Heidelberg Ramping Up for Debut of VLF Presses
SCHREIER: If you were to ask printers five years ago, ‘why aren’t you printing in a large format?’ in most of the cases the answers would be that they couldn’t print the same quality on a very-large-format press that they could achieve on a 40˝ press, for example. Since that time, though, the capabilities of computer-to-plate (CTP) have grown enormously. The manipulation you can do to a plate on a CTP device today compared to what you could do five years ago is completely different.
So, with today’s prepress/press combination, we are more much flexible than years before. For instance, the fanout of a large sheet on a very-large-format press can be compensated for in platemaking today, which was not the case in former times except by stretching the plate or things like that. Today, you can do this all electronically.
Heidelberg will also set a new standard for VLF machines, both quality- and productivity-level wise. If you think back over the decades, Heidelberg never was first to market. We weren’t the first in inventing offset; we came late into the offset process. We were not the first ones to have a double cylinder system. We came late, but we made it more productive than other press manufacturers. So, in general, we are a fast follower.
But we are producing more in volume than the others did before us because we try to do things better. Therefore, I wouldn’t say we are late. I would say we arrived at the right time to meet the quality and productivity requirements for our customers today.
PI: Printers often like to stick with one manufacturer. You have a good shot at selling existing Heidelberg customers entering the VLF market for the first time. But how about those printers that have already invested in a couple of large-format KBAs or Rolands? How will Heidelberg approach these people?