and APAC at WestRock said, ‘Innovation and sustainability are the bedrock of WestRock’s operation and by investing in print technology from HEIDELBERG, we are future-proofing our capabilities for our customers. There is no better demonstration of this than the two longest presses in the world being developed specifically for WestRock facilities. As brands continue to drive demand for sustainable, fibre-based packaging, through our continued investment and industry-leading expertise, we are well positioned to meet these needs.’

A trend is emerging, particularly in folding carton and label printing, toward customised, long press configurations. After all, manufacturers of branded goods are keen to create new purchase incentives time after time by offering stand-out, sustainable packaging designed with particularly striking effects. HEIDELBERG specialises in custom configurations of this kind. The Speedmaster XL systems in particular can be adapted in numerous ways to meet customer-specific requirements.

‘Projects such as the one for WestRock involve particularly high mechanical engineering demands and close consultation with the customer. We combine two things – first-class printing press construction and user-friendly operation,’ says Christian Steinmassl, who is in charge of the packaging segment at HEIDELBERG.

The operating concept must be designed in such a way that, even with a press of this length and complexity, staff always have all processes under control via the Prinect Press Center. ‘As underlined by the fact that packaging printers are more than ready to invest in custom configurations from HEIDELBERG, users trust our company’s expertise and partnership-based approach to finding solutions,’ Steinmassl concludes.