Canon Europe is enhancing customers’ capability to deliver high-value, variable content applications, such as premium direct mail and marketing collateral, personalised catalogues, brochures and books, with the Océ ProStream 1000 continuous feed inkjet press. Since the product was launched in 2017, customers have embraced the Océ ProStream 1000’s superior inkjet productivity and offset-like print quality, with seven customer placements in EMEA. The press is meeting these progressive print service providers’ demands for higher quality and improved media choice for sustained high-volume digital production.
The Océ ProStream’s native 1200dpi Océ DigiDot piezoelectric drop-on-demand print head technology enables optimal offset-like print quality. The press uses the Océ ColorGrip solution, an inline paper conditioning step which supports customers with printing on a broad range of media including standard offset coated and uncoated papers. This makes it possible to integrate ProStream within a hybrid digital/offset production environment for maximum flexibility.
Eversfrank Group, a leading German provider of print, media and marketing services, has successfully expanded its digital print on demand operation with investments in two Océ ProStream 1000 presses. This has enabled the company to make its printed products more efficient by delivering the premium print quality expected by clients, matched with high production volumes and sophisticated variable data capability.
Since the installation of the Océ ProStream printers, the company has enhanced its offering of individualised ‘programmatic’ direct mail and catalogue covers, delivering a measurable uplift in response rates for its brand customers. With the high productivity of the Océ ProStream 1000 and supporting digital workflow, Eversfrank Group can now meet turnaround times as short as 24 hours, enabling customers to send highly effective personalised direct mail in the same timeframe it would take them to trigger an e-shot.
Ipskamp Printing in Enschede, The Netherlands, a specialist in printing and binding books, brochures and manuals, has also invested in the Océ ProStream 1000, enabling the company to significantly reduce lead times and increase productivity without affecting quality.With the Océ ProStream 1000, supported by highly automated online ordering systems, IpskampPrinting can produce and deliver tailor-made books and manuals in just 48 hours.
Producing in excess of 150 million magazines and books a year, Grafica Veneta in Padua, Italy, wanted to reduce printing times and warehousing costs and offer competitive prices without compromising offset quality. Grafica Veneta installed the Océ ProStream 1000 in 2017, impressed by its remarkable 80 metre per minute production speed and high offset-like quality in full colour on matte and glossy paper. Grafica Veneta’s ProStream is driven by Océ PRISMAproduction, which is linked into the company’s management information system to achieve close workflow integration, from the digital file input through to the printed book, with the highest degree of automation.
Peter Wolff, Vice President PPP EMEA Commercial Printing, commented, ‘When we introduced the Océ ProStream 1000 into the market, we were confident that it could enable customers to successfully migrate high-value work from offset to inkjet and exploit the full creative potential of variable data printing within multi-channel promotional campaigns. It’s clear from the positive customer feedback that the Océ ProStream is meeting both their expectations and ours, delivering high-value personalised applications at exceptional quality with extremely high productivity.’
Visitors attending Hunkeler Innovationdays 2019 in Lucerne, Switzerland were able to see new enhancements to the Océ ProStream that help to increase growth opportunities for their customers. The press will be demonstrated live producing applications such as posters and magazines, while other applications including mass-customised mailers will also be on display. The Océ VarioPrint i300 cutsheet inkjet press and the Canon imagePRESS C10000VP sheetfed toner printer were also shown to showcase Canon’s breadth of digital print solutions, helping customers to extend their current offering by producing higher value applications.
The results of the 2018 International Coastal Clean-up, which took place on Saturday, 15 September 2018, have been released. ‘For more than two decades, thousands of South African volunteers have been joining the rest of the world on the third Saturday of September to remove, collect and document the litter from our country’s coastlines.
‘During the 2018 event, 19 563 volunteers collected 241 425 items nationally in audited clean-ups that took place along the country’s 2500km long coastline,’ reported John Kieser, Sustainability Manager of Plastics SA and Western Cape ICC coordinator of this annual event. (Although this is the official figure, many more volunteers and kilograms of litter were removed at unaudited clean-ups that took place throughout South Africa and throughout the month of September.)
According to Kieser, the most recent results showed that broken down plastic pieces, foam pieces, cigarette butts, bottle caps, food wrappers (such as chip packets and sweet wrappers), glass pieces, beverage bottles, straws and lolly sticks continue to be the biggest pollutants on our country’s beaches.
