Heidelberg’s Showtime on IML production

IML solution uses new Speedmaster XL rotary die-cutter

The new Heidelberg XL DD 106 rotary die-cutter Photo Heidelberg | IML
The new Heidelberg XL DD 106 rotary die-cutter Photo Heidelberg

In the second part of its showtime event on 23 June 2021, in which it talked about its ‘new XL104’s high performance at a good price,’ the company also demonstrated its In-Mold (IML) and wet glue label solution. This demonstration used an 8-color plus coater and three Y unit sheetfed press and a new version of its rotary diecutter, the Speedmaster XL 106-DD. IMLs are used extensively for food packaging, lids, and paint buckets. In India, they are used for butter, cheese, ice-cream containers, and paint buckets. Heidelberg says its new solution, also ‘high performance at a good price,’ sets new standards for producing in-mold labels. In addition, the new diecutter has been reduced from two units to a single drive unit, taking less space, consuming less power, and less CAPEX.

The Speedmaster XL 106-DD works on the principle of the rotary die cutter, which offers several advantages over the flatbed and punch die-cutters which are usually used in the production of in-mold labels. It requires 15 minutes of make-ready, and according to Heidelberg, for production runs up to 500,000 sheets, the cost of tooling is reduced by 50% compared to traditional flatbed die-cutting. In addition, using innovative components from the Speedmaster XL 106 perfecting technology ensures precise align delivery piles without a single blank being detached from a sheet.

The Speedmaster XL 106-DD rotary die-cutter is equipped with an innovative magnetic cylinder with extraction for special applications. The machine not only cuts out the contour but also removes even the tiniest injection holes of five millimeters diameter or more completely and reliably. All of this in a single step and at a higher speed than previously possible.

In the Showtime presentation, the converting of IMLs solution was shown together with printing on a specially equipped XL 106 8-color press plus coater with three Y units for curing the IML and wet glue label stocks. The IML performance package includes a Cutstar for reel to sheet, a feeder with an additional blow bar for thin materials, optimized sheet travel, and delivery.

The rotary diecutter XL 106 has been shrunk from two drives to a single drive and can run at 14,000 sheets per hour. As Heidelberg’s Philip Doley pointed out in the presentation, the IML market is very stable and has not suffered any Covid-19 pandemic effects. He also suggested that the single unit diecutter is available at a very attractive price which we are pretty curious about. Most IML labels in India are printed on gravure, CI, or label flexo presses and die cut using flatbed die-cutters and robotic gathering stations for the end products.

The next Heidelberg web events are on 15 July for folding cartons and on 22 July for commercial printing applications. For the 15 July event, you can register from the video below or by clicking here.

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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