"Heidelberg has perfected the perfecting press."
"We saw setups that took well under 10 minutes-and that was
for getting color and register on both sheet sides."
"We'll be able to change all the plates in less than two
minutes, as well as measure every sheet through the press for color
and register in real time."
- For 33 years, AMP Printing and Graphics, one
of the San Francisco Bay Area's premier commercial printers, relied
on the legendary dependability and print quality of its Heidelberg
machines, all of which were from 12-20 years old. Push came to
shove, however, when the Dublin, CA-based company determined that
it would need to invest in a 10-color Speedmaster XL 106 perfecting
press with two-sided UV printing and coating capabilities in order
to stay competitive.
"Our decision had a lot to do with economics," said Jeff
Main, who, together with his wife, Kathy, president of the company,
made the financial commitment to move forward with this major
capital expenditure. "While we've always been successful running
Heidelberg presses, we were losing ground in an extremely
competitive marketbecause we were working with aging,
less-productive equipment. There was never an issue with our name,
reputation or the quality of our work, just with what it cost us in
terms of the time and labor needed to sustain that level of
excellence," he said. "No matter how hard or how long we worked, we
just couldn't compete on productivity. We made up our mind to
retool and update our pressroom in order to work faster and more
efficiently while growing the business."
Doing as well as the competition wasn't an option. "We
wanted to lead, not follow," Main said.
An Eye-Opening Experience
That quest ultimately led AMP's management team to visit
Heidelberg's factory in Wiesloch, Germany, and to tour a number of
Europe's most progressive printing facilities. What Main saw caused
him to re-think his original investment plans.
"It wasn't until we saw the new technology of the XL 106
that we decided to invest in a brand-new UV press," Main said. "It
was immediately clear that no other press manufacturer could beat
the XL 106 in terms of print quality, speed, performance, and ease
The fact was, AMP Printing had never bought a new Heidelberg
press before, let alone a two-sided UV perfector.
"Had you asked me a year ago if I'd ever buy a perfector, I
would have said no, given the subpar perfecting capabilities of
some older equipment I'd seen," Main said. "When I went to Germany
to view the XL 106 in action, I never imagined that I would wind up
buying a perfector. But the technology and the quality exceeded all
my expectations. Heidelberg has absolutely perfected the perfecting
For Main, the overseas trip was a revelation in more ways
than one. "When we saw European printers running demanding
automotive catalogs at full speed, we realized that the quality
would match our standards, " Main explained, "but what really
sealed the deal were the unbelievably fast makereadies enabled by
the new technology. We saw setups that took well under 10
minutes-and that was for getting color and register on both sheet
sides. The XL 106 perfector is truly revolutionary and a total
mind-changer in my case. It's the best investment this company has
Thanks to automated features like Prinect Inpress Control
and AutoPlate XL, AMP will be able to address its productivity
issue by expanding its capacity, attracting additional high-end
work, and by producing many more jobs per day-most in just one
press pass. This will streamline press checks, as well as enable a
customer to walk out the door with a finished sample after just one
"We're already known for our ability to produce high-end UV
projects on a wide range of synthetic substrates," Main explained.
"The XL 106 is as versatile as we are-we'll be able to run it as a
straight 10-color press or a 5/5 double-coating machine. And it's
fast-you have to see it running flawlessly at 15,000 sph in
perfecting mode to believe it can be done. We'll also be able to
change all the plates in less than two minutes, as well as measure
every sheet through the press for color and register in real time,"
he continued. "Prinect Inpress Control will enable us to offer an
unprecedented level of color stability throughout the run, and help
our operators relax while running such a long, complex machine."
By virtue of its shortened makeready times, rapid inking
with low-VOC UV inks, and dramatically lower material waste, the
Speedmaster XL 106 also supports the company's longstanding
policy of sustainable print production, an essential concern for
any printer subject to California's strict environmental protection
laws. The company is a certified Green Printer with a longstanding
commitment to "Print Responsibly" in every area of the business.
The Rest of the Story
With its choice of press squared away, the company felt it
needed to create whatMain termed a "closed-loop" situation at AMP
by also purchasing a Suprasetter 105 chemistry-free CtP unit with
Heidelberg's complete Prinect prepress and production workflow.
Once the new press is installed, AMP also plans to take advantage
of Heidelberg's Print Color Management service to further optimize
its pressroom efficiency. The company also works with Heidelberg
Saphira consumables from prepress to plating to press.
Beyond the stunning capabilities of Heidelberg's flagship XL
106, it was Heidelberg's "mindset of service" that proved decisive
"Our experience in dealing with Heidelberg for more than
three decades has shown us not only that Heidelberg engineering is
rock-solid, but also that we'll be well taken care of in terms of
service and parts. After all, any press you install is only as good
as the support team that helps you look after it." AMP Printing and
Graphics is a Certified Woman-Owned, G7-qualified, expert UV
printer specializing in the production of high-end specialty
marketing materials for customers in the retail, technology,
medical, financial, education, and advertising markets. Its
high-volume, state-of-the-art, 70,000-square-foot facility in
Dublin houses a variety ofoperational and technical capabilities,
including sheetfed and digital offset presses, color-managed
prepress, and a full suite of finishing services. The company,
which was an early adopter of grand-format UV imaging, today boasts
a range of solutions that produce work up to 10 feet wide at the
highest possible resolutions, including a VUTEk HS 100 Pro,
recently installed as part of AMP's capital expansion plan. The
company reports annual revenue of more than $20 million. Despite
the company's obvious success, sterling reputation, and depth of
expertise, Main stays alert for opportunities to strengthen and
improve his business. Regarding AMP's purchase and pending
installation of a Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106 perfector, for
example, "We knew we needed to make a change or risk becoming a
casualty of a brutally competitive market," he said. "The new press
represents the potential for substantial growth in sales and
profits for us."