Asthma pumps were the most prolific medical items found in the three Cape provinces, whilst in KwaZulu-Natal (especially in urban clean-ups), it was disposable syringes. ‘The main cause of litter on our beaches and in the marine environment, is irresponsible human behaviour. The improper disposal of waste and a lack of waste management infrastructure are the two biggest issues that need to be addressed and corrected,’ he stressed. Kieser added that the increase in the amount of disposable diapers found illegally dumped (especially around informal settlements) was another area of concern, whilst nationally, approximately 2,5km of rope/string and 2,8km of monofilament line (fishing line) were also removed from our beaches.
Through its active involvement each year, the plastics and packaging industry has proven that its concern for marine litter is not just an awareness project, but a driving passion that transforms actions into words. However, its work is not only limited to one day or one month of the year. Instead, several weeks are spent on pre-event logistics (such as distributing bags, gloves and other support material) to ensure that the material reaches the 400 co-ordinators nationwide and that South Africa’s involvement in the International Coastal Clean-up takes place without a hitch.
‘Without the commitment and involvement of our partners, last year’s event would not have been possible. In a time of harsh economic conditions, when companies find themselves having to rethink supporting projects such as these, it is encouraging to see the continued commitment from large corporates such as Plastics SA, Dow, Sasol, Coca-Cola, Kelpak, Pick n Pay, Toyota Algoa Bay, UNITRANS, PETCO (PET Recycling Company), POLYCO (Polyolefin Recycling Company), SAVA (SA Vinyls Association), the Polystyrene Association of SA, Tuffy Manufacturing, Woolworths, the National Recycling Forum, the Glass Recycling Company, the Paper Recycling Association of SA, Metpac-SA, Tetrapak, ROSE Foundation, Department of Environmental Affairs, Ocean Conservancy and the African Marine Waste Network,’ Kieser said.
Interesting statistics from the 2018 International Coastal Clean-up:
4300kms were covered to distribute material and arrange logistics over a four-week period.
50 000 refuse bags were distributed during September 2018
10 800 pairs of gloves provided
80 plastic buckets and 85 garden rakes provided by Addis
‘It is encouraging to see how each year’s International Coastal Clean-up continues to grow in the amount of volunteers participating, but also the amount of beach clean-ups which are being initiated and driven by communities and volunteers. These community efforts have a domino-effect as they not only highlight the growing need for groups to sort material for recycling purposes, improved waste management systems and more recycling facilities to be established around the country, but ultimately result in less litter ending up in our oceans,’ Kieser concluded.
At Propak Africa 2019 held visitors will see live label production across ROTOCON three stands B10, B13 and B14 in hall 7. Labels will be printed on Screen’s Truepress Jet L350UV+ and finished on two ROTOCON Ecoline brand finishing machines: the RDF 330 digital label converting and RSI 330 slitter rewinder with inspection. Wink’s SmartGap Touch digital adjustable anvil cylinder for die-cutting will also be featured.
‘Propak Africa is the ideal setting to show South African label printers and converters the full circle of solutions ROTOCON offers,’ said Michael Aengenvoort, owner of ROTOCON. ‘We invested in three stands at the show to present a true label production environment from print to finish with Screen and our Ecoline machines, and to also showcase the industry brands we represent in machinery and consumables.’
The Screen Truepress Jet L350UV+ series UV inkjet press features flexible and automated label production with photo quality reproduction, integrated and automated workflow, accomodation of a wide range of substrates, 60 meters per minute printing speed, innovative chill roller for thin substrates and 95 per cent uptime in daily production.
For digital label converting and finishing, the ROTOCON Ecoline RDF 330 balances quality with cost competitiveness and is custom-built according to label printers’ needs. Its UV ink system supports printing on any media, while the servo-driven rotary cutting and laminating unit finishes reel-to-reel printed stock to the highest quality standards.
Propak Africa visitors also have the chance to win three valuable prizes in ROTOCON’s lucky draw held at the conclusion of the show. First prize is a Nespresso coffee machine, second prize is a weekend for two in a four-star guest house in Cape Town (double room/B&B) and third prize is an Apple iPad mini. Draw details will be available on ROTOCON’s three stands.
