HEIDELBERG’s Smart Print Shop & Workforce Development Initiatives Captivate Crowds at PRINTING United

Kennesaw, GA – Three years after the inaugural PRINTING United Expo, print industry professionals enthusiastically reunited at the Las Vegas Convention Center on October 19th. Drawing crowds of customers from across North America, HEIDELBERG USA’s booth featured an end-to-end modular Smart Print Shop – showcasing digital transformation across the entire manufacturing supply chain – and highlighted several initiatives the company is currently taking towards workforce development.

HEIDELBERG garnered attention with its new Speedmaster CX 104 equipped with IST UV. Featuring the latest sheetfed innovations, including the patented, navigated Push-to-Stop technology and new HEIDELBERG User Experience, the CX 104 not only offers a brand-new sheet size, but its advanced automation is designed to make operators’ jobs less physically demanding. The press was the focal point for HEIDELBERG’s presentations, which highlighted its Ecosystem of solutions that integrates People, Process, and Technology and is designed to take its customers’ businesses – regardless of size or segment – to the “Next Level.” To showcase the true flexibility of the press, HEIDELBERG produced 9 different jobs with 45 plate changes on the CX 104. The jobs were printed on a wide variety of substrates, including 100 lb. text and 16 pt. C1S board, and all were completed during a short 14-minute presentation.

“There was great enthusiasm from the industry for the live Smart Print Shop we had on the floor,” said Felix Mueller, President of HEIDELBERG North America. “While we can present these concepts at individual customer sites, nothing compares to seeing the full end-to-end connectivity in person – driven by our Prinect software.”

HEIDELBERG’s scalable Smart Print Shop also featured the Versafire EP digital press, POLAR N 137 PLUS cutter, and Stahlfolder 66 SSP. Each of these machines along with the CX 104 were connected via Prinect Production & Business Manager, which allows customers to centrally control each part of their production and business processes. “It was great to be back at a large show having meaningful conversations with our customers about their businesses,” said Mueller. “We saw heavy traffic at all of our product demonstrations and received multiple orders across our entire product portfolio.”

Continued Focus on Workforce Development

While much of the focus in HEIDELBERG’s booth was its new technology and process optimization, the company has also been working tirelessly on various initiatives to develop a new workforce for the print industry. At the show, HEIDELBERG presented a scholarship, its first of a five-year commitment, in the name of Thoro Packaging to Riverside Community College in Riverside, CA for its “Applied Digital Media and Printing” program. Jan Steiner, Former CEO of Thoro Packaging in Corona, CA, recently donated a Speedmaster SX 52 to the school. “Together with Jan, we hope the press and scholarship will help foster a new generation of print industry professionals,” said Clarence Penge, Executive Vice President of Product Management for HEIDELBERG USA. “Speaking with other companies and customers, it is evident that workforce development is an important topic for everyone.”

In addition to the scholarship for Riverside College, HEIDELBERG also donated $1.00 for every badge scan in its booth to SkillsUSA, a nonprofit national education association that serves middle-school, high-school and college/postsecondary students preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, which includes Graphic Communications. By the end of the show, HEIDELBERG was able to make a $2500 donation to SkillsUSA.

For customers seeking to develop their current workforce, HEIDELBERG has recently opened its Print Media Performance & Training Center, which offers training programs designed to build and grow the skills of current and future operators and print industry professionals. Seeing training as an industry critical need, HEIDELBERG will offer most of the classes to participants for free. HEIDELBERG hosted its first series of classes, Sheetfed Feeder Training, Quality Printing, Commercial Folder Basics, earlier this year with much success. The company has recently released its schedule of training classes through early 2023.

“We cannot focus all of our energy on innovating new technology while neglecting the most important part of the Ecosystem, People,” said Penge. “While PRINTING United put a spotlight on the importance of our workforce development, we need to continuously work on new programs for the benefit of our customers and our industry.”