By working with a number of partners and focusing on inkjet technology, Heidelberg is looking to develop new digital solutions for industrial commercial and packaging printing. The strategy – “Synerjetix” – stands for the joint development of industrialized inkjet production systems to enable printers to offer high-end, creative applications with reliable machinery that meets proven Heidelberg quality standards.
“We see inkjet technology as a driver for new applications inside and outside our industry,” explained Stephan Plenz, member of the management board responsible for Heidelberg Equipment. “That’s why we are combining our know-how with that of our partners, and creating well-integrated systems. First and foremost, we want to work with our partners to improve the quality of inkjet applications and thereby increase our customers’ confidence in this technology.”
The first technology presentation is planned for this fall, when a label printing press that combines flexographic and inkjet printing will be unveiled as a cost-effective solution for producing short runs and customized labels. The new development comprises a digital inline printing system based on inkjet technology from Fujifilm, which is integrated into a label printing press from Gallus.
“Today, just 5% of all labels are printed digitally,” said Jason Oliver, head of the Digital business unit at Heidelberg. “However, the demands for customized, cost-effective, and versatile printing solutions in this market segment are growing. We are working with our partners Fujifilm and Gallus to present a solution that will meet these demands perfectly. Applications for industrial commercial printing will follow in the next stage.”
In parallel with this development, Heidelberg and Fujifilm have initiated a joint project to develop new highly productive inkjet-based digital printing systems for use in commercial and packaging printing markets. Although digital printing based on electrophotography has come of age, industrialized ink jet systems for high-quality, high-productivity sheetfed applications are only now beginning to emerge.
The Jetmaster Dimension from Heidelberg is bringing a new solution to the market that enables customized printing on three-dimensional objects. As a result, the company plans to drive new levels of cost efficiency, flexibility and productivity in customized design options for mass-produced articles. Heidelberg has already found its first user in one of Europe’s leading online print shops, flyeralarm. Starting this fall, flyeralarm is planning to print standard sports balls in line with customer requirements and market them through its Web portal.
When it comes to industrial production processes, manufacturers want a quick and cost-efficient way to apply customized messages, type designations, and batch numbers. Usually, these features are added right at the end of production, need to be of good quality, and also have to be applied to a whole range of products. At present, meeting all these requirements still requires a separate process step away from the production line.
Inkjet printing offers the ideal solution, as it can deliver high-quality results in a wide spectrum of colors on a broad variety of surfaces, without having to come into contact with the product. The Jetmaster Dimension from Heidelberg is an integrated solution that enables users to print high-quality, customized motifs cost-effectively on all sorts of items, with the option of multicolor printing soon to be added. The type of surface that is being printed determines the most suitable print head and ink.
Heidelberg customers are already benefiting from digital printing and software solutions that originally grew from in-house projects or collaborations and have undergone consistent development. For example, Heidelberg is now entering its fourth year in its strategic partnership with the Japanese company Ricoh. Heidelberg offers the highly developed digital printing systems from Ricoh under the names Linoprint C 901 and Linoprint C 751. The systems support customers in combined digital-offset applications and short run printing and can be integrated into the Prinect print shop workflow via the Prinect Digital Print Manager. With more than 400 Linoprint C digital printing systems already sold worldwide, Heidelberg has highlighted its expertise as the only conventional press manufacturer in the industry to successfully market integrated digital and offset applications.
“The three-year partnership with Ricoh has been an all out success,” noted Oliver. “When it comes to digital printing, we now have a global sales and service network through which we can expand our market options. Customers who have bought solutions from our Linoprint C range are tapping into new value-added business opportunities, such as hybrid applications that utilize both offset and digital technologies in combination.”