Heidelberg Clarifies Direction
With Eastman Kodak's recent acquisition of Scitex Digital Printing, some industry watchers predict that Eastman Kodak may buy out all or part of Heidelberg's stake in NexPress, with Heidelberg continuing to maintain a sales and service role.
Citing the need to remain a player in digital printing on one hand, Schreier also pointed to the high development costs associated with its NexPress (color) and Digimaster (black-and-white) lines. "We cannot provide a broad line of digital equipment in the future on our own for production and development," he noted. "We will maintain all of our capabilities in selling and supporting our customers. But (regarding manufacturing and R&D), there will be more developments in other camps."
He stressed that Heidelberg will continue to support NexPress machines. However, with the growing market demand for digital color, Schreier questioned the future market potential for black-and-white devices.
He also attempted to ease any fears existing Heidelberg customers might have about the future of the company. "One message is very important: There will be few changes in the product portfolio today and in one year from now. We will still provide customers entire solutions; but not everything will be produced from Heidelberg. We will produce only what we can do best.
"We may have put production and engineering of (web and digital presses) in question, but not the products or sales and service," he added.
Heidelberg also used the occasion to showcase new enhancements to the Speedmaster 102 and CD 102 presses (see new products, page 54), which will debut at the Drupa exhibition in May.