Stephan Plenz analysis trends, its implication and pushes Heidelberg’s future in packaging

Heidelberg’s Packaging Day event held on 8-9 November 2017 at the Print Media Center (PMC) in Wiesloch-Walldorf, Germany highlighted key trends in packaging and the role it will play in the future of packaging.

20 Nov 2017 | By Noel D'Cunha

Stephan Plenz, member of the board digital technology at Heidelberg pointed to the challenges of the industry, and how the customer needs are following the trends – increase in variety, and reduction of run lengths.

“Automation is an absolute necessity, whether it is in the makeready or for changeover, and preparing the next step in advance, and let the process run or manage with minimum or no-touch of the user will become crucial,” Plenz said.

The world is looking at the idea of Push To Stop development, said Plenz, shifting the focus on the new digital kit, Primefire 106 which he said will be the absolute key in the industrial segment for labels and packaging printing. “These are game-changing technologies. Our customers using these technologies will be the winners.”

Plenz said, “The first beta installation of the Primefire 106 was done at Multi Packaging Solution in Obersuim in Germany in 2017. The press is running two shifts in production, printing covers, samples of boxes. Their business is growing and brand owners are coming back to them for more.”

Plenz also announced that the second Primefire will go out in December this year to Colordruck Baiersbronn in Germany, and the next one in March 2018. “As promised two years ago, we ramped up production of the machine, and are absolutely in plan to complete the production slots for the press,” he said.

The Primefire is sold out based on our production plan, but Plenz informed that the company is pushing production to ramp it up to increase it by 50%. “The interest of customers is rather big but nevertheless, we will keep the quality level to where it is, and deliver as scheduled in our production plan.” About 90% of the current pipeline had been sold to packaging printers, and within that 20% were pharma specialists.

The 2,500sph industrial level press uses 175 Fuji Dimatix Samba printheads in a 750x1060mm format size. The press is capable of producing 95% of Pantone colours with the control of more than 12-billion drops per sheet.


Emphasising on the quality of the output and the robustness which comes from the Speedmaster XL 106 platform it is based on, Plenz said, we control of the heads, the ink supply and the compensation on our own, so that in the end of the pile there are only good sheets. “I can’t imagine boxes having white lines. In our discussion with customers, quality comes first. So if you want 500 good sheets, you will have that many at the end.”

The two-day Packaging event concluded with plant visit to the MPS facility in Obersulm, Germany for the live demonstration of the Primefire following the event at Print Media Centre; and on the next day to Acket Drukkerij Kartonnage in Oss, the Netherlands for the Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106 Push To Stop demonstration; and to Smart Packaging Solutions in Meer, Belgium for the Heidelberg Speedmaster 162 large-format press.