Heidelberg has acquired Belgian consumables company BluePrint Products, which is a major producer of founts and washes as well as other pressroom products and which delivers its eco-friendly range to over 60 countries.
At the same time as announcing this acquisition as part of an expansion of its consumables operations, Heidelberg is extending its Performance Plus service agreements to Europe following success with the roll out in the US. Performance Plus is described as a consultancy and implementation service that allows a printer to achieve optimum performance.
Heidelberg believes it can significantly lift output at some sites through improved workflows, operator skills and machine operation. The cost of this service can be proportionate to the savings achieved, enabling printers to take up the service confident that improvements will more than cover the cost says Heidelberg.
“We have moved from maintenance to performance in our support mindset,” says Harald Weimer, the board member responsible for sales and Heidelberg services. “Our latest remote monitoring technology takes preventative maintenance to a new level, increasing machine availability by 3 to 5%, and our Performance Plus service will allow companies to enhance output, improve quality and save money. It combines consultancy and service and recognises that even printers with the best technology can make Overall Equipment Efficiency improvements by analysing work patterns and implementing changes to improve processes, logistics and operator training.”
Heidelberg’s purchase of BluePrint marks the start of a more ambitious phase of acquisition as Heidelberg looks to increase its 5% market share of the €8 billion global graphic arts consumables market.
“It is six years since we bought Hi-Tech Coatings in the UK but it may not be so long before we acquire again. There is a list of targets and these are determined by the product range, geographical location and also the knowledge and expertise of the people,” says Weimer.
BluePrint is an established supplier of printing chemicals and provides Heidelberg with the means to supply and develop more general and bespoke products in the future. Its range includes web offset emulsions and cleaning chemicals for the flexo industry, neither of which Heidelberg participates in. It has developed a range of food safe products that will interest Heidelberg as packaging becomes more important to the company.
“We want to be perceived as the leading global supplier for consumables in the sheetfed industry and we will increase our €400 million sales in this area through acquisition, exclusive partnerships in different countries, by developing our e-commerce site next year from a simple online shop to an added value site with access to information and loyalty bonus systems. Our success also comes down to having the right product range and we have a great portfolio of products. Our Saphira Eco products, for example, meet the requirements of the most stringent eco-labels around the world without any compromise to quality,” says Weimer.
The portfolio includes new Saphira Low Migration, Saphira LE UV and Saphira Anicolor S100 and H100 inks.
In the UK about 25% of orders are generated through the online shop and a loyalty scheme is in place and here Heidelberg already claims to have over 5% market share of consumables. It faces competition from Manroland in the consumables are where owner Langley Holdings snapped up Druck Chemie as one of the largest pressroom chemicals providers. KBA is also able to offer consultancy services to help its customers optimise production.