Some call it “the fourth Industrial Revolution.” Others prefer “Industry 4.0.” By either name, it’s a transformation that’s sweeping every sector of manufacturing, and Heidelberg has solutions that can put its customers in the forefront of driving this transformation in printing.

In this kind of print manufacturing, the essential raw material isn’t paper or ink. It’s data—data that connects machines to machines, machines to plant environments, plant environments to management systems, and management systems to customers. Each step of the process generates data, and all of it is captured and analyzed with one objective in mind: to make the entire manufacturing sequence as efficient and as profitable as it can be.

A printing plant operating in this way always knows where to find and how to stay within the “sweet spot” of production. This is the precisely defined set of manufacturing conditions in which production can take place at the lowest possible cost. Hitting this “sweet spot” leads to a significant advantage: ultracompetitive market pricing with the highest margins in the sector.

Only plants monitoring continuous streams of information about their cost structures and equipment utilization can maximize their profits in keeping with the new rules of Industry 4.0. The good news is that Heidelberg offers every printing and packaging operation an Industry 4.0-compliant toolkit to approach it.

Heidelberg has been marching toward Industry 4.0 ever since it first introduced HD_Icon_Automated_Processes_RGB_144dpiPrinect, its software architecture for digitally integrated manufacturing, in 2000. Prinect eliminates touch points, friction, and waste wherever it is applied. This builds a transparent environment in which profit can be tracked not just job by job, but across each operation and the process as a whole.

As its printing and packaging customers prepare themselves to enter Industry 4.0, it is no longer enough for Heidelberg to be only a provider of stand-alone production machinery. Now, integration services have equal importance in the portfolio, along with consumable supplies and business consulting assistance.

Industry 4.0 isn’t an abstraction or a buzzword. Think of an automobile assembly line, honed, tested and driven by data to ensure maximum efficiency, where nothing in the process is altered without offline testing to ensure improvement in the entire production output. This approach should be a reality that printers can welcome, implement, and reap rewards from. Stand by—there will be more to come from Heidelberg on the subject.