Heidelberg’s focus on megatrends at drupa 2024

Cost pressure, skills shortage, and sustainability 

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Heidelberg
Heidelberg is addressing the megatrends with innovations at drupa 2024

The printing sector is facing a combination of three challenges – ever-increasing cost pressures, a shortage of skilled workers, and growing sustainability requirements. In response to these megatrends, Heidelberg will present numerous innovations under the motto ‘Unfold Your Potential’ at this year’s drupa trade show. The focus will be on customers and the need for their print shops to optimize the development and leveraging of business potential using state-of-the-art technologies and services. 

With its innovations at drupa, such as the new-generation Speedmaster XL 106, Heidelberg says it can support its customers with a holistic concept that delivers up to 20% higher productivity than the previous solutions.

“Heidelberg has been an industry pioneer in the digitalization of printing for 20 years. Our main goal is to optimize our customers’ entire value chain,” says Heidelberg CEO Ludwin Monz. “To this end, we have almost fully digitalized and integrated print shop processes, and our solutions at drupa offer our commercial and packaging printing customers maximum efficiency in industrial print production.” 

Making printing businesses more efficient

Increasing cost pressures are forcing print shops to make ongoing investments in maintaining their competitiveness – i.e. in higher productivity, enhanced efficiency, and new areas of business. Heidelberg says it understands the value drivers of customers in the commercial and packaging printing industry. Innovations such as the new Peak Performance generation of the Speedmaster XL 106, with its higher print speed of up to 21,000 sheets per hour, AI-supported assistance systems, and enhanced Push to Stop functions, are making industrial offset printing even more competitive.

Heidelberg will be exhibit another innovation, too – the efficiency of the Boardmaster is setting new productivity standards in the packaging printing industry. The new Boardmaster is a flexographic web printing system that boasts machine availability of up to 90% and a maximum printing speed of 600 meters per minute. Compared with the previous generation, its machine concept dramatically reduces the total cost of ownership in industrial packaging production.

Shortage of skilled workers

The shortage of labor and skilled workers is becoming more and more acute in the printing industry, too. With this in mind, Heidelberg says it is offering customers solutions for automating products and processes, including training for print shop staff. Fully automated Plate to Unit plate logistics on the Speedmaster XL 106 and the new P-Stacker robotics solutions for postpress operations are two examples of this in commercial printing. 

The new-generation Speedmaster XL 106 also supports cluster production, whereby a single operator controls an entire machine park. In the future, Heidelberg will make autonomous printing possible for standardized applications in packaging printing. The company will also help operators with more complex print jobs by providing navigated user guidance.

Sustainability and cost-effectiveness

Sustainability in print production is one of the biggest trends worldwide and, at the same time, a major challenge for the sector. Modern print shops are aiming to become even more sustainable by reducing their consumption of energy and resources. Print products are also changing, though, moving away from plastic and toward more paper. Heidelberg offers sustainable print solutions, helping its customers to make savings on energy and raw materials. 

If you compare a Speedmaster from 1990 with the current version, the energy consumption per 1,000 sheets has been reduced by up to 40%. At this year’s drupa, Heidelberg will present its latest generation of presses, which have a maximum speed of up to 21,000 sheets per hour. This increased production speed will help customers further lower their energy consumption per sheet. What’s more, the use of artificial intelligence and new assistance systems will also result in paper being saved by reducing the amount of paper waste.

Benefits of digitalization

Digitalization in the printing industry enables end-to-end integration of the production process – from receiving the digital customer order, preparing the print data, planning and carrying out the print job, and passing on the print product to postpress, all the way through to delivery and billing. In this context, Heidelberg will exhibit end-to-end autonomous printing for commercial and packaging customers at drupa. With its new customer portal, the company is taking digitalization to the next level and further expanding press management, including aspects such as capacity utilization, maintenance, and upkeep.

drupa 2024 – ‘Unfold Your Potential’ 

Heidelberg will demonstrate in two different locations how printing businesses can boost their capacity. In Hall 1 in Düsseldorf, the company will exhibit a highly automated end-to-end packaging workflow for the diverse requirements associated with industrial packaging production. Its focus will be on how to become more competitive when faced with cost pressures and changing conditions. Also in Hall 1, commercial and publishing printers will find a workflow that benefits from end-to-end connectivity thanks to Prinect. In the Experience Center, Heidelberg will showcase the wide range of services that extend beyond press technology as such, with AI-based analysis tools, intelligent assistance systems, online services, and sustainable production solutions all on show.

At the Heidelberg site in Wiesloch-Walldorf, the focus will be on business potential right across the Heidelberg portfolio. Here, the company will exhibit its entire product range, including presses and software solutions for all market segments – from commercial and packaging to label printing, from sheetfed offset and digital to flexo printing, and from products for small companies to fully automated production lines.

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