Heliostar II – The latest generation of a successful gravure printing press

Heliostar II – The latest generation of a successful gravure printing press
The Heliostar II gravure printing press by Windmöller & Hölscher (Source: W&H)

Excellent print quality along with cost effective production are what gravure presses from Windmöller & Hölscher (W&H) stand for. This includes running at maximum speeds with quick make ready times. All of their machinery is focused on interconnectivity, efficiency, productivity and profitability to provide smooth production runs.

The Heliostar II is a gravure printing press that embodies W&H’s extensive experience and knowledge of manufacturing high class gravure presses and is the latest generation model of the hugely successful Heliostar. The latest generation Heliostar II was introduced to the market in 2020 and is available as models Heliostar II S and Heliostar II A.


The following Q&A session provides with some useful information about the Heliostar II gravure printing press.

How does this new press differ from the previous one?

The Heliostar II is a worthy upgrade to the widely successful Heliostar and was conceived with a view of achieving the highest print quality even at max rated speeds. The new features and functions allow the machine to be faster, more powerful, more accurate and a more efficient printing press. The machine is Packaging 4.0 ready with IoT integration.

With better ease of operation, greater flexibility and faster setup and changeover times, it is now the most advanced gravure press designed for the highest outputs and for more demanding substrates. A redesigned inking system for minimizing ink in circulation, improved Combicart trolley design for easier exchange of cylinder and/or inking systems and Supergrip rollers for better register accuracy even for challenging substrates makes the machine a powerhouse, generating greater economic benefits.

What does the machine do?

The Heliostar II is designed to deliver superior print quality at high speeds on a variety of materials including sensitive substrates like MDO-PE for sustainable packaging. The press provides fast and operator friendly changeovers along with fully integrated inspection and quality control systems. It features W&H’s cutting-edge register system, energy efficient drying systems and makes sustainable use of inks and substrates to minimize wastage, giving excellent printing results.

 What is the USP of the machine?

The major USPs of the machine include W&H’s Heliocontrol offering precise register accuracy even for low contrast inks and varnishes. Combined with Supergrip rollers, most accurate register can be achieved even with challenging substrates such as PE and the eco-friendly MDO-PE; The pre-register setting can be done rapidly and error free at the push of a button with Easy-Sync function; Equipped with individually driven inking rollers for perfect inking at all speeds; Powerful dryers guarantee high drying capacity and lowest residual solvents even at maximum output; The integrated Procontrol and Vision modules simplify machine operation and reduce setup times generating greater economic benefits.

What are the main target markets?

The machine caters to a variety of applications primarily targeting food and non-food flexible packaging. The machine is ideally suited for the Indian market for its compatibility to a wide range of inks and its capability to process both solvent and water-based inks, even with specialty applications such as cold seal, hot seal, gloss, matte and haptic lacquers.

What about technical specifications and suitable substrates?

The Heliostar offers a maximum of 12 print units, designed for printing widths of 800 mm to 1600 mm and a repeat range of 450 mm to 920 mm. The machine can handle a wide variety of substrates like film, foil, paper and laminates at running speeds of 400 m/min to 600 m/min. The machine can also handle challenging substrates like PE including sustainable substrates like MDO-PE.

What defines the user-friendly character of the machine?

The machine takes operator friendliness to the next level with its automation and inspection systems to enhance production efficiency. These systems include Vision, W&H’s fully integrated web monitoring and defect detection system for 100% high quality printing, the Easy module for quick register setting and integrated ink management system for better color consistency. All of this can be controlled and monitored from a single point of operation through the Procontrol touchscreen.

Which are the solutions to improve health and safety of the operator?

In the standard configuration, each printing station is fitted with standard LEL sensors to increase fire safety; Noise dampers to reduce noise level down to 78 dB(A); The machine is designed for easy accessibility for maintenance and operations.

What training and support are on offer?

With 400+ service technicians available worldwide and 45+ highly qualified technicians in India, customers can be rest assured of timely services right from planning and commissioning to complete life cycle of the machine. W&H Academy offers both online and on-site trainings to customers, conducts events to regularly address the latest industry and development trends and provides practice-oriented consulting to individual problems and challenges.

Which are the main W&H services available with the machine?

Quick and effective troubleshooting directly on site using original spare parts. 24/7 hotline service supported by experienced specialists. Identification and fault rectification through direct online remote access to the machine also available worldwide 24/7.