Four high-tech Heidelberg presses drive growth for international technology group Körber in pharmaceutical packaging sector

In a challenging market environment with growing demands, world-leading packaging printer Körber Pharma is going from strength to strength. To achieve its ambitious growth targets and successfully consolidate its leading position, the group is investing in the latest technology of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) at its sites in Europe and the United States. Production operations are being strengthened with a Speedmaster XL 106-8+L and a folding carton gluer in Switzerland, an XL 106-10-P+LYYL in the Czech Republic, and an XL 106-10-P+L in Camden in the United States. The group of companies already has no fewer than 42 Speedmaster XL 106 printing units in operation, with impressive results.

Faster, more flexible, and more productive – for special requirements and market launches

Joachim Hoeltz, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Packaging Materials, explains the investment decision in face of the current challenges as follows: ‘It’s all about being able to deliver whenever required, while also meeting customers’ exceptionally high requirements relating to quality and product safety. The latest generation of Speedmaster presses is therefore vital to make us even faster, more flexible, and more productive.’

For example, multinational pharmaceutical groups in particular have streamlined their value chain and are producing less to stock than they used to. This means orders – some amounting to only a few hundred sheets – are often subject to short delivery times of just two to five days, not to mention sector-specific demands such as protection against counterfeiting, complete traceability, and compliance with strict hygiene and process standards.

With at least eight printing units and equipped for mixed operation, the Speedmaster 2020 models combine enhanced agility with consistently high quality. This means Körber is able to meet the special requirements of international customers at short notice and on a uniform basis at all sites. What’s more, the virtually identical press configuration enables the sites to help each other out with global drug launches and peak loads.

Parallel makeready processes and intelligent assistance systems boost productivity

Another key consideration was minimising makeready work. The average job length in Switzerland is already less than 3,000 sheets, for example, and customers are also requesting ever more Pantone colors. ‘Features ranging from color and register control on the fly using Prinect Inpress Control to washing the inking units in parallel with other makeready processes or during production thanks to Hycolor Multidrive are delivering significant time and waste savings,’ reports Director Operations Giovanni De Luca.

Given that frequent job changes mean operators have less and less time to deal with increasingly complex tasks, De Luca considers one of the main advantages to be navigated printing. Intellistart 3 software calculates the quickest way of arriving at the next OK sheet, Intelliguide simulates the time-optimised workflow, and Intellirun shows operators which activities are required during production, according to the relevant situation. ‘Our staff no longer need to perform routine tasks and are also guided in their decisions. This improves their ability to actually achieve the impressive productivity the press is capable of and obtain a performance level of 18,000 sheets per hour more often,’ sums up De Luca. Straightforward handling also makes it easier to recruit and hold onto qualified, committed staff.

‘Heidelberg understands exactly what we need and translates this into pioneering solutions. The Speedmaster 2020 generation and innovative services such as online monitoring are perfect for helping us ensure we make all the difference when it comes to our customers’ value creation,’ emphasises Hoeltz.