On the Road: Heidelberg Reveals Future Direction, Product Strategy
Advantages of Anicolor Inking Units
During the three days spent with Heidelberg, Plenz and other executives pointed out the productivity and cost advantages of using Anicolor inking technology for producing shorter runs. These benefits include 90 percent fewer waste sheets, 50 percent less makeready time, ease of operation, and consistent, even ink application, without ghosting. Some Anicolor press users are selling the 10th sheet, Plenz contended. More than 1,000 SM 52 Anicolor units have been sold. And, introduced at drupa, the 29˝ Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor press will be in full serial production early next year, with a UV model available by the end of 2014.
Two customer tours highlighted the advantages of Anicolor technology. Drucken 123, in Aschaffenburg, Germany, is a quick-turnaround commercial print shop that runs a five-color Speedmaster SX 52 with Anicolor and coater, along with a Linoprint C751 digital press. Owner Markus Müller noted the critical importance of hybrid production flexibility when focusing on short-run work.
A second customer visit to Druckerei Reuffurth GmbH, in Mühlheim am Main, showed a larger commercial print shop. Owner Hans Reuffurth said his high-end company has been a beta site for Heidelberg's Prinect Inpress Control and most recently for a six-color Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor press. With Inpress and Anicolor, press operators do not have to make adjustments, he added. Reuffurth says he made Heidelberg his vendor of choice due to its complete workflow and equipment offerings.
Still, in the U.S., digital presses have been supplanting offset press demand. Heidelberg now offers digital presses in the form of its Linoprint C and Linoprint L printers (Ricoh and CSAT products). Plenz, however, was dismissive of some of the industry hype surrounding digital printing, especially sheetfed inkjet output devices.
"The U.S. is definitely the market with the biggest portion of digital presses, but there are so many printers out there losing money with digital devices," he contended, adding that many shops acquired digital gear because they thought they had to, but have not been making money with them. He said only 5 percent of short-run jobs require personalized printing and that transpromotional printing is being supplanted by the Internet, despite the early hype. Plenz also feels that much personalization today can best be done during the postpress stage.