A hybrid label press will be the first fruit of Heidelberg’s partnership with Fujifilm, and more inkjet products are on the way including “industrialised” sheetfed presses that appear likely to take on Benny Landa’s Nanography head-on. And in a move into a completely new area for Heidelberg, a “4D” system for printing onto three-dimensional objects will be delivered to key customer Flyeralarm in Germany later this year.

The manufacturer provided what it described as a “sneak peek” into its digital plans at an event at its German headquarters this week. Five months ago the firm announced a partnership with Fujifilm over inkjet.

The move represented the next step for Heidelberg following the 2011 deal with Ricoh that has seen Heidelberg install more than 400 Ricoh-engined devices under its Linoprint brand.

Chief executive Gerold Linzbach reiterated the $274m-plus medium-term sales target for digital, meaning the company expects to effectively triple its existing sales through a raft of new products in the digital space.

“Less than a year ago the board made a decision regarding digital, and less than a year from now for sure we will have the first [inkjet] machines ready,” Linzbach stated.

“Heidelberg has changed a lot. We changed our business portfolio and we understand what digital means. And it is all wrapped under the paradigm that it has to be economically sensible for our customers and also for us.”

The fresh strategy for inkjet developments in various market areas comes under the umbrella name of Synerjetix. And a newly-established advisory council will help guide Heidelberg’s developments by providing independent feedback.  Heidelberg senior vice president of digital print Jason Oliver, who is leading the digital push after joining just over a year ago from EFI Jetrion, said: “We are bringing in some ‘sherpas’ in digital printing. We are entering some tough terrain, they are familiar with the landscape and will help us through it.”