Heidelberg has released a new white paper, "Print Quality Testing of the Speedmaster XL 162," measuring the print quality of Heidelberg's Speedmaster XL 162 VLF press against generally accepted quality benchmarks.
Testing was conducted both at the Heidelberg factory in Wiesloch, Germany, as well as at a U.S. customer site. Among the findings:
"[The results of testing on the Speedmaster XL 162] were...remarkable. The Speedmaster XL 162 was able not only to meet the acceptance criteria, but also, in most cases, to establish levels of performance never seen before in a large-format press."
"Print Quality Testing of the Speedmaster XL 162," co-authored by veteran independent technical consultants Raymond J. Prince and William McLauchlan, compares the results of six test forms with tests conducted over the years on presses of the same format and under the same conditions.
Speedmaster XL 162 Shines by Comparison
The new white paper describes the detailed protocol for each of the six test forms measuring press performance with dry solids, wet solids, ghosting, streaking, grid, and quality. This protocol has been used and refined for many years and stands as the "litmus" test for press acceptance by press manufacturers, printers and independent consultants the world over. The purpose, process and expectations for each test were outlined and results given. In each case, the results achieved with the Speedmaster XL 162 exceeded "typical" performance benchmarks by a significant margin. In fact, the authors noted,
"Even at 14,000 sph the print quality of the register, dot gain and ladder targets were excellent."
The Speedmaster XL 162 achieved the fastest sign-off in both time and waste sheets to date on the very demanding grid test.
The Speedmaster XL 162 achieved the best results to date in both the ghosting and streaking test form.
Measuring print quality is vitally important, explained Joerg Daehnhardt, Director Product Management at Heidelberg USA. "Only when a printer can rely on the print quality of the press can he take advantage of all the automation to reduce makeready times," he said. "Otherwise, the printer is fighting streaks, ghosting, and fit issues—often more than doubling the total makeready time, producing expensive waste in the process, and creating cost for wasted sheets, time and ink."
What Printers Want
The need to test both new and used machines against established criteria is well documented in all format classes. The press tested for the new white paper was a Speedmaster XL 162; other large-format presses have been tested using the same methodology for years. The test protocol detailed in "Print Quality Testing of the Speedmaster XL 162" was based on performance metrics that are important to working printers.
Heidelberg's VLF series presses offer systematic savings by eliminating makeready steps, automating manual processes, and by synchronizing key functions to bring revolutionary productivity to the large format printing of folding carton applications, POP/POS, and web-to-print gang running. In light of the growing emphasis on print quality and the trend toward shorter run lengths, the testing proves that the Heidelberg XL 162 delivers the results in all of these areas that customers can depend on.
"As print quality is typically hard to define," wrote Prince and McLauchlan, "we feel that [the six forms used for the test] provide all the information necessary to judge a press. The Speedmaster XL 162...passed this test with the best results we have ever seen."
A summary of the new Heidelberg white paper, "Print Quality Testing of the Speedmaster XL 162," is available for download