Heidelberg to launch new Speedmaster range and digital presses at Drupa

The German manufacturer opened this week’s Drupa International Media Conference in Düsseldorf by announcing the SX sheetfed offset range.

The Speedmaster SX range forms the manufacturer’s “performance class” of sheetfed presses, positioned between the standard SM range and its XL peak performance machines.

The SX range comprises the SX 52, SX 74 and SX 102, covering everything from small format up to a 70x100cm sheet size.

Stephan Plenz, board member for Heidelberg Equipment, said the move into this middle ground followed the success of the CX 102 press, which has sold 1,000 printing units since its launch at Ipex 2010.

He promised that Speedmaster SX presses would offer productivity improvements of up to 30% over their SM counterparts but at a lower price point than their XL cousins.

This uplift is thanks to XL technology, bringing increased production speed and reduced makeready times.

There are currently three beta machines installed at German printers, and Plenz said: “All presses will be available shortly after Drupa in all formats.”

Heidelberg also used its press conference to outline its digital ambitions.

The company’s digital offerings will be formalised under the brand ‘Linoprint’, a name it originally used for an inkjet packaging overprint machine revealed back in 2008.

The initial range will comprise two distinct digital technologies: an inkjet device developed following Heidelberg’s acquisition of CSAT last August, and two rebadged Ricoh machines – the Pro C901 and C751 – which are both toner-based digital colour devices.

The Ricoh-built machines will be sold under the moniker Linoprint C, standing for “commercial” printing.

Heidelberg was vague about what this will mean for its partnership with Konica Minolta, which is exclusive to Australia.

Plenz said: “We are in discussion with Konica Minolta to find a solution to that question.”

He added that while he was not saying the partnership would end, “I cannot promise it will continue”.

Heidelberg said it would bring “60 equipment and service innovations” to Drupa. It has already announced a perfecting version of its XL 105.

The manufacturer will dominate two halls of the Messe Düsseldorf, with Hall 1 devoted to its own products and Hall 2 featuring its partners.

Chief executive Bernhard Schreier said: “Essentially, we are building five different fully integrated print shops in Düsseldorf, in Hall 1.

“Heidelberg will again be the largest exhibitor at the trade show, and I promise you that the exhibits will be impressive.”

Drupa takes place in Düsseldorf, Germany on 3-16 May 2012.

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