Heidelberg shares its Drupa 2024 vision

In this conversation, Dr Ludwin Monz says, at Drupa 2024, Heidelberg will present solutions that will mitigate the three main challenges the printing industry faces – ever-increasing cost pressure, a shortage of skilled workers and rising sustainability requirements.

07 Feb 2024 | By Noel D'Cunha

Dr Ludwin Monz at Pamex 2024

PrintWeek (PW): What are the new Heidelberg developments at Drupa 2024?

Dr Ludwin Monz (DM): Our customers face three main challenges: ever-increasing cost pressure, a shortage of skilled workers and rising sustainability requirements. Heidelberg will be presenting solutions to these challenges at this year's Drupa.

PW: Can you explain?

DM: Enormous competitive pressure is forcing our customers to reduce their costs. We will be presenting several innovations that increase productivity and reduce the cost per printed sheet in high-volume printing.

We are addressing the shortage of labour and skilled workers by further automating and digitalising the print shop value chain. We will be presenting the further developed "push-to-stop" technology and our Prinect workflow software solution.

And finally, we help our customers to improve the sustainability of their businesses and their products. We present technologies that help to save energy and reduce the consumption of raw materials.

In summary, Heidelberg is committed to maintaining its technology leadership in the printing sector by addressing the major challenges of modern printing.

PW: Sustainability and digitalisation is the buzzword. What next, in terms of industry development?

DM: Sustainability in print production is one of the biggest trends worldwide and at the same time a major challenge for our industry. In modern print shops, the aim is to reduce energy and resource consumption to become even more sustainable. But printed products are also changing, moving away from plastic and towards more paper.

But Heidelberg also has its own corporate goals when it comes to sustainability. Our goal is to achieve the smallest ecological footprint across the entire value chain in the printing industry.

PW: Heidelberg has been at the forefront of digitalisation of printing for 20 years.  What has been your goal?

DM: Our main goal is to optimise our customers' entire value chain. To this end, we have fully digitalised and integrated the processes and thus offer our customers maximum efficiency in industrial print production, which ultimately leads to higher productivity and a reduction in costs. In the area of digitalization, Heidelberg offers stand-alone end-to-end solutions for both commercial and packaging customers. So put Heidelberg on your list if you are looking for highly digitalized intelligent workflows at Drupa.

PW: How have you implemented sustainability or digitalisation in your own company and why?

DM: Heidelberg offers sustainable printing solutions. We support our customers in saving energy and raw materials. If you compare a Speedmaster from 1990 with today's version, energy consumption per 1,000 sheets has been reduced by up to 40%. At this year's Drupa, we will be presenting the latest generation of presses with a maximum speed of up to 21,000 sheets per hour. This increase in production speed will help our customers to further reduce the energy consumption per sheet.

PW: But speed alone is not enough?

DM: True. We have to take a holistic view of the machines. A good example of this is our Boardmaster flexographic printing machine. Thanks to the flying job change, the system works with very little waste. The water-based inks also improve the environmental balance. So from a product perspective, sustainability goes hand in hand: energy efficiency, intelligent automation and environmentally conscious consumables.

PW: Software plays an important role. But how?

DM: About digitalisation, we are investing heavily in software solutions for integrated print production. Lean processes in the print shop and a highly automated control system help to make production more efficient. One example is our new Heidelberg customer portal. The digital all-in-one portal offers easy access to production and workflow apps, analytics, service and maintenance, material purchasing and administration tools. In the future, users will also benefit from other apps that automate the production workflow - for both digital and offset printing.

PW: What significance does Drupa 2024 have for you as a presence at the trade fair?

DM: In three words: Innovation, inspiration, networking