St Paul’s Church of England Primary School
Caring for all. Growing with God

Year 6 group visits Heidelberg Graphic Equipment Ltd


A group of Year 6 children visited Heidelberg last Thursday to learn how the prepress and commercial printing works.  The image is built up using additive colours – cyan (a type of blue), magenta (a type of red), yellow and black.  All the other colours are made using these four colours to produce the final image.  The machines use lithography to print.  Very thin metal plates are created, which are loaded onto the printing press. Damping rollers are used inside the machine.  Lithography works on the basis that water and oil don’t mix.  Each print is made up of millions of tiny dots of the four colours (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). The layering of the dots makes all the other colours (for example, yellow and cyan make green). The children used a magnifying glass to see the tiny dots on an image.  As one child wrote afterwards: “All the colours mixed together make the big picture!”

The children were shown a commercial printing press in operation.  A Venetian mask created by one of the children at home was photographed, converted to pdf and then printed in a printing press called the ‘Speedmaster XL75’. The printing press can print 5 sheets per second, which means 300 sheets per minute and 18,000 per hour.  The children watched in awe as 500 sheets of AS2 paper were printed.

The children had prepared some questions to ask on their visit.  They discovered that Heidelberg is a German company founded in 1850 and that Heidelberg in Brentford is a showroom for selling commercial printing presses.  Customers from all over the world visit the showroom in Brentford on open days.  The customers watch a prepress and printing demonstration (similar to what the children experienced) to decide if they want to purchase the million pound printing presses. 

The children and teachers had a fascinating time.  We would like to thank Heidelberg for a wonderful trip.

Year 6 group visits Heidelberg Graphic Equipment Ltd
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