Heidelberg and speed…

For a couple of you that are good at printing with a Heidelberg.

Imagine the project is printing three parts of a letterhead project - letterhead, envelope, and business cards. Letterhead and envelope are on the same stock, but only printing on the front of the envelope (just say it is only two thickness of paper and don’t worry about the foldover parts). Business card stock is much heavier.

Each piece prints in the same two colors.

Would you print all of the first color adjusting for changes in stock thickness and then print all of the second color or

would do all of the letterhead then all of the envelopes then all of the business cards, cleaning the press between each one.

Now comes the question I really want to ask.

Assuming it is the first option (complete one color at a time) with just a rough estimate, how long will it take you to adjust the press and do the makeready between the stock changes.

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I think cleaning the press takes a lot longer than adjusting makeready and adding packing. Maybe you can do your makeready in such a way that you can re-use it for the second color?

How I would run
first color letterhead - buscard - envelope.
second color envelope. - buscard - letterhead
This is just my humble opinion
Ted Lavin - Artificer Press

I’m also still looking for that “HOW LONG” part of the question.

Estimate some number of minutes.

10 minutes tops if you are talking to your mates while setting up. Less for the second color. Assume no envelope make ready and fairly even ink coverage.

A good washup blade on a windmill should clean a press in a minute or two. Running up new ink might take a minute. Makeready can be fiddly, depending on where the envelope gets the ink.

If you have a good washup blade yes you can clean the press fast, but a dark color will linger in the rollers affecting the next color, especially black. Which is why you should run the lighter color first in this case. I would also agree that running all of the pieces of the job in the same color would be easiest, in the manner Ted spoke of, hopefully being able to reuse the make ready’s. Depending on the type of plates, polymer with adhesive or steel backing, you can mark your bunting base with pencil where crop marks are located to help speed up the alignment process. Given your Heidelberg can print using the guides with pinpoint registration you should have no problem with this. I have printed jobs like this in the past and that is the process I have used. Usually, if you are familiar with the thickness’s of the paper/envelopes you use, 10 minutes or less, usually less.


Cleaning the press doesnt take that long, nor does the make ready. I usually keep the same color on the press for each piece and then switch to the next. For me, it is the best way of keeping the color consistent throughout.

I still need to vist your shop! Maybe sometime this summer.

Re Glenn’s post. If you are not using crop marks I would print the first pass with the most image this ail help with making sure everything is straight on the sheet. It’s easier to do a thorough washup than dealing with a crooked image envelopes in particular. Again my opinion. Lesson learned the hard way
Ted Lavin - Artificer Press