From Digital Printing to Digital Transformation: Heidelberg’s Take


Ever since we stopped the production of our digital printing machine ‘Primefire’, there has been some confusion about how much Heidelberg is really committed to digitalisation. Whether you are confused or simply want to know about what “going digital” means to Heidelberg as one of the leaders in the print industry, read on!

We’re committed to the market for Digital Printing

Firstly, we wish to clarify that - despite discontinuing Primefire - we are still very much in the digital printing market, with versatile products like Versafire. Manufacturing printing equipment (sheetfed offset as well as digital print) along with related service and consumables suited for all the needs of the industry is, and will always be, our core business.

As a company with more than 160 years in the industry, we don’t see any reduction in the need for printing in the immediate future but do understand that printing needs will evolve over time. We simply believe in adapting ourselves to the changing market demands and, accordingly, plan the rollout or withdrawal of some of our machines on that basis.

Our Journey towards Digital Transformation began in 2017-18

As a thought leader and trendsetter in the industry, digital transformation, to Heidelberg, is a matter of changing our business models to prepare for the inevitable digital future - through a combination of digitisation, digitalisation and innovation. In the words of our CEO, Rainer Hundsdörfer, “The strategic focus is on the requirements of our customers and our endeavour is to generate value-adds in terms of efficiency, profitability and success in a dynamically changing world.”

Here are a few ways in which Heidelberg has embraced digital transformation:

● We connect your printing machines with your MIS (and more)

The Prinect Smart Print Shop from Heidelberg creates perfect synchrony between people, machines, materials and processes. It comes with a single integrated workflow, colour management controls for consistent output quality across printing techniques, and an in-built production control centre. It is also in-built with several smart features that eliminate the need for multiple management platforms, saving time and resources while making processes more efficient and streamlined from start to finish.

We offer you a smart print-shop assistant that can be accessed anytime, anywhere

The Heidelberg Assistant is a digital customer interface that can simply be accessed using a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone! It serves as an interactive communication platform, providing users with all the information they need about their print shop. The Assistant enables users to access important performance indicators, service contracts and services, at any time, and keep a close eye on the availability and efficiency of machines.

We offer a pay-per-use subscription model for equipment

Heidelberg now offers high-quality, latest-in-technology printers and machines on a subscription model. By this model, customers only need to pay for the sheets they print, on a fixed monthly rate for an agreed print volume and without the need to invest in machines. What’s more, Heidelberg also provides service, supplies parts, delivers consumables and offers training support. All this is made possible through the power of digitalisation.

We gather anonymised data from across the world to provide powerful insights

We leverage the power of big data from over 13,000 presses connected to the Heidelberg IoT (Internet of Things) and 28,000 Prinect software modules worldwide. Based on the usage and performance of these connected machines, we gather anonymised market information, study them against various parameters and extract valuable insights that we then share with our customers. We also use this information to understand the changing needs of the industry and respond by enhancing existing products or developing new smart solutions for the future. See a sample here.

The Way Forward

Heidelberg’s innovation centres continue to work on software and applications that can be shared across digital platforms and consumed virtually - online - by our customers. Towards this, we continue to tap the power of an interconnected world we are now building, across the world, through our equipment and the data they reveal.

While many consider print to be an industry firmly set in the real world, Heidelberg continues to lead the way in the sector's evolution, by leveraging the digital network we have created over the years to provide even greater value to all our stakeholders. After all, at the end of the day, our goal is to enable our customers to achieve overall operational excellence through improved productivity and greater cost-effectiveness in an ever-changing business landscape… something that we strive to do through comprehensive digitalisation that integrates all our services and solutions.

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