The Gallus Group, a subsidiary of Heidelberg, a pioneer in the evolution of label printing presses, celebrated its 100th anniversary by opening its doors to a brand-new industry hub in St. Gallen, Switzerland. The Gallus Experience Center is designed to serve as an industry touchpoint for customers, industry experts, stakeholders, and even other industry companies, to collaboratively address challenges such as the diminishing availability of skilled and experienced resources globally, automation, and sustainability. The need to drive the new paradigms of a complex digitally-led and omnichannel and cloud networked environment that links brand owners, the label and packaging industry, and the consumer can be seen as a key mission of the Experience Center.
Importantly, Gallus is also utilizing its centenary celebrations to announce three new products across its portfolio. These comprise the Heidelberg Customer Portal, the new Gallus One hybrid digital press with inline converting, and a digital upgrade to turn the company’s Gallus ECS 340 flexo presses into a hybrid digital press.
The Gallus 100-year celebrations have welcomed customers and prospects including the world’s leading printers and converters, as well as partners and brand owners, to take part in demonstrations and knowledge presentations mainly aimed at the ‘digital transformation’ of the label and narrow-web industry. The Center aims to foster collaboration to drive innovation and sustainability amongst the community of manufacturers, suppliers, converters, printers, and brands. It is designed as a think tank, research center, and lab to explore ideas, test and develop new technologies, and teach and experience a technological ecosystem.
In addition, Gallus will use the facility to showcase conventional, hybrid, and digital Gallus products, software, and cloud-based solutions, next-generation machines being produced, and supplier partner technologies. “As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Gallus, Heidelberg is delighted to stand alongside the Gallus team this week – united, as one group, commented Ludwin Monz, CEO of Heidelberg. “With labels and packaging now representing 50% of the Group’s total sales, the new digital and automated solutions we see introduced by Gallus at Experience Center play an important role in the future of Heidelberg.”
With annual growth of over 2% in global print volumes, packaging printing is one of the strongest growth areas in the printing industry. One-third of all labels worldwide are already printed digitally today and within this, the growth of inkjet is around 6% annually.
Dario Urbinati, CEO of Gallus Group, commented, “We are committed to being in touch with the market and forecasting, and then responding to, likely trends that could impact our customers and brands. As a result, Gallus and Heidelberg are committed to leading the new digital transformation – driving ‘smart, connected printing’ to unlock revolutionary levels of production automation and manufacturing efficiencies. Key to solving the labor issues of today, this will enable customers to reduce costs and increase both profitability and sustainability. What’s more, utilizing our new Gallus Experience Center, we have a team devoted to exploring new technologies and processes – such as artificial intelligence and Industry 4.0 – that could be integrated into labels and packaging to better inspire and engage future generations.”
To further drive the labels and packaging ‘digital transformation’ and help solve current labor shortages and increases in costs, Gallus also unveiled a new Heidelberg Customer Portal that automates almost every customer touchpoint. In an industry-first, future iterations of the solution will also provide predictive capabilities utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to provide recommendations to increase productivity, reduce maintenance, and boost profitability. The new platform is expected to save customers, on average, up to 35% in both time and money.
The launch of the new Gallus One with converting features a digital press with an inline flexo station, and a semi-rotary die cutter that can change a job within a minute and process up to 70 meters a minute, with a vision inspection systems to ensure a high level of quality and minimize waste. The announcement of the option for existing ECS340 flexo press users to upgrade with the addition of a digital printing unit (DPU), transforms it into a Gallus Labelfire 340 hybrid press.
The new Gallus products being launched are the result of a comprehensive consultation process with customers and brands. After discovering that the next generation of retail consumers engages with the world in a completely different way, and in light of demographic challenges and other macro trends that are adding new and considerable short-term and long-term business challenges for converters, Gallus rewrote its vision and mission statements to support a new business direction.
Dario Urbinati concludes, “We are thrilled to welcome so many friends and colleagues this week to help celebrate our centenary in business and to have the opportunity to share our exciting new products and thank the many amazing people within our business who have worked so hard to support us, as well as our incredible portfolio of customers. But this week is as much about the next 100 years and what we do next. This is why we’re excited to look beyond the graphic arts toward other industries – learning from how they’ve leveraged new technologies to welcome in the new digital age and cater to the next generation – so that we can modernize the labels and packaging industry and further increase our future success.”