The goal of the Heidelberg Equipment Division is to remain or become the preferred partner of the print media industry in all areas of sheetfed offset printing worldwide. Structural changes have accelerated considerably in the printing industry of the industrialized countries, and the wave of print shop consolidations has continued. As we show here, our product portfolio precisely meets the requirements of our various target groups. We made progress with print shops in the industrialized countries due to the leading technological position of our wholly integratable systems and our ability to precisely tailor our offerings to their requirements. In the newly industrializing countries, the quality of our standard printing presses and our strong local presence are competitive advantages.
We have been continually strengthening our position in packaging printing for a number of years. This segment is less cyclically sensitive than traditional commercial printing and print advertising, and offers higher potential for growth as well. The brand name strategy of many manufacturers requires ever more exclusive packaging. Products and foodstuffs in developing and emerging markets are increasingly being sold packaged rather than loose. With our systems, customers can produce not only high-finish cardboard packaging, but bulk packagings as well. Regardless of the size and the particular strategic focus that a packaging print shop has, we can provide a comprehensive solution that is precisely tailored to their requirements and customer groups, extending all the way to finishing – a unique point of sale that is especially important in this domain of our industry.
The flexibility and adaptability of our printing presses are a crucial competitive factor – not only in packaging printing, but for commercial printing establishments as well. The Speedmaster XL 105, which we introduced in the market in 2004, represented a new generation of printing presses in the high-performance class. The XL 145/XL 162 models, our new, largest format class, was later introduced in 2008. Both of these model series have been designed for packaging printing and highly productive commercial printing. Thanks to our platform strategy and themodular concept of our systems, our Speedmaster SM 102 and CD 102 customers were able to benefit from the achievements of our XL developments right from the start. For example, they were able to opt for core features like automated feeder and delivery components. Since the financial year, we have applied these technologies to the series production of our speedmaster cx 102, which we introduced for the first time at IPEX 2010 – in addition to the fully automated Preset Plus feeder and dynamic sheet brake, this model also has high-performance components in the cylinder bearings and the gripper system. We have additionally reinforced the construction of the printing unit in order to ensure the accustomed degree of quiet at the now higher maximum speed as well. With the large number of innovations and the new speed of up to 16,500 sheets per hour, the Speedmaster CX 102 is very well suited for packaging printing, label printing, and for high-quality commercial printing. With its versatility, it has also been well received because it can print equally well on light-weight paper, bending-resistant cardboard, and even various plastic materials. The modular design permits flexible, specially tailored machine configurations: ranging from conventional straight-ahead printing presses all the way to duo configurations with a coating unit before the offset units. Also possible are UV operation, mixed operation with conventional and UV inks, and a dual-coating printing press – in-line finishing opportunities are available right through to cold foil application with FoilStar. These properties make this printing press interesting primarily for small and medium-sized print shops that work with a mixed range of orders that require a high degree of flexibility.
The extreme precision with which our mechatronic systems function as well as the wide range of configuration opportunities is decisive for our customers’ success – and presents a challenge for our manufacturing and production processes. We continually reduce the cost of manufacturing by systematically seeking out opportunities for optimizing processes. Our comprehensive heidelberg production system (hps) made it possible for us to reduce costs by a total of over € 11 million in the production areas during the financial year. HPS rests on five pillars:
The more positively the overall economic situation has been assessed, the more companies once again increased their advertising budgets during the financial year. The order backlog of commercial print shops improved, and they again ordered more new printing presses. With the exception of the German and UK markets, however, demand in the industrialized countries picked up slowly. The highly successful IPEX trade show in the UK and the ExpoPrint in Brazil caused incoming
orders to grow by leaps and bounds early in the financial year. At IPEX alone, we were successful in selling
|Figures in € millions
|Result of operating activities1)||- 153||- 98|
|Special items||- 11||10|
|Research and development costs||102||104|
The sales of this division also rose considerably, increasing by 19 percent to € 1,516 million – after adjusting for exchange rate effects, 14 percent growth was posted. The order backlog has meanwhile grown far above the low previous year’s volume. The length of the order backlog was 4.6 months as of March 31, 2011. Although the higher volume results primarily from orders of large format models, other areas also generated gratifying growth. The time between order placement and the delivery of a printing press, which is manufactured and configured in accordance with the customer’s requirements, varies according to the demand and the particular product. On average, we expect a period of three to four months.
We succeeded in increasing the result of operating activities excluding special items by € 55 million from the still considerably negative level of € - 98 million. Moreover, we had also moderately increased our expenditures for research and development over the previous year. Favorably impacting the result were the increase in sales and the resulting profit contributions as well as the cost reductions that we generated in connection with the reorganization. We have acquired flexibility for expected growth since adjusting capacities the previous year. Although this will pay off in the future, it burdened our result during the financial year because the manufacturing of some product lines is at less than full capacity. Moreover, raw material prices increased to a much greater extent than had been expected. Income from special items amounted to € 10 million.
Overall, the number of our employees in this division decreased during the financial year by 360. This resulted from opposing developments. Although we further reduced the number of job positions in Germany, in China we hired new employees in order to satisfy demand for locally manufactured printing presses.
We systematically expanded our production site in Qingpu. Of the total investments of
Of the € 104 million that we spent on Research and Development during the financial year, a large share was accounted for by projects that we will introduce for the first time at drupa 2012. Furthermore, we have brought to series production the products that were launched at IPEX during the financial year. In this area as well, we benefit considerably from our ability to build on the most advanced product platforms in our industry – a good example of this is the development of the Speedmaster CX 102, which we describe at the beginning.