With a literal interpretation of its show theme ‘Join the Experience’, Mimaki Europe invited Salon C!Print visitors to participate in its celebrations of Mimaki France’s 10th anniversary throughout the show. Fun activities – including a wind tunnel for the more adventurous – and prize giveaways on the Mimaki stand at Salon C!Print in Lyon.
Mimaki also showcased the extensive business-enhancing applications possible with its range of sign graphics, industrial products and textiles and apparel printers, and participate, as a partner, in the show’s PLUG&PLAY area. A space dedicated to trends, innovation and experimentation, Mimaki’s small format LED UV UJF-MKII printer enabled visitors to personalise their own products, envisioning their latest campaign or opting for something more personal.
‘Our aim was to inspire visitors at C!Print with applications that are relevant to them and their businesses, but also stimulate new ideas. Mimaki has an incredibly comprehensive range of printers so there’s something there to suit all requirements,’ stated Danna Drion, Marketing Manager, Mimaki Europe. ‘From our unique four-layer technology for backlit signage to five-layer printing for printing on both sides of a transparent substrate to various promotional items, and home décor, Mimaki really does have something for everyone!’
Mimaki had seven printers in operation at the exhibition, with highlights including:
Mimaki UCJV300-75 – The UV integrated printer/cutter for sign and graphics features a white ink capability. It uniquely enables four-layer printing, ideal for creating transformative graphics for backlit applications, and five-layer printing for producing different designs on both sides of the substrate simultaneously, perfect for transparent film.
Mimaki UJF-7151plus – A high accuracy, direct-to-object UV flatbed printer with a maximum print size of 710mm x 510mm. This state-of-the-art high quality and high-performance printer is ideal for wide range of promotional products, ID cards and personalized gifts. Mimaki TS55-1800 – Mimaki’s latest dye sublimation printer is ideal for interior fabrics, sports and fashion apparel, flags and tapestries. Offering continuous operation, this printer is designed for users that demand high productivity and high-quality print. Featuring a plotter roll for small runs or a mini jumbo roll for long runs, the TS55-1800 Series has the flexibility to adapt to changing business needs.
‘Wee also took time at the show to mark the ten-year milestone since we established our Mimaki France office in Paris. The facility represents Mimaki’s ongoing commitment to the French market and a determination to ensure each market is supported with first-rate local service. Mimaki is not only a specialist in added value technology, but in customer support too,’ Drion concluded.
For more information about products and services from Mimaki, visit www.mimakieurope.com.
When talking with customers and partners alike, productivity and security led the conversation throughout 2018. Now that 2019 is here, the conversation is taking a new turn thanks to the introduction of key enhancements to Xerox’s popular AltaLink multifunction printers (MFPs).
Xerox recently announced that new, free, software enhancements are available for the AltaLink Workplace Assistants enabled with ConnectKey Technology. These enhancements are good news for businesses of all sizes who will now be able to monitor critical security settings and automatically reset unauthorized changes, a proactive step in stemming security breaches. Plus, a new intuitive user experience gives workers more ways to customise everyday tasks – maximising time and improving productivity.
IT administrators are all too familiar with the way that accidental changes to security settings by non-security staff can lead to breaches. With AltaLink’s new Configuration Watchdog, administrators can ensure devices stay configured to their defined security policies in order to safeguard critical business data without external monitoring. And, they can monitor compliance requirements of up to eight security settings.
‘Cybersecurity threats are becoming more sophisticated and so is Xerox’s response,’ said Dr. Alissa J. Abdullah, chief information security officer, Xerox. ‘We take a proactive approach to device, data and document security that puts organisations on the offensive when it comes to threat detection and response.’
For additional protection, the AltaLink MFPs include support for ThinPrint print management software, featuring end-to-end encryption, as well as efficient compression and streaming of print data, delivering faster output speeds. With an intuitive user experience, AltaLink Workplace Assistants make completing daily tasks faster and easier with three new features:
Customisable home screen: enables walk-up, touchscreen re-ordering of apps and features for frequency of use to place most popular ones at the top for easy access.
1-Touch App: simplifies complicated and lengthy workflows by creating shortcuts, such as scanning to e-mail without typing an e-mail address or creating booklets with a single touch; these 1-Touch Apps can be cloned and shared among multiple devices.
Fleet Orchestrator: automatically deploys software upgrades and tedious configuration changes across multiple devices. A single device, designated as the host, securely shares updates with the remaining fleet, reducing device downtime and manual IT intervention.
