Heidelberg vs. Kluge - Foil Stamping

Hi ladies and gentlemen!

Sooo, I’m looking to get a foil stamping press for my little shop.

I have an option of purchasing either a Heidelberg or Kluge for about the same price.

Please consider that I already own Heidelberg, but without a foil stamping unit. So I’m thinking that maybe I should be as consistent with my machinery as possible, but I have an old-timer that swears up and down that a Kluge is the way to go.

I’ve never met a machine I didn’t like, but I don’t know what the learning curve of a Kluge would be.

There are some wonderful people already from this website who have offered to come down and show me the Kluge for the price of a plane ticket and some lodging, but now I have the luxury of choice on machinery.

Any thoughts, anyone?

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You will be able to run jobs on a Kluge that would be a miserable task on a Heidelberg. A Kluge will also have greater foil capacity (bigger rolls). If you go with the 12 x 18 Kluge, you will also have significantly more impressional strength to work with. Even though I’ve have very little experience with a Kluge, it would be the foil press I would prefer.

Yes go with the Kluge.

combining foil with very good registration, you will want the kluge. some things may seem a little more basic than the ‘berg, but the impression strength alone will sell you on this press. the feeding capabilities, you will find, and still register irregular shapes is pretty cool.

Docs Coffee,

I have owned and run both machines (and others) over the last 30 years. They both have desirable characteristics. The windmill is generally fast and easy to set up, feeds well and runs faster than the older Kluges. I have run my windmill at up to a running speed of 3,600 imp while foiling with excellent registration. There are size limitations to the 10 x 15 and the gripper/side guide of the project must be oriented to fit the machine. There is a limitation on the size of the roll of foil you can run on the standard setup (about 250 feet) because of the mounting area below the platen. This necessitates frequent and time consuming foil changes. The foil also needs to be on a 1/2 inch core rather than the standard 1 inch core.

I have bypassed this limitation on my present machine by custom building a side to side foil pull system and I can run up to a 2,000+ roll of foil with very tight tolerance on the pull. However you would need to be willing to cut off the roller arms or have a late machine where the rollers lock up out of the way of the foil stream.

The Kluge will also run consistently when set up correctly and gives the advantage of a larger platen area but generally runs slower than the windmill. It also allows for guiding the sheets on either side and thus the ability to run a true work and turn layout. I have not run into issues of impressional strength with either machine whether foil stamping or embossing but
most projects going on this size machine have relatively small coverage areas. If you are worried about foil coverage areas or sheet size you should look at a late model EHD. I have also owned a Heidelberg 20 x 28 cylinder press which I converted to foil stamping with a Gold Boss unit and it was the best foiling machine I have owned because the rolling action of the cylinder pushed the gases out ahead of the foil as it was laid on the substrate.

I have found that taking someone who is new to foiling and training them to be independent operators takes about two years. This is because of the time it takes to run enough projects for the operator to see many different foil/substrate/coverage scenarios to be able to judge how to set up the press using the correct heat setting, foil release and packing (hard,soft,in between) to realize the best results possible. I have found over the years that producing these projects is very rewarding from an artistic/craft perspective, especially a well executed multi-level embossed image.

@mikefrommontana - Are you psychic? The Kluge for sale is indeed 12 x 18!

@pjphoto181 - Thanks for taking the time, your response was very thoughtful and detail orientated. It really means a lot to me, and surely to any other reader who wondered about comparing the two.

I think a two-year learning curve seems reasonable enough… I’m patient enough to realize that every job is different, each with their own nuances and unique problems.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this post! Your input is invaluable and appreciated. :-)

In this regard, it seems that the Kluge is the way to go. However, I still have some time before my purchase, and I would appreciate any other opinions from the Briar Press community (whether you’re a master printer, nube, or salty old dog :-D).

I’ll post photos when I receive the press.

unless you are running your ‘Berg 24/7 why buy the same machine with same limitations

Kluge set up for foil & embossing (twin to kluge I print with)

image: 20150523_110835_resized_resized.jpg


image: 20150523_110835_resized.jpg


Yeah, it seems like it makes more sense to diversify than to duplicate your equipment, probably. I learned to foil on Kluges before I learned to print on windmills, and I have to say that the presses have a lot in common, so your learning curve shouldn’t be too bad as far as basic operation goes.

As pjphoto181 noted, it’s all the variables of foil type, substrate, form size and line weight, etc. combined with heat and impression that takes a lot of time to learn, so if you can start out by always running the same stock and the same foil at first, that will cut out a lot of the initial difficulty and allow you to learn at a pace which allows you to turn out good work while you’re learning; branch out to new substrates and new foil types when you have the luxury of time and experimentation.

I’m a total Kluge fan and will watch to see the photos when you get it! Jealous. :)