15 March 2020 Analogue Printing Technologies

Heidelberg plans open platform for industry's digital transformation

Heidelberg is preparing for a future with data driven automation and AI technology based on an open technology cloud platform for print.

Heidelberg is moving to an open systems approach to enable third party applications and equipment to connect to the cloud based platform it had planned to introduce at Drupa.

The new approach will have a single sign on for all systems, uniform interfaces, machine captured data via the Internet of Things and automated inventory management with automatic ordering, to replenish Saphira consumables.

“It reflects the digital transformation sweeping across the printing industry,” says CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer. He explains that it means that Heidelberg will come up with the solutions to what its customers see as the pressing issues affecting them.

These issues, he says, are: “Complexity; how can I process increasingly complex orders in the shortest possible time, the growing expectations of customers and heavy price pressure. The difficulty in finding skilled people and attracting young people that are willing to work in the industry, so how can I achieve high quality and productivity regardless of who is operating the equipment.

“Competitiveness in the face of increasing global competition and 'how can I secure the future of my business, how can I differentiate myself and is there any chance to grow? And what does digitalisation mean for my business, that I need to communicate better with customers and manage my suppliers better’. It will be a firework of innovation.”

Those answers include further developments around the Push to Stop technology introduced at the last Drupa, the introduction of robot arms to load pallets with sections after folding, and increased levels of automation on the 2020 version of the Speedmaster XL106 B1 press. This includes Intellistart 3, means to manage spray powder, to increase or reduce water on the side of a plate, a new user interface and more.

It means too that Heidelberg is working on a new standardised data format that will be based around APIs to make integration with third party suppliers easier than it has been up to this point. “JDF never did work – we need a format that works and we are working on that with a few people and needs to be open.

Heidelberg will open up our interfaces to other MIS providers. We have the first partners involved and there will be other partners already supporting and using that platform by the time of Drupa.

“We want to help customers with a centralised platform where all business activities are processed. This will be the true revolution in the industry over the next few years.”

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Open platform for digital

Open platform for digital

Heidelberg will create an open platform for print as part of a mission to lead the digitalisation of the printing industry and had planned to show this at Drupa.

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