The pairing of Bell's new VLF press and platesetter enable the company to produce 4- to 6-color graphics for high-quality retail packaging in run lengths from several thousand to several hundred thousand sheets. As its new capabilities become widely known, the company reports increased customer interest, specifically, from Fortune 500 food manufacturing concerns.
"Bell Incorporated had the wisdom and clear foresight to install the right tools for the job," said Jim Dunn, president of Heidelberg USA. "We at Heidelberg are confident that our Peak Performance Speedmaster XL 162 VLF press and large-format Suprasetter will help the company to assay new markets and advance its already formidable reputation for exceptional quality and superior customer service."
The Epitome of "Peak Performance"
Heidelberg's VLF presses are designed to meet the specific requirements of the folding carton and package printing sectors by delivering fast makereadies and high productivity on a broad range of substrates, all through a user-friendly and intuitive Intellistart interface.
"Our customers have been very impressed with the quality of the print, the level of technology and our prepress-to-press color management system," said COO Ben Arndt, citing Bell's utilization of Heidelberg's Prinect Pressroom Manager Software, which automatically presets up to 22 additional parameters on the Speedmaster XL 162 press, including ink key data from prepress to press, reducing errors and makeready times. On press, Heidelberg's Prinect Axis Control color measuring device, and color management software are features favored by Bell's press operators, who appreciate simultaneous color control of all printing units based on spectrophotometrically measured values. Using Axis Control, the press inks up much more quickly and produces less waste during makeready.
Also proving popular with Bell's operators are the many remote adjustments and easy maintenance procedures of the new press, as well as Heidelberg's integrated logistics system, which automates the movement of loads of paper both to the feeder and away from the delivery.
Other innovations on the XL 162 include:
- Prinect Press Center with Wallscreen, a state-of-the-art control station that combines press operation with color and register control in a single, central console
- Single suction belt feeder, for the utmost precision in sheet transport
- Production speeds to 15,000 sph
- Reduced makeready times
- Ability to handle a wide range of difficult substrates
A Perfect Pairing
Heidelberg's Suprasetter 145/162/190 platesetters for large format set new standards in their class with regard to quality, reliability, flexibility and user convenience. In addition to Heidelberg lasers and patented Intelligent Diode System, these models also feature excellent depth of focus, internal temperature stabilization and straightforward operation. Options chosen by Bell Incorporated include internal punching and automatic debris removal.
"We selected Heidelberg's VLF platesetter because it offered the best combination of performance features and is specifically designed to run with our new Speedmaster VLF press," said company president Ben Graham. "Now, having observed the platesetter in actual production for several weeks, we've had an opportunity to appreciate how the integration of the CtP unit, cross table, processor and plate stacker promotes efficient plate output. After the first plate is loaded, the next is brought into the queue automatically. As a result, we're producing plates at the unit's full rated specification of 15 pph."
Graham also confirms that the dot sharpness and run length provided by Heidelberg's Saphira plates "are meeting our expectations and are equal to or better than competitive offset plates used on other presses at Bell."
"Heidelberg's VLF Suprasetter models are ideally matched with the capabilities of Heidelberg's VLF Speedmaster presses," said J-F Colpron, Vice President, Consumables and Prinect CtP, Heidelberg USA. "By the same token, Heidelberg Saphira plates-like all Saphira consumables-are optimized to run in Heidelberg equipment and to produce optimal results. Bell's experience with its new VLF Suprasetter thus far suggests that it is well positioned to achieve maximum efficiency and superior quality results from here on out."
Bell uses Heidelberg's complete package of premium Saphira prepress and press consumables, with the exception of inks and coatings.
Toward A Shorter Learning Curve
An all-web company prior to its addition of the Speedmaster XL 162 VLF machine, Bell sought to shorten the learning curve for its press operators by utilizing a PC-based Press Operation Simulator, supplied by Heidelberg for just that purpose.
Said Arndt, "This enabled our operators to operate the press virtually, prior to its arrival on our floor. When they attended formal training at the Kennesaw Tech Center later on, they already had a basic understanding of the operating system that allowed them to be comfortable with the technology and focus on the content."
Heidelberg training, service and support on the new press and platesetter also have garnered Bell's enthusiastic approval.
"Training has been well planned, thorough, organized and effective, and the response to technical issues in our prepress to press operations has been outstanding," Graham said. "Heidelberg has been unfailingly responsive to our needs, and their technicians remain on site to ensure our success."
A self-described "lean, entrepreneurial organization," Bell Incorporated is one of the 10 largest and fastest-growing independent folding carton producers in North America, as well as the world's largest supplier of paperboard envelopes. The company provides packaging services to some of the world's largest food manufacturers.