Heidelberg has unveiled a new digital press for the growth market of digitally printed labels. This represents the next milestone in the company’s strategic realignment, particularly in terms of significantly expanding sales in the digital sector over the medium term.
The rapid progress in rolling out the digital strategy shows that the partnerships Heidelberg has nurtured with various suppliers are proving highly successful when it comes to developing new digital printing systems for industrial applications. For example, the Gallus Group, which was recently taken over in full by Heidelberg, held a customer event to present the forthcoming Gallus DCS 340 (DCS = Digital Converting System) digital label printing press, which is based on inkjet technology from Fujifilm.
Heidelberg and Gallus jointly developed the digital production system for industrial label printing in less than one year. Heidelberg is to manufacture the inkjet unit at its Wiesloch-Walldorf site, while the flexo and converting units for the new press will be produced at the Gallus plant in St. Gallen, Switzerland. The system is slated to enter series production in the coming year and will meet growing demand for the cost-effective production of short, medium, and versioned runs in label printing.
‘We are pursuing a growth strategy in our digital printing operations,’ said Heidelberg CEO Gerold Linzbach. ‘Today, less than twelve months after we started our collaboration with Fujifilm, we can stand alongside Gallus and unveil the first print-ready system. The only way to rapidly leverage growth potential in digital printing is through partnerships. This helps us get a lot closer to our medium-term sales targets in the digital sector.’
Having completed its takeover of Gallus Holding AG in the summer, Heidelberg has reinforced its commitment to the growth segment of digital label printing. Ferdinand Rüesch, former owner of Swiss-based Gallus Holding AG, supports the strategic realignment that Heidelberg is pursuing. With a total stake of around nine percent, he is the company’s biggest individual shareholder.
‘It was the right time to take this step. It is only by working with a strong partner such as Heidelberg that Gallus can overcome the long-term challenges facing digital printing in our sector and still make full use of the potential that is out there,’ said Rüesch.
The newly unveiled digital printing system has been designed for the self-adhesive labels market. The global print volume for these labels is growing by around four percent a year. Although only around five percent of this volume is printed digitally, this figure is rising rapidly. Indeed, digital printing is driving change in this highly promising market segment. It is anticipated that, in the medium term, just under half of the presses sold in this sector will be digital. By launching this new technology, Heidelberg and Gallus will be actively shaping change in the business models used in this segment and offering users a versatile and cost-effective solution.
‘Heidelberg has reached another milestone in its realignment in the digital sector. The next steps to develop additional digital printing systems as part of the collaboration with Fujifilm are already being taken,’ said Linzbach.
Figure 1 (from the left): World premiere – Stefan Heiniger, COO of the Labels division at Gallus, Heidelberg CEO Gerold Linzbach and anchor investor Ferdinand Rüesch, start up the new digital printing system for label printing, the Gallus DCS 340.
Figure 2: Heidelberg and Gallus jointly developed the Gallus DCS 340 digital label printing press in less than one year. It is designed to meet growing demand for the cost-effective production of short, medium, and versioned runs in label printing.