Forgive the hyberbole, but it seems our industry's press OEMs are in something of an "arms race" when it comes to digital press development and launches. In particular, I'm seeing a specific focus on the entry-level press targeting the first-time digital adopter.
As we go to press, I've just returned from Switzerland, where I was attending Gallus Innovation Days. It's a wonderful event, allowing visitors an opportunity to witness several demonstrations of many of the Heidelberg-owned manufacturer's label presses. Undoubtedly, the main attraction at this year's Innovation Days was the unveiling of the new Gallus Smartfire.
In introducing the new press, Michael Ring, head of digital solutions at Gallus, described the Smartfire as an easy, simple-to-operate solution. "It's a starter model for digital narrow web label printing aimed at ultra-short runs of under 300 meters. With the Gallus Smartfire, we are also focusing on new target groups who are looking for a smart entry into digital label printing."
Smartfire ticks several of the boxes that digital press holdouts have been clinging to. First, it offers inline finishing, preventing a would-be first-time digital adopter from bemoaning the fact that his or her company now has to also make a significant investment in a separate piece of finishing equipment. The Smartfire comes equipped with an inline converting system of a plotter, a semi-rotary diecutting unit, as well as matrix removal and a rewind system.
Second, both the training and press installation process takes place in just one week's time, it was noted, and the Smartfire parts are field-replaceable by Heidelberg within 48...