Key feature enhancements like these help ensure our customers’ AltaLink Workplace Assistants tackle today’s evolving workplace challenges, and stay ready for the future.
Heidelberg is looking to further improve its market position in the growing packaging printing segment by taking its long-standing sales partnership with Masterwork Group Co., Ltd. (Masterwork), China’s largest manufacturer of die-cutters and hot-foil embossing machines, to a whole new level. Based in the Chinese city of Tianjin, Masterwork is to obtain around 8.5 per cent of the Heidelberg share capital under a cash capital increase from authorised capital excluding shareholder subscription rights. The implementation of such capital measure is subject to approval by Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG’s supervisory board.
The proposed capital increase provides the opportunity for Heidelberg to acquire a further strategic anchor shareholder with a long-term investment horizon as well as to strengthen its equity. Subject to approval by the relevant bodies on both sides and the Chinese authorities, the capital measure should provisionally take place by the end of the first calendar quarter of 2019. The issue price of the new shares is set to be EUR2.68. If the market price significantly outstrips the envisaged issue price, this will be renegotiated in line with statutory requirements. The funds Heidelberg generates with the capital increase are to be used to accelerate its digital agenda (digitizing products, processes, and business models, for example) and for general business financing. Masterwork supports the Heidelberg strategy and is demonstrating its clear commitment to long-term collaboration. Heidelberg is currently considering and discussing whether it will seek to obtain a shareholding in Masterwork.
‘The Heidelberg Management Board and Supervisory Board are delighted that our long-standing, successful collaboration with Masterwork is to become much closer. This opens up further potential in the growing packaging printing segment, especially in China – the world’s largest individual market. We are expecting better capacity utilisation at our plants across the globe to make us far more efficient, but I would like to stress that this will not weaken our sites in Germany. We are delighted that in Masterwork we are obtaining another long-term investor that firmly believes in the company’s innovative prowess, strategy, and potential for the future,’ commented Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer.
‘Heidelberg is our ideal partner for jointly leveraging growth potential in the packaging printing market. The stake we are obtaining in this long-established company and world market leader underlines that we are in it for the long haul and are confident Heidelberg has adopted the right strategy,’ says Masterwork President Li Li.
Heidelberg and Masterwork, which is listed on China’s Shenzhen stock exchange, have operated a close postpress partnership for a number of years, turning print products into folding cartons for the packaging market. They also benefit from a long-standing, successful sales collaboration. Masterwork specializes in postpress equipment for the folding carton industry. Back in 2014, it acquired the postpress packaging technologies of Heidelberg, which retains responsibility for global sales and digital customer relations. The possibility of linking Masterwork’s postpress machines to the Heidelberg cloud is a big advantage when it comes to realizing the value proposition of using production data to boost customers’ productivity. Packaging printing is expected to enjoy above-average growth in the coming years.
Heidelberg already holds a leading position in this segment in Europe and the Americas, while Masterwork is one of China’s leading postpress suppliers for packaging. The closer ties are set to significantly strengthen this position in China – the world’s largest packaging market – and in other regions, too. What’s more, there are plans for closer collaboration focusing on the two companies’ value chains. Heidelberg will continue to supply the dynamic markets in China and the rest of Asia from the site in Qingpu, near Shanghai, that it established back in 2006. As a result of the closer working relationship with Masterwork, it will also benefit from joint component manufacturing operations at the Masterwork site in Tianjin in the future. This will provide both companies with a whole host of possibilities for improving their efficiency.
Ricoh has announced the launch of its first series of Intelligent Devices to meet the constantly changing needs of today’s digital workplaces. The range, which will be available in South Africa soon, is part of Ricoh’s Dynamic Workplace Intelligence approach and features the company’s new Always Current Technology that ensures the technical capabilities of products evolve in parallel with customer requirements.
‘The new intelligent devices empower digital workplaces to scale their capabilities based on their latest needs,’ said Jacques van Wyk, CEO of Ricoh SA, ‘while keeping security and software capabilities updated.’ Ricoh Always Current Technology platform empowers people to work smarter via technologies that deliver scalability, security, sustainability and simplicity. Users can download and install new applications, features and upgrades directly to their device as they become available, providing complete agility and flexibility. The platform empowers digital workplaces to scale their capabilities based on their latest needs, while also keeping security features and software completely up-to-date. Additionally, it enables instant access to upgrades the moment they hit the market, eliminating the need to purchase new hardware for additional functionality or wait for contracts to expire. Furthermore, Ricoh Intelligent Support ensures software upgrades can be quickly performed remotely and that user uptime is maximised.
