Heidelberg launches the Speedmaster CX 104 press

A publication of Graphic News, June 28, 2021.
Author: Aurelia Ricciardi

During “Showtime,” a virtual event hosted by Heidelberg on June 23, the press maker unveiled the new Speedmaster CX 104. At the same time, the machine also had its world premiere at the “China Print” exhibition in Beijing.

The Speedmaster CX 104 has been given a new ergonomic design and new technical features. The offset press shows itself to be very versatile and can be configured as a machine to produce packaging, commercial printing or special applications. “This is a multipurpose and extremely flexible platform. I don’t think there is a comparable press in its category,” explained Jens Kalbantner, the R&D project leader for the CX 104.

A ‘game changer’

Those who opt for the new Speedmaster CX 104 start from a basic model that can be configured in various ways. The press can count up to 15 pressure units so that it becomes up to 30 meters long. “In theory,” specifies Florian Franken, the product director(pictured). He does indicate, however, that two orders for such a configuration are already pending. “It is not always the fastest or the most powerful that survives, but rather the one that adapts best to the situation. And exactly on that point, the Speedmaster CX 104 has strong strengths: the press can evolve and is particularly flexible,” he adds.

According to Franken, Heidelberg wanted to build a press that can adapt to the needs of a wide range of customers: “Commercial printers in Europe or North America are looking for flexibility, but also a high degree of automation. At the same time, we also wanted to meet the needs of markets in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. There, industrial packaging printers are at work producing up to 15 to 16 million prints per year. They need a sturdy and reliable machine. And finally, customers also want a specialized and personalized machine for special applications.”

The Speedmaster CX 104 produces at a speed of 15,000 to 16,500 sheets/hour and can handle a wide variety of carriers, from 0.03 mm to 1 mm. As an option, Heidelberg also offers some special packs for thin media, for cardboard or for plastic.

Buroform did the test

In Belgium, the press has already been tested in practice at printing company Buroform. Jesse Marynen, the chief print officer of the Mechelen printing company, testified about this on Showtime, “We were looking for a machine that could handle both large and short runs. We print a lot of uncoated paper, and our customers want the best printing and reproduction quality. And those are the features we found in the CX 104.”

Jesse speaking on ‘Showtime’. © Heidelberg

Other improvements and technical features

  • The CX104 is controlled by Prinect Press Center XL 3 with IntelliStart 3.0, a new operating system that is “as easy to use as a smartphone.
  • A new vernis unit that is “completely reimagined” and scores especially on ergonomics.
  • A new grid roller for the vernis unit simplifies the replacement of Anilox rollers: a single operator suffices. Because the roller is lighter, it can be replaced 75 percent faster – in 1 minute 20 instead of 5 minutes 30.
  • The WashAssistant, in turn, optimizes washes.
  • A new exhaust system reduces ink mist and emissions so the air in the workshop is cleaner.

Novelties in finishing

Also presented at Showtime was the XL 106-D rotary punching system, in a single-unit configuration. This reduces energy consumption and carbon footprint compared to the previous model that had two units. Polar, for its part, proposed a new cutting system, the DCC-12. That makes it possible to increase productivity by up to 25 percent and produce 10 packets per minute instead of eight. Another development from Polar: the AirGo Jog that automates the preparation process. Heidelberg also presented the new folding cylinder PerfectGrip, which combines new materials with a new geometry.