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Reality not visions for Heidelberg at IPEX 2006-04-05

Thursday, 06 April 2006
By Print 21 Online Article

Kicking off the company’s IPEX show, Bernard Schreier, ceo, compared the ‘digital’ Drupa of 2000, the ‘JDF/PDF’ Drupa of 2004 with the need for a very realistic approach to customer requirements that will characterise this IPEX. Recognising that technology visions are no longer the driving force of the industry, he set the tone for a exhibition that is looking at being long on incremental improvements to established formats, but short on radical changes.

Standing in front of a massive 12-colour Speedmaster, Schreier made the point that one in four of the presses rolling off the production line now are customised to a customer’s request. “It is not longer one size fits all. Customers are turning the industry around. They are coming with concrete ideas to us.”

The mantra of customer focus is heard on every side as the wave of technology falters in the face of difficult market conditions and industry consolidation world wide. Heidelberg is no different, even if the industry giant appears to have survived the past few years in better shape than could be expected.

Laying out the profile of the industry Schreier indicated the manufacturer’s role of servicing customers with different levels of technology in different parts of the world. Globalisation is the reality check not only on manufacturers but also on printers. The imperative is to move with the times and accept the reality of price competition.

Anicolor is the answer to digital

One of the most powerful competitive forces to Heidelberg’s business is the advance of digital. To combat the invasion of the short print run market the company has launched an innovative inking system that will slash the number of waste sheets when an offset press starts up. In the Heidelberg hall there is a Speedmaster SM 52 four-color press fitted with an Anicolor unit, which has no inking zones. This makes it possible to pro-duce even the shortest of runs using a standard offset workflow.

Hardly any startup sheets are required, just 10 to 20 depending on the print motif. This is up to 90 percent less startup waste, while the make-ready times are slashed by up to 40 percent. Heidelberg claims the time saved increases press capacity by 25 percent.

The Anicolor inking unit developed by Heidelberg enables printing without ghosting. Thanks to the format-size screen and inking form roller, exactly the same amount of ink is supplied to the printing plate with each revolution, applying absolute smooth solids to the printing stock. The Anicolor inking unit’s efficient temperature control system means that the amount of ink applied to the relevant printing materials can easily be adapted over the entire printing form.

Further innovations in the Anicolor inking unit’s chambered blade system maximize print quality and the speed of ink changes while minimizing cleaning times. The more standardized print job processing is, the more the strengths of this revolutionary and trendsetting Anicolor inking unit come into their own.

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