Primefire 106 digital press at Warneke Paper Box in Denver

Heidelberg Primefire 106 digital press now in serial production

Photo: Cutting the ribbon on the newly installed Heidelberg Primefire 106 (from left in front): Steve Huppert, Warneke Paper Box; Felix Müller, Heidelberg and Stacey Warneke. Behind are Dan Maurer and Montserrat Peidro-Insa, both from Heidelberg.
Photo: Cutting the ribbon on the newly installed Heidelberg Primefire 106 (from left in front): Steve Huppert, Warneke Paper Box; Felix Müller, Heidelberg and Stacey Warneke. Behind are Dan Maurer and Montserrat Peidro-Insa, both from Heidelberg.

At the beginning of October, the packaging print shop Warneke Paper Box invited more than 60 visitors from the USA, Canada and Mexico to Denver for an open house showcasing its new Primefire 106 digital press and its impressive capabilities. Warneke’s Primefire is the first digital printing system in B1 format in the USA and worldwide is the first standard-production machine delivered by Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg). Delivered in July 2018, the Primefire prints top quality with a resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi, and boasts a wide color gamut and stable color consistency. [Editors note: We witnessed this quality at the Multi Packaging Solutions plant in Obersulm in Germany in November 2017.]

Milestone in industrial digital printing

Founded in 1907, Warneke Paper Box Company is one of the highest-quality custom manufacturers of folding cartons, set-up/rigid boxes, point-of-purchase displays, pocket folders, and cannabis packaging. For well over 100 years, it has provided a combination of production, quality, turnaround time, reasonable price and customer service. Located in Denver, Colorado, in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains, WPB serves not only local customers, but nationally as well. Its exceptional and complete service not just boxes, is significantly present in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and beyond.

“The print quality of the Primefire 106 is unlike anything else I’ve seen, and satisfies all my criteria for a digital platform,” confirms Stacy Warneke, president and CEO of Warneke. Steve Huppert, vice president and COO of Warneke adds, “We can also migrate everything we’ve printed so far on our Heidelberg offset presses to the Primefire 106. The new digital business models, customizations, and personalizations enable us to generate added value for our customers, and we expect that the Primefire will account for 25% of our sales volume in the future.”

Visitors at the open house were also amazed by the Primefire’s capabilities. “To be honest, I went to this event thinking I was going to see the same inkjet technology that I’ve seen from other manufacturers before, but the Primefire 106 really exceeded my expectations,” said Karim Angel, owner and managing director of Dataprint in Mexico City. “Wow! I have never seen anything like it – the inline varnish, the handling of substrates with cartons up to 24 points – everything about the machine really impressed me. The full sheet format of 70 x 100 cm convinced me that the Primefire really is the best digital press developed so far.”

Primefire 106 in series production

Heidelberg launched the Primefire 106 at drupa 2016, and brought this machine to series-production readiness in a record time of just two and a half years. In Europe, three customers from the packaging and pharmaceutical segments are beta testing the press. The demand is especially high in the American, European, and Chinese markets. “We listened to our customers when they told us what they needed. This includes producing ever declining runs economically and meeting ever stricter regulations in packaging printing with counterfeit-proof packaging design,” explained Montserrat Peidro-Insa, head of Digital at Heidelberg at the event. “With the Primefire 106, we can inspire our customers to try new business opportunities by making the production of unique packaging profitable, and enabling security features, connected packaging solutions, personalized designs, and faster product prototyping, among others. We have delivered and the machine is in high demand worldwide.”

“I’ve been evaluating digital printing presses for many years, and up until now, no machine has even come close to meeting all of the necessary key requirements to be considered a viable production solution in folding carton packaging,” said Trish Alberico of General Converting in Bolingbrook, Illinois. “In order to justify adding a digital press, the press must fit within our current production stream and be capable of supporting the next challenge a customer may bring. After seeing the Primefire, it´s obvious that Heidelberg engineered this press to change the game.”

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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