Print media service providers today face a dynamic and challenging market characterized by shorter run lengths and customer demand for high-quality, flexible, low-cost solutions. Companies intending to succeed in this environment must optimize their business models by using market trends to their advantage. Accordingly, Heidelberg has extended its digital portfolio with emphasis on affordable, high-quality production solutions for the entry-level market. Several new machines from EFI Rastek, EFI VUTEk and Ricoh are included in the current launch.
“The additions to our digital press portfolio represent not only the strength of our partnership with Ricoh and EFI-VUTEk, but also the convergence of sheetfed offset and digital in harmonious balance, enabling commercial printers to meet their customers’ demands for a variety of applications and run lengths—and doing so profitably,” said Dan Maurer, Vice President, Digital Print and Postpress Product Management, Heidelberg USA. “Color management by Heidelberg adds another important dimension by ensuring image accuracy and quality of the highest caliber and helping printers become valued business partners with their print buying customers.”
On-Ramp to Higher Profits
In mid-2011, Heidelberg entered into a partnership with EFI VUTEk to become a distributor of the EFI VUTEk GS Series of hybrid UV superwide inkjet machines for rigid and roll-to-roll printing. The partnership was intended to help commercial print businesses capitalize on the high-margin opportunities of grand-format applications and achieve higher levels of competitiveness, profitability, and growth by offering more flexibility to their clients. Building on the market success of the Heidelberg-supplied, GS series printers, the current launch adds the EFI Rastek H650/652 and Rastek T1000, in addition to the VUTEk QS2000, QS 3220, QS 3250r, GS3250LX LED and the TX 3250r textile machines.
The new, affordably priced, entry-level Rastek H650/652 machines are UV-equipped and designed to deliver photographic image quality (4-color plus white ink, up to 1200x900 dpi) at speeds to 455 ft2 or up to 9.5 4ft x 8ft boards per hour. Printers can deliver faster service while expanding their service portfolios and leaving a smaller footprint on the environment, leading to increased customer satisfaction and higher profits. These multi-purpose printers handle a wide range of flexible and rigid media by means of a versatile vacuum belt media transport system. White Ink is standard with CMYK.? The EFI Rastek T1000 UV flatbed printer will be of interest to printers targeting traditional signage and specialty markets where high-definition image quality is essential. The T1000 offers a resolution of 1200x900 dpi with CMYK plus white ink support on rigid media, with no reduction in print speed (480/ ft²hr) for white ink.? Both the H Series and T series Rasteks employ variable drop piezo electric heads that vary drop size on the fly from pixel to pixel.?This applies high quality where required, saves ink by optimizing coverage, and increases overall speed.
EFI’s affordably priced, VUTEk QS series printers are built for high productivity and reliability at a cost-effective price. The hybrid QS 2000 (2 meters) and QS 3220 (3.2 meters) UV machines for flatbed and roll-to-roll applications deliver high print quality and fast, continuous production speeds for printers dealing with tight deadlines and demanding customers.? Both come with print resolutions up to 1080 dpi, offer 4- or 6-color imaging and a special channel for white ink, and print up to 750 ft²/hr on a variety of flexible and rigid substrates up to two inches thick, enabling printers to sell more premium-priced services. The 3.2 meter roll-to-roll QS 3250r enables printers to tap high-margin applications such as outdoor and fleet graphics. This machine delivers exceptional quality at speeds to 1,850 ft² or 38 4ft x 8 ft boards/hr, providing resolution up to 1080 dpi and up to 8-color imaging for crisp four-point text and eye-popping color.
Wider Range of Material Options
For digital textile work, the solvent-based VUTEk TX3250r prints in high quality on polyester materials. The dye-sublimation process produces brighter colors than other textile printing methods, is completely odorless, and produces images that can be washed and dried without wrinkling, folded without leaving marks, and reused. Printers serving the signage market will be able to diversify their materials offerings and convert traditional vinyl signage to products with lower shipping costs and a customer-pleasing greener footprint.
Heidelberg’s partnership with EFI VUTEk is intended to support commercial printers in growing their core businesses by offering flexible solutions and achieving tighter alignment with their client base. By adding digital wide- and grand-format technology to its portfolio, Heidelberg gives printers the ability to complete the high-margin jobs—posters, banners, backlit signage, outside displays, as well as specialty fine art reproduction, fabric and upholstery decorating and package prototyping—services and products that their customers used to go elsewhere to buy.
All VUTEk and EFI Rastek equipment is serviced by Heidelberg and (optionally) integrated via Prinect Color Toolbox, Heidelberg’s full-spectrum solution for multi-process color management.
Sheetfed Offset Quality in A Short-Run Digital Solution
Heidelberg, which began supplying the Ricoh Pro C901 Graphic Arts Edition press last year, also has expanded its cooperation with Ricoh, adding the Ricoh Pro C651EX/C751EX/C751 digital presses for short runs to its portfolio of cut-sheet digital solutions. These new color production-class machines offer the latest technology platform in electrophotographic color presses to deliver high quality and stability from the first sheet in a job to the last. Technologies include: chemically prepared toner, 4800 dpi image quality with VSCEL (Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser) technology, oil-less belt fusing, and TCRUs (Customer Replaceable Units), which enable operators to quickly replace eight key imaging components, including the fusing unit, charger roller and paper feed rollers. Clean sheet paper handling includes active image-to-sheet registration resulting in an outstanding 0.5mm on a 13x19” sheet and stocks up to 300 gsm. These models represent a significant value for commercial printers in need of a flexible, powerful production printer that delivers high-quality color output, maximum throughput, and high uptime. For even greater productivity and cost-effectiveness on shorter-run jobs, an assortment of robust time- and labor-saving in-line finishing options is available.
Building on Heidelberg’s 2011 launch of the Ricoh Pro C901, these digital color presses give printers the ability to produce near-sheetfed offset quality work on a wide variety of stocks commonly used in commercial printing. Advanced technology ensures stable image quality and maximum productivity at an affordable price point and lower operating cost.
To facilitate the handling of both traditional and digitally printed materials, commercial printers also can look forward to further expanding the range of finishing applications they can offer to their customers with Heidelberg’s DG Creaser, 714XA/XLT; USA B20 Stahlfolder SPS (slit, perf, score); as well as POLAR’s forthcoming line of cutters with operator guidance and networking, Eurobind EB600/1300 adhesive binder, and versatile, affordable KAMA die cutting and folder-gluing equipment.
Best of Both Worlds at Your Fingertips
As of drupa 2012, all of Heidelberg’s short-run, cut-sheet digital print solutions for the commercial printing sector will be grouped under the name Heidelberg Linoprint C. The Linoprint C series will be presented with Heidelberg’s new Prinect Digital Print Manager, which enables print shops to manage and calculate both their offset and digital print jobs from a single workflow. This powerful solution provides users with a highly efficient, transparent digital print workflow with a wide range of functions, including variable data management, postpress with digital inline finishing systems, and a document-oriented workflow. Printers that implement these solutions will benefit from the interlinking of offset and digital printing to boost their competitiveness. Heidelberg also will show printers how they can use their integrated Prinect workflow to route jobs quickly to the most cost-efficient production equipment. Optional integration into the entire Prinect print shop workflow gives users access to functions such as job planning and costing, standardized color management via Prinect Color Toolbox, as well as end-to-end management and production control. Users will enjoy unprecedented flexibility, optimized production, and significant added value, compared with rival systems.