Several thousand registrations from more than 100 countries, several hundred one-to-one discussions arranged with decision-makers, and around 100,000 hits on videos – that is the upshot of the five-day Innovation Week held by Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg). This online event, unprecedented in the industry, just finished. Taking “Unfold your potential” as its slogan, it focused on transferring knowledge relating to the urgent issues in the sector. With product presentations on its latest highlights, innovation talks, and personal discussions via video chat, Heidelberg provided a comprehensive overview of its offerings in the commercial, label, and packaging segments.
“The feedback we have received so far from participants and our partners has been truly overwhelming,” says Ludwig Allgoewer, Head of Global Sales and Marketing at Heidelberg. “The participants praised the format and the content presented.” The combination of short, professionally produced videos and innovation talks with the option of follow-up live chats in which the content presented could be discussed in more detail with around 300 Heidelberg experts from around the world went down well with the participants. “As a result, Heidelberg was able to register specialist customer contacts on a similar scale to an international trade show,” Allgoewer continued. “We are confident that the numerous customer discussions will also generate business contracts in the near future.”
End-to-end production in the spotlight
At the heart of all the presentations was the optimization of the entire process in offset and digital printing, all the way through to end-to-end production. This is based on the enhanced Push to Stop technology with all its facets, including automatic optimization of job sequences and navigated printing, accompanied by user-friendliness for operators thanks to easy-to-understand user interfaces, all of which – combined with “integrated intelligence” – enables highly productive operations with fewer staff and skilled personnel. Heidelberg also provided supplementary information about offerings in the fields of Prinect workflow, consumables, and contract business. This did not focus on presenting individual product functions, but rather on responding to the most urgent customer requirements in the respective market segments.
“The priority is no longer simply achieving the highest possible printing speed – instead we aim to make the entire process as efficient as possible. Boosting productivity offers the greatest earnings capacity for industrial print shops. Digitization is key to this – and that is precisely what we demonstrated at Innovation Week,” says Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer. “The response to our Innovation Week underlines how it is possible to use digital formats to successfully contact customers and get them excited about innovations, even in the middle of a global pandemic.”
All the content and videos from Innovation Week, much of it for download, continues to be available for all registered customers and other interested parties. Registration is also possible after the event.
“Customers’ growing demands in terms of print speed, stable sheet travel, level of automation, and ease of handling when processing thinner substrates on the CutStar sheeter prompted us to develop a new generation of this system. The result is the new Push to Stop CutStar , which is based on a completely new platform with the latest drive technology, state-of-the-art control technology, a new blade geometry, and brand new peripherals,” reveals Höfer.
The market for in-mold labels is enjoying annual growth rates of around four to six percent, and handling particularly thin materials is the key challenge during production. The IML Performance Package for the Speedmaster 106 is now also used in the new CutStar Gen. 4 for high-quality results on foils as thin as 50 µ, combined with an impressive production output. The fourth-generation sheeter is fully integrated into the Prinect workflow and also the Intellistart system on the press for production based on the Push to Stop principle. Air/format settings and format changes take place fully automatically, which means shorter setup times. The surface treatment integrated into the CutStar is another new feature, ensuring high end-to-end quality by improving ink adhesion. What’s more, optimization geared specifically to low grammages for both paper and IMLs increases the production speed by up to 2,000 sheets per hour.
Surface finishes with a metallic look are very much on trend and make products stand out at the point of sale, where customers often make purchase decisions in a fraction of a second. With the new FoilStar Cure, label producers can meet even challenging finishing requirements. In conjunction with another Heidelberg innovation – the DryStar LED Pro dryer – impressive high-gloss metallic effects can reliably be produced. In the FoilStar Cure, drying for the first time takes place right through the foil, which enhances gloss levels. Cold foil is the perfect solution for a wide range of effects, combining an attractive price with an impressive processing speed. It also has environmental benefits over aluminum-coated material because it saves on aluminum and makes labels easier to recycle. Thanks to customized indexing lengths during production, and because only the specified parts of the label are foiled, up to 80 percent less material is used.
The installation of over 60 Speedmaster XL 106-DD rotary die cutters provides impressive proof of the market success Heidelberg has been enjoying with this machine since 2008. It is available in various configurations – from the new Speedmaster XL 106-D with just one die-cutting unit, which is now available, to the XL 106-DD with magnetic cylinder and extraction system for injection and decorative holes.
“The new Speedmaster XL 106-D with just one die-cutting unit makes it easier for label printers to move into rotary die cutting and complements the successful Speedmaster XL 106-DD with magnetic cylinder and extraction system, which has been available for a number of years,” says Höfer
The XL 106-D and DD process the thinnest of materials at a high speed of 12,000 sheets per hour. They punch even the smallest injection holes, which are stripped and extracted straight away thanks to the high-precision magnetic cylinder with 1 µ pressure adjustment. This high precision resulting from the cylinder design and uniform cutting die dispenses with the time-consuming makeready required when using the flat-bed process due to differences in level within the cutting die. This means far shorter setup times. Tooling costs are also up to 50 percent lower than with a flat-bed die cutter and the production speed is three times higher.
Service agreements complementing Heidelberg equipment and software are also available for the labels sector, which ensures continuously high availability of all systems. Digital maintenance management and performance analyses increase uptime by as much as seven percent. Like all other Heidelberg customers, label producers benefit from the industry’s largest service network, with global availability of spare parts and access to the Heidelberg Assistant digital collaboration platform.
Even following the announcement of the sale of the Gallus Group to Swiss packaging group benpac holding ag, Heidelberg will work closely with benpac in the future, providing service and sales support for narrow-web flexographic presses. In the case of the Gallus Labelfire, Heidelberg also still supplies both the digital printing unit and the associated consumables, which means the company will continue to offer its customers an attractive solution for digital label printing.
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