Heidelberg Ramping Up for Debut of VLF Presses
PI: With the new press offerings, how much retraining will be necessary for existing Heidelberg service technicians and installers? Is that much of an issue?
SCHREIER: Technicians who can service an XL 105 press will also be able to service the XL 142 and XL 162. Clearly, there will be some special features on the very-large-format presses that they’ll have to learn and be trained about. But the fundamentals, the platforms, the technology, the controls—all of this is fundamentally taken from the XL 105 and incorporated into the 142 and 162.
PI: Do you see packaging applications as the biggest market for VLF presses?
SCHREIER: No, I wouldn’t say biggest. Our estimation is that it will be a 50/50 split between the packaging market and the commercial printing market because VLF provides an enormous productivity increase if you have the right set of orders in-house. All work isn’t suited for a very-large-format press.
We develop calculation tools for customers. We sit down with a client and look at his last three to six months of order intake to analyze what his order structure looks like. From that, we can clearly calculate what kind of presses would be more profitable for him. Not from a speed or quality standpoint, but more productivity- and money-wise. The customer can clearly see what his results would be with just operating 40˝ presses vs. having a combination of press sizes.
PI: Do you see VLF press users as being mostly crossover shops—those doing both commercial and packaging work?
SCHREIER: No, it will be a mixture. Those who do commercial work generally don’t just run very-large-format presses. They also have 40˝ presses. For example, they may even have a 20˝ press outputting covers for a book and then printing the book itself on a very-large-format press. Commercial printers offer a variety of products to fulfill their customers’ needs.