Heidelberg USA President Reflects on drupaJune 8, 2012
PI: Benny Landa’s new Nanographic Printing process captured a lot of the headlines during drupa. Heidelberg was one of three sheetfed lithographic press manufacturers, so far, to have announced licensing agreements to incorporate this digital offset technology. What is Heidelberg's time line for a new press design based on Nanography and how significant to do think it will be to your company’s digital printing product portfolio?
Weimer: Heidelberg’s offerings in short-run color now include our family of Linoprint C solutions for commercial applications, and our line of VUTEk and Rastek wide-format inkjet printers. Linoprint L is our digital inkjet solution for label printing. While we are not prepared to specify a timeline for the joint development and production of a Nanographic Printing solution at the present time, we are very excited to have undertaken this partnership and will have more to say on the topic soon.
PI: With the launch of the Speedmaster XL 75 with Anicolor inking unit technology moving up to the 29˝ format size, what are the advantages of this press series for very-short-run printing in comparison with short-run digital printing presses that are available in the market?
Weimer: Our Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor is unique. As the short-run color solution, it stands out by virtue of its extremely fast makeready, outstanding print quality, and dramatically lower waste. Keep in mind: referring to the last Digital Service Study from NAPL, three-quarters of pages printed on digital devices are static—this is the sweet spot for our Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor.
An Anicolor press not only reaches the break-even point against digital at around 200 sheets, but it also achieves cost-effective, high-quality results over longer runs too, due to consistent inking and low ink cost. So you could legitimately say that Anicolor technology combines some digital advantages with the best of the offset world in terms of quality, makeready, and format size.
PI: As evidenced at drupa, advancements in digital printing are creating much of the buzz in the industry. Yet, as you know, the vast majority of printed pages still are being produced by the offset process. What would you say to a customer who is torn between installing a Heidelberg offset press that will provide many years of service vs. leasing digital printing equipment that can be upgraded as product improvements occur?
Weimer: The economics of the printing business today dictate that any planned investment should yield improved efficiency, reduced costs and maximum profit potential. We would always encourage printers to look past the prevailing hype and focus on their individual run lengths, job mix, and business needs to determine the best possible solution.
Quite often, we have found that when a clear, data-driven analysis is applied to a printer’s capital investment plans, the right choice turns out to be something entirely different from—and more cost-effective than—what the printer originally may have envisioned.
PI: Like several of your competitors, Heidelberg emphasized package printing production at drupa, such as the introduction of your Speedmaster XL 106 press. What advice can you give commercial print shops that are trying to diversify into the package printing market?
Weimer: For commercial printers eying the packaging market, we would point out that Heidelberg is the only industry supplier to offer a variety of packaging solutions on more than one platform and in every format, from the Speedmaster XL 106, Speedmaster CX 102, XL VLF and Anicolor presses, to a range of diecutting and folding and gluing machines, including our end-to-end packaging production workflow. In short, Heidelberg offers everything a printer needs to optimize production and grow its business. We believe that any printer or converter that avails itself of Heidelberg’s single-source advantage will enjoy a significant competitive edge.