Ricoh revealed as Heidelberg’s digital print partner

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Feb 24, 2011

Heidelberg has taken the wraps off the identity of its digital print partner and it is Ricoh, the second favourite in Jim Hamilton’s list of potential partners published last month, that has emerged victorious.

Under the agreement Heidelberg will sell one Ricoh product, the Pro C901 Graphic Arts Edition digital printer. This is a 90A4ppm machine with a duty cycle of 580,000 A4 pages per month.

Although it is a global agreement the first Heidelberg territories to sell the machine will be the UK and Germany, starting in April this year. The firm has already begun to gear up for digital sales in the UK with the appointment of Chris Matthews as Digital Equipment Manager earlier this year, who combines experience at Heidelberg and in digital printer sales.

Over the next year in the run up to drupa 2012 the arrangement will be rolled out to the rest of Heidelberg’s sales territories.

The two firms will officially unveil the partnership at the digi:media show in Dusseldorf in April, where Heidelberg will be showing a Pro C901 Graphic Arts Edition as part of an integrated hybrid print production system including web-based job submission, Prinect workflow, an Anicolor offset press and finishing.

For Heidelberg the deal provides its re-entry into the digital printer market with a product it can position as a complement to short run offset production rather than a rival.

For Ricoh it provides an additional step up into commercial print. The Pro C901 has already proved to be a very popular product that has started to gain the attention of commercial printers. The alliance with Heidelberg provides two things for the firm. Firstly a huge vote of confidence from the leading offset press supplier choosing to partner with it, which will strengthen its reputation with commercial printers. Secondly it provides an additional sales force to target that market.

Coincidentally, Konica Minolta, which was tipped by Jim as the favourite partner, has within a day of the Heidelberg/Ricoh announcement taken the wraps off its own arrangement with Kodak.

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