Heidelberg launches new Research & Development Center

heidelbergrdcenter-inHeidelberg has launched its new development center project at the company’s Wiesloch-Walldorf site in Germany. By 2018, the center for around 1,000 workers will be home to “the world’s most state-of-the-art research facility for the printing industry,” said the company. Heidelberg is investing about €50 million in the new innovation hub. The OEM added that “this will create the number one competence centre in the printing industry, which has a global annual turnover of around €400 billion – a figure that’s increasing. This investment represents a new beacon in Baden-Württemberg’s research landscape. Building a development center of this size and quality proves that Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG bases its decisions on a long-term strategy and makes the future worth looking forward to. We deliberately chose Baden-Württemberg because it combines an excellent environment with highly qualified experts. A modern and future-oriented working environment will be created in Wiesloch-Walldorf, designed to support interdisciplinary and cross-functional development processes.”

heidelbergrdcenter1-inA recent news release pointed out that, despite the difficult economic situation in recent years, the press manufacturer did not cut its research budget, focusing instead on developing new products and services. It went on to add: “The printing industry now requires new applications and control technologies. Alongside traditional offset printing, digital printing will also be part of the future and ensure that the sector enjoys continued growth. It caters in particular to the trend toward flexible and personalized extremely short runs. Digital 4D printing – the printing on three-dimensional objects made from all kinds of materials – also underscores this trend. It enables customized printing on glass, wood, plastic and other materials. Heidelberg is the first company to have developed a number of digital presses for industrial use.

What’s more, customers’ presses are networked with Heidelberg, which enables new services to be offered. As a result, maintenance work can be carried out and materials such as inks supplied promptly. Industry 4.0 is now part and parcel of Heidelberg, because speed is vital in both the offset and digital worlds. A further indication of the company’s transformation is the fact that there are now over 250 software specialists working there. And, in addition to the traditional areas of expertise, Heidelberg has also started employing chemists. For example, the company is now developing and producing its own environmentally friendly inks for numerous new applications.”

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.