Ricoh Emerges as Heidelberg Digital Partner

Last week I noted that Heidelberg would soon announce a new hybrid offset/digital solution which “is expected to team a Heidelberg Speedmaster SM 52 with a digital color output device in the 80 to 90 ppm range—presumably from a current digital vendor.” We now know that the digital vendor is Ricoh and the digital device is their Ricoh Pro C901 Graphic Arts Edition. We also know where you can first see that solution – at the digi:media trade show in Dusseldorf. I’m not planning on packing my bags to get to the April show, but am interested in what the reaction will be to this new hybrid approach from Heidelberg. As I noted last week, this idea of paring digital and offset devices is nothing really new. In fact vendors from both sides of the aisle have touted the value of “co-existence” in the print shop. However, this is the first instance I know of where a major offset vendor has bundled an existing digital device from another vendor into a single hybrid offering. The new solution has been dubbed HEI Flexibility, a continuation of the rather odd “HEI” taglines of recent years. According to Heidelberg, “The Ricoh Pro C901 Graphic Arts Edition digital press will be an integral part of the live production at the booth and its flexible interaction with the Speedmaster SM 52 Anicolor sheet-fed offset press will show the opportunities and benefits that cross-technology print production can bring.” My next question for Heidelberg is will we see this new offering at Graph Expo this fall? This would be a good reason for Heidelberg to jump back into the U.S. tradeshow game after last year’s absence.