‘I’d do it again.’ Gallus/Heidelberg merger
Two years on Ferd. Rüesch, CEO of Gallus and at 9% the anchor investor in Heidelberg, declares he’s happy with integration of his family-owned label press manufacturing company into Heidelberg.
Swinging through Australia and New Zealand on what has become his annual pilgrimage to meet customers, Swiss labelmeister, Ferdinand Rüesch, is fired with enthusiasm for the future of the Labelfire digital label technology. He is celebrating the first sale in Australia of a Labelfire by country manager, James Rodden, to Victorian label convertors, Rapid Labels, with the press due to arrive in Melbourne this week.
“Label printers now have to have a digital press along with their conventional presses. The market is going in that direction. With Labelfire we’re at least one level up from all other digital presses in speed and in quality,” he said in an interview in Sydney.
He positions the Labelfire as a more robust machine with its 50 metres per minute throughput, rugged Heidelberg construction and offset quality. Presented as an end-to-end, label converting line it incorporates flexo printing as well as varnishing and die cutting stations.
Rüesch believes the press would not have seen the light of day if not for the merger between the two companies. “Today no mid-sized company like Gallus can produce all the parts of a digital press. There’s so much software to control the inkjet colours. Heidelberg has Prinect workflow and CERN colour controls. I have no regrets, I’d do it again,” he said.
Rene Ludvigsen, CEO Heidelberg Asia, is predicting multiple sales of the Labelfire throughout the region. He identifies countries such as Japan, Australia and New Zealand as markets for the digital inkjet machine where print runs are becoming shorter and label convertors have a distinct and sophisticated business model.
“We have lots of interest in the Labelfire. Not so much from emerging markets but from the developed economies,” he said.
Rodden is confident the local Australian and New Zealand label market with its well-known penchant for using the latest technology, will see quite a number of Labelfire machines installed over the next few years. He’s backed up by Rüesch who declares that the local market is of major strategic importance to the company. “The Australians and New Zealanders are always quick to use the latest presses. They are some of the hottest in the world,” he said.