Heidelberg Ramping Up for Debut of VLF Presses

SCHREIER: When producing 400 to 600 units a year, which means one to two units a day, you cannot talk about mass production. It will be very specialized assembly. These very-large-format presses will not be a standard product; there will be many options available for special applications. Customers who buy such a big and expensive device seek customization—straight presses, perfecting presses, 4-color, 8-color or 10-color capabilities, presses equipped with or without UV, and on-press varnishing, as examples.

PI: Which options will be available initially?

SCHREIER: We want to get out into the market with both straight and perfecting presses. Straight presses will come first and perfecting models shortly thereafter. In the end, we will offer a full range, which is necessary to satisfy the current needs of our customers.

PI: Do you foresee a VLF model being offered with the double coater option, as well?

SCHREIER: We will offer all of the options that will be on the XL 105 because there will be no limitations for the very large format. The question is only when. I cannot tell you today if it will be in 2009-2010 but, say in five years from now, there will be the full range available also for the VLF presses. There is a clear demand within the industrialized countries—our target regions of Central Europe, Western Europe and the United States—for maximum productivity. We need a high level of efficiency increase and this can be done with larger formats. Knowing the quality and productivity that very-large-format presses are now able to deliver, Heidelberg knew it had to become a player because that market will be a major part of the future of printing in the industrial countries.

PI: Why did Heidelberg wait until now to enter the VLF sheetfed press market? Why didn’t you do this years ago like some of your competitors, KBA and MAN Roland, for example?

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