Print industry in the times of COVID-19

Heidelberg presents Print Media Industry Climate Report

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Heidelberg
Print Media Industry Climate Report

Heidelberg presented its Print Media Industry Climate Report to the public for the first time. The company provides weekly updates on the development