Heidelberg officially opened the new assembly hall - Hall 11 - at the Wiesloch-Walldorf site. The hall measures 35,000 square meters (375,000 square feet) - equivalent to almost five soccer fields - and will be used to assemble a new generation of large-format presses, the Speedmaster XL 145 and Speedmaster XL 162.
Heidelberg invested around Euro45m in this assembly hall, making it the largest input of funds into the Wiesloch-Walldorf site for the last ten years. It is actually the 50th anniversary of the site, which was first established in 1957.
The new presses will support sheets twice the format of existing Heidelberg presses and can produce up to 40 A4 pages on the front and reverse sides of a single sheet. The Speedmaster XL 145 and XL 162 will be officially launched to the world at drupa next May, but production of the new presses is due to start with two weeks.
Rautert, Management Board Member for Engineering and Manufacturing at Heidelberg says, "With the new format
classes, we are looking to tap into new markets and, in particular, reinforce
our commitment to packaging printing.
Heidelberg says the assembly hall provides state-of-the-art logistics and world-leading series production for presses. The architecture of Hall 11 matches the products manufactured in Wiesloch-Walldorf - the entire hall being designed like a press, with paper feeder, printing units, and paper delivery. Heidelberg's image provided the inspiration for the architecture in Hall 11, emphasising the quality of the presses produced there and the company's commitment to innovation.
The large size sheetfed press market was dominated by MAN Roland until the early 1990s, when then CEO Martin Lange took the fateful decision to pull out of super-sized sheetfed, believing the trend was for smaller presses. This proved not to be the case as KBA, at that time emerging from the shackles of its East European heritage, moved straight in to manufacturing the big presses, quickly racking up sales around the world, and using its large presses as a beachhead to establish its B1 and B2 press sales operations. Roland moved back into large format five years ago with the Roland 900. Now Heidelberg's entrance will give printers a wider choice still of large format presses.