The new IM C series of A3 colour MFPs is the first in a range of intelligent devices Ricoh will bring to market featuring the next generation platform. The array of upcoming office printing advancements includes Ricoh Cloud Workflow Solutions, a collection of innovative cloud-based technologies that deliver streamlined simplicity in affordable, scalable, subscription-based packages to help customers grow their business.
Ricoh Always Current Technology is realised in 13 new A3 colour intelligent MFPs, including the RICOH IM C2000, IM C2500, IM C3000, IM C3500, IM C4500, IM C5500 and IM C6000. These devices print at 20, 25, 30, 35, 45, 55 and 60 pages per minute (ppm), respectively. They deliver printing, scanning, copying, finishing and faxing support for output sizes up to SRA3, and standard mobile printing support. Each device is certified with an EPEAT rating that independently confirms sustainability capabilities. David Mills, CEO of Ricoh Europe, said, ‘A key aspect of empowering digital workplaces is securing information and making it available to those that need it as soon as it’s required. Information security is a design priority for Ricoh, which is why this range of intelligent MFPs leverage on-board encryption.’
The new devices will incorporate Ricoh’s new Smart Operation Panel, equipped with an upgraded processor that provides faster transitions between applications and a smooth, responsive touch screen. The new functionality is based on customer feedback and is designed to improve accessibility as well as the overall user experience. The new interface can be tailored to better adapt to and serve individual workplaces, workflows and needs. Ricoh service experts can remotely access a device’s Smart Operation Panel for fast troubleshooting and perform automatic firmware updates.
Mills said, ‘Today’s businesses are tasked with adapting to change at seemingly breakneck speed. We recognise that our customers have new and emerging needs, and that workplaces are expanding outside traditional offices. Our new intelligent devices range means that, just like other smart devices, our customers will be able to install any applications they like at any time enabling them to work smarter and more effectively. We’ve called our new approach Dynamic Workplace Intelligence to represent how we work with our customers to meet their every digital workplace need.’
UK-based digital manufacturing service provider, Fluxaxis, has 3D printed two life-size master figures that were integral to a recent ‘Make Blood Cancer Visible’ campaign for pharmaceutical company, Janssen. The figures were used by Fluxaxis’ customer, Windsor Workshop, to create moulds for a series of ten life-size human bodies designed to convey the invisible nature of blood cancer.
Fluxaxis produced the models on its Massivit 1800 3D Printer in less than eight hours each. This drastically reduced both the time and costs involved in creating the display compared to traditional production methods.
Designed to give blood cancer well-deserved priority and recognition within the UK, real-life recordings of people with the disease were emitted from the human figures to enhance the sensory impact. The campaign travelled to key locations across London, Cardiff, Manchester and Edinburgh and received widespread pick-up across social media platforms.
As we start a new year, we take a short look back at the previous year and some of the major trends and customer feedback on our product portfolio and look forward to our expectations for the year ahead. A noticeable trend throughout 2018 was the consistent feedback from our clients that the role of packaging is changing. While protecting the goods is still the number one priority, it needs to be done in a more sustainable way. There is also greater demand to process thinner materials and to propose digitalised machines. With the rapid expansion of e-commerce, our customers’ packaging production requires more productive and more flexible machines without compromising on quality. As brand owners use packaging to stand out on the shelf and to appeal to customers, the demand for better colour control, shorter production runs and repeat orders is growing, putting more pressure on converters to automate packaging production.
