Heidelberg Feeder Technology Earns PIA InterTech Technology Award
KENNESAW, GA—August 4, 2014–The Stahlfolder PFX Feeder was recognized for its success in extending the proven benefits of the stream feeder technology used in Heidelberg offset presses to the folding department. Heidelberg’s Stahlfolder PFX Feeder Technology promotes lean production, reduces overhead labor costs, and increases net output up to 50 percent, compared with conventional, cross-fold production. The PFX also yields a 50 percent reduction in feeder faults, even on wavy or curled stocks. The feeder also makes the machine much more ergonomically operator friendly and allows users to achieve the highest run speeds without adding a helper to the operation.
The new feeder separates sheets on the pallet and transports them onto the vacuum feed table in a shingled stream, a prerequisite for processing more sheets in the same amount of time. This improves the consistency of feeding, requires fewer stops, and increases the total number of sheets that can be folded during an eight-hour shift. It is impossible to achieve ultra-high-speed, stable production like this with a conventional feed table. The new PFX feeder can be run in single mode or in shingled mode on the infeed. Heidelberg’s traditional TH parallel folder and KH knife folder typically run in single mode. Heidelberg’s high-performance TX parallel folder with twin pneumatic side lay (“frog fold”) employ the shingled mode. J.S. McCarthy Printers (Augusta, ME) became the first U.S. company to install a Stahlfolder KH-82 folder with PFX feeder last year. Said Vice President Jon Tardiff, “We’re doing 32-page signatures at 10,000 cycles per hour, and 16-page signatures at 14,000 cycles per hour, compared with 4500-5000 signatures per hour on the manual folder we replaced.” At this rate, he calculated, “We expect to do 20-25 million signatures a year on the new machine.”
Do the Math
According to Heidelberg, the return-on-investment becomes easy to justify when a printer can manufacture 40-50 percent more sheets per shift. A given company also can save about 275 square feet of space per machine it no longer needs, or $2,750 per month. The overhead labor cost per shift for an operator and helper— roughly $75,000 annually—would be significantly reduced by the need for just a single operator. The reduction of intermediate storage of space for printed material is approximately 96 square feet previously needed to accommodate 12 skids of paper. For here, it’s a simple matter to calculate the overall savings that can be realized from these gains in efficiency.