Heidelberg opens digital innovation centre

Heidelberg has converted a former production hall into an innovation centre in Germany, with the hope it will accelerate digital transformation within the industry globally.

The Innovation Centre in Wiesloch-Walldorf is the headquarters of a European development network that also includes other German sites in Kiel, Ludwigsburn and Weiden and a Swiss site in St Gallen.

The IVC comprises 13 sections and operates as a base for around 1000 developers who specialise in prepress, press and post press, printing technologies in offset, digital and flexo and control systems, workflows and consumables.

“The digitisation of the graphic arts industry is progressing at top speed and we are actively driving this process with our ‘Heidelberg goes Digital’ strategy, so our new Innovation Centre plays a key role in safeguarding the future of Heidelberg and the entire industry in a number of ways,” says Stephan Plenz, member of the Heidelberg Management Board responsible for digital technology.

“Our technology leadership is continuing to grow thanks to the unrivalled expertise of the centre’s highly skilled workforce of around 1,000.

“The Innovation Center is the new hub of our company and the future high-tech campus we are gradually creating at our Wiesloch-Walldorf site.

“We are increasing the speed of the entire industry’s digital transformation. The IVC’s proximity to our production operations also encourages an agile, multidisciplinary development process.”

Plenz says the new IVC is the number one competence centre for the global printing industry, which he says has a global turnover of €400bn.

Heidelberg says it spends five per cent of sales, around 135 million euros, on development to expand the industrial digital printing portfolio and in offset printing.

It is also further developing Push to Stop technology for autonomous printing that only requires human intervention in processes if the system is unable to deal with them itself.

Various developers are also working on the Smart Print Shop – where all print shop processes are digitised – and on the further expansion of digital business models such as Heidelberg Subscription.

Plenz says, “The numerous development projects focus on expanding the industrial digital printing portfolio and, in the area of offset printing, on further developing the Push to Stop technology for autonomous printing that only requires human intervention in processes if the system is unable to deal with these itself.”


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