In 2018, the sheetfed business unit continued to benefit from leading innovations. The new MASTERFLUTE Touch inline laminators – with one single interface to pilot the whole machine delivering the highest productivity – have been a great success. The NOVACUT 106 ER and EXPERTCUT 106 PER remained in high demand as recognised heavyweights in the industry, delivering leading quality and optimal price performance. These have been a perfect fit for converters who are seeking to industrialise production. The EXPERTFOLD 50-110 has been a best seller in 2018, particularly within the pharmaceuticals and cosmetic sectors. The recently introduced SPEEDWAVE 2 was also very successful, as customers recognised its ability to enable higher productivity levels. The new PREMIUM GAP CONTROL system on FFG – recipient of the FEFCO 2017 Gold Award for Best Innovation – is receiving fantastic customer feedback as an enabler of optimal productivity.
e-commerce was a keyword in 2018 and the specialty folder gluer MASTERFOLD 230, with GYROBOX XL, has been a major success enabling fast running speeds, fully automatic setting and extreme configurability. For converters aiming for zero-fault packaging production, the recently launched ACCUCHECK 2 and NOVACUT 106 E 3.0 and SAMPLING device gained significant interest. From a printing standpoint, BOBST, with a series of industry supplier partners, has delivered a quantum leap in the flexo print process with the THQ FlexoCloud, helping corrugated box manufacturers achieve some exceptional results, not only in print quality, but security print as well. For 2019, the sheetfed business unit expects zero-fault packaging to become mandatory and a continuous growth of e-commerce packaging. The demand for an extended colour gamut and high quality printing for corrugated boards will further accelerate. Finally, the pressure from brand owners to reduce non-recyclable packaging will grow.
In 2018, the webfed business unit continued with significant success in gravure printing, especially the RS 6003. This machine is associated with excellent performance and flexibility to adapt to multiple applications and product configurations, covering a wide range of customer needs. The RS 5002, because of its optimised price/performance ratio in the flexible packaging applications, fulfilled demand from emerging markets. We opened new facilities in China in 2018, answering the growing demand for packaging production in the region. CI flexo printing made a major step forward in 2018 launching the new 20SEVEN CI flexo press featuring new technologies for further enhanced process consistency. The 20SEVEN is a spot-on solution for the ECG printing process.
Demand has continued to grow for substrate processing, and the K5 EXPERT is one of the best sellers in this area due to its many unique innovations, including the 700mm diameter coating drum. The K5 VISION has been selling well for the converter market due to its flexibility in handling a variety of substrates. It is also important to mention that brand owners are increasingly moving to recyclable film, creating growing demand for AluBond and AIOx. The popularity of AluBond is due to its adhesion properties and its enhanced barrier properties on BOPP and CPP films. In terms of lamination, the CL 850 is the best seller, because of the quality of the performances of this machine when combining it with the Flexo BOBST trolley.
For printing, BOBST labels and flexible packaging solutions had a great presence at international shows such as Labelexpo Americas. The M5 was the best seller because of its flexibility and great variety of materials. Its on-boarded automation has also been widely praised. The REVO technology, which enabled the digital control of labels and packaging production, is poised for major growth as it combines key brand requirements – high quality control and high productivity, combined with the ability to manage short runs and low operation costs.
Looking ahead to 2019, the webfed business unit will focus on strong growth in gravure in Europe and Asia. Labels production will continue to evolve driven by the digitalisation of the entire production process, including in-line colour control. In Asia, we expect significant transition from gravure into flexo, especially in fast-growing markets like India and South East Asia. While the machines are always of great interest, the BOBST business unit for services had a great year as well, as customers increasingly emphasize the need for value-adding services.
The new Digital Inspection Table – a digitalised way to proof printed sheets and die-cut blanks – is a product that all printers and converters should consider. It streamlines the process, improves precision and reduces errors, saving time and costs. The opening of the new Distribution Centre for spare parts in Indianapolis, US, and the hiring of 100 new Field Service Technicians across the globe, will further increase the service level for our customers. In 2019, services will play a growing role for converters and printers. They will witness an increase of connected services to support improved productivity, higher machine availability and higher production quality. Within services, tooling is a new way to improve machine performance with the certification of diemakers. The program will gain importance and make packaging production more efficient. Finally, the development of the portfolio of expert services and consultancy will be built towards a Process Optimisation program, which is required in a changing world where automation and process optimisations are key priorities.
In 2018, Mouvent – the competence centre for digital printing for Bobst Group – stabilised and industrialised its core cluster technology. The beta installations for textile and label printing took place and the number of installed textile machines reached six units. The first customer installations of Mouvent label machines also took place. BOBST will continue with its ‘Leading Innovation’ focus. In 2019, the demand for more flexibility in the supply chain and shorter turnaround times will continue to put pressure on printers and converters. The need for consistently high quality printing, not only within a batch, but across multiple reprints, will be higher on the agenda. Stronger regulations in areas of consumer safety, waste disposal, nutrition facts and many others will have a significant impact on the packaging industries. Ink formulation will accelerate its move towards water-based inks, especially for packaging production.
Finally, BOBST is dedicated to collaborating with brand owners and developing joint solutions with producers, developing and leading the packaging evolution and ‘shaping the future of packaging’ together.
Heidelberg is setting new competitive standards in the global printing industry. By opening its new Innovation Center (IVC) at the Wiesloch-Walldorf headquarters in Baden-Württemberg, the company is stepping up its efforts to maintain its technology leadership and shape the digital transformation process in the printing sector.
In addition to securing numerous jobs, the new Innovation Center also substantiates a recent analysis published in October by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Geneva, which concluded that the innovative capability of Germany is superior to any other country in the world, including the United States. Only by investing over 100 million euros in research and development every year has Heidelberg succeeded in emerging stronger from years of structural change in the industry in these times of digital transformation.
‘With its Innovation Center, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG is demonstrating how a company can use the signs of the times to shape its future. Throughout its history, the company has always combined a traditional engineering culture with innovative technologies. This dovetailing is a vital factor in today’s opening of the printing industry’s most advanced research facility,’ said Minister President Winfried Kretschmann, who went on to call the newly opened Innovation Center a leading light of mechanical engineering in Baden-Württemberg.
Over 1000 staff will immediately start working on the digital future of Heidelberg and the printing industry at the new centre. Newspaper and magazine printing is in decline due to structural factors, but that is not the core business of Heidelberg. Due primarily to packaging and label printing, the industry as a whole is growing and generates annual sales exceeding 400 billion euros. Heidelberg is also increasingly unlocking new market segments outside the graphic arts industry, such as electric mobility.
‘Germany’s mechanical engineering prowess is highly rated worldwide and we are still the number one in this field. The purpose of our new think tank is to ensure we continue to build on our technology leadership in the future – and that includes the digitization of the print media industry,’ said Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer. By investing some 50 million euros in the new Innovation Center, Heidelberg is aiming to gain a clear edge over its competitors around the globe in the future. It has also helped Germany overtake Switzerland as Europe’s most competitive national economy and become the third most competitive country in the world.
‘Digitisation in particular requires totally new forms of collaboration. With its Innovation Center, Heidelberg is responding to the challenges posed by a transformation process that is currently sweeping through every sector. Here in Baden-Württemberg, where cutting-edge technology, precision, and absolute reliability are an integral part of our history and culture, the Heidelberg IVC is a shining example of how digital transformation can succeed. By systematically networking various working levels, the center is setting new standards in communication and agility,’ emphasised Kretschmann.
The new Innovation Center also marks the beginning of a new era for staff in terms of their working environment. It uses ultra-modern, innovative practices, with teamwork, communication, work at different locations, and a combination of personal workstations and communication zones ensuring a pleasant, creative atmosphere. ‘The IVC is now “Open for Innovation” and marks the start of a new approach to work at Heidelberg,’ explained Head of Research & Development Frank Kropp. From developing an idea, securing a patent, and creating a digital twin all the way through to approving individual components and the product as a whole, the entire development process takes place within the same four walls.
The building concept aims to make communication/teamwork between employees as easy as possible. In addition to personal workstations, for example, there are also office environments without any fixed assignment, relaxed seating areas, and even options for working outdoors to encourage teamwork. What’s more, digital reviews are possible thanks to interactive monitors. A bistro, various break areas, and kitchens for making coffee are available to employees and guests alike. There are also numerous zones where people can take themselves off to work in peace and quiet.
The project to convert a former production hall where around 500 staff worked into an Innovation Center for over 1 000 employees is a world first. A total gross area of around 40 000 square metres at the Wiesloch-Walldorf site now includes a state-of-the-art office area totaling some 26 000 square meters and approximately 14 000 square metres for laboratories and testing. The office area comprises 13 sections, each accommodating 80 staff, and a space of around 3700 square meters has been set aside for the 43 laboratories alone. “The new center is an innovation platform geared to communication and transparency, which makes it the key to a change in culture at Heidelberg and also a symbol of this change,’ concluded Stephan Plenz, member of the Heidelberg Management Board responsible for Technology.