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Heidelberg opens new digital R&D innovation centre

December 17, 2018  By PrintAction Staff

Photos: Heidelberg

The new Innovation Center (IVC) of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) for the graphic arts industry is now “open for innovation” at the Wiesloch-Walldorf site in Germany. By opening the new Innovation Center, Heidelberg is looking to accelerate the digital transformation at print shops and its own company.

The new IVC is the headquarters of a European development network operated by Heidelberg that also includes sites in Kiel, Ludwigsburg, Weiden (Germany) and St. Gallen, Switzerland. The network as a whole pools the talents of close to 1,000 developers working in the fields of printing technology (including prepress and postpress), control and drive systems, software including operator interfaces, and consumables.

“The digitization 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 Center plays a key role in safeguarding the future of Heidelberg and the entire industry in a number of ways,” explains Stephan Plenz, member of the Heidelberg Management Board responsible for Digital Technology. “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.”


Heidelberg says it spends about five percent of sales – currently around €135 million – on development activities. 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.

In addition, various teams of developers are working on the Smart Print Shop – where all print shop processes are digitized – and on the further expansion of digital business models – such as Heidelberg Subscription – under which customers are increasingly paying for the benefits a system offers them.

“Our customers are channeling all their energy into digitization, including the possibilities for producing customized digital printing applications in the three traditional areas of commercial, packaging, and label printing on an industrial scale that optimizes costs,” says Frank Kropp, Head of Research & Development at Heidelberg. “The digitization of all value-adding processes also opens the way for new business models and enhanced overall efficiency to maintain and improve competitiveness.”

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