Burke Group signs first Heidelberg subscription contract in North America

Front row from left are: Ulrich Hermann, CDO at Heidelberg, and Ian Burke, CEO of the Burke Group. Back row from left are: Clint Ferner, Heidelberg Canada; Barry Burke and Carmen Rouselle from the Burke Group; and David Schmedding, Head of Corporate & Digital Business Development at Heidelberg.

The Burke Group of Edmonton, Alberta, a leading Canadian printer specializing in digital and offset printing, design, signage and mailing solutions, recently signed the first North American Heidelberg subscription contract “which will enable Burke to double their productivity and increase profit without the challenges that come with equipment ownership,” said Heidelberg. Through the subscription model, Heidelberg will provide everything Burke needs – including new Heidelberg equipment, Prinect software, Saphira consumables, parts, consulting, and service – all for a monthly fee that’s based on the number of printed sheets Burke produces each month. The cost-per-sheet charge was calculated by working with Burke to analyze its current operations and to predict what production levels can be expected once all Heidelberg components are in place. This helped establish a goal for Burke to increase overall production and decrease their total cost-per-sheet.

“Heidelberg has recognized that the printing industry is so much more than just selling a press every 5-7 years,” said Ian Burke, CEO of Burke Group. “They have the products, technology, service and people needed to help print shops succeed. With Heidelberg putting all of these components together in one subscription model, it really sets the stage for an excellent partnership. Rather than focusing on our press and equipment, we can now put our focus on our growth strategy, which is accomplishing faster turnaround times and producing more work. With all the equipment we’re installing with the subscription model, one of our goals is to produce perfect-bound books within 48 hours.”

Felix Mueller.

“With the subscription model, we’re sharing the opportunities and risks with our customers,” said Felix Mueller, President of Heidelberg Americas. “We’re providing everything the customer needs and simply selling productivity.” Burke’s subscription contract includes a new Speedmaster XL 106 8-colour perfector with coater and LE UV curing, a Stahlfolder TH 82-P with the high performance PFX pallet feeder, and a Polar N 137 cutting machine. Running 24 hours a day 7 days a week, Burke plans on running twice as much work through its shop because of their new equipment and partnership with Heidelberg. Replacing a competitive press, Burke’s Speedmaster XL 106 will join its Speedmaster SM 52 and Speedmaster SX 52 on the press floor. Because of the LE UV technology on the XL 106, all papers produced on the press will be able to go straight to postpress. Printing at speeds up to 18,000 sheets an hour, Burke found it crucial to have post-press equipment that’s just as efficient as their press.

“There are so many printing companies throughout the world that install a printing press that produces 16-18,000 sheets an hour, but then neglect to install post-press equipment to support the press,” Burke added. “Printing at peak productivity is the easy part. However, getting those pieces through post-press is more challenging. With our new Stahlfolder TH 82, we plan on having our post-press equipment just as productive as our press.” With speeds at 16,000 sheets per hour and over, the Stahlfolder TH 82-P with the PFX pallet feeder will improve Burke’s turnaround and make-ready times. With the PFX pallet feeder, one sheet exits a fold plate while the next one is entering it. This technology keeps the linear speed of the TH 82-P in a typical comfort zone of 160 m/min for consistent high quality folding. The TH 82-P is the first folder that matches the output of a modern sheetfed printing press, Heidelberg added.

The subscription contract also includes performance efficiency meetings in which the Heidelberg team analyzes Burke’s KPIs and compares them to other printers in the industry. During these meetings, both companies will agree on ambitious goals for Burke’s monthly or annual print productions in order to increase its productivity. “We believe in doing anything our client needs to succeed. We try to be with them throughout the entire process, and that’s exactly what Heidelberg is doing through the Heidelberg subscription model,” Burke pointed out. “When you have a partner like that, we’ll both end up being successful. Heidelberg is there for us well beyond just selling a highly productive press – they’re there to make sure we achieve all of our goals.”

About the Burke Group. The Burke Group was founded by H.W.B Douglas (as Douglas Printing) in 1902. In 2005, Ian and Shawna Burke purchased Douglas Printing, and the Burke Group was born. Since then, the company become a leader in the Canadian printing industry, growing and adapting with technology and business changes. Its four departments offer the latest in digital, offset and variable printing, design services, wide-format and signage, and mailing solutions. Through its streamlined communication process between these departments, it can offer clients seamless concept-to-completion print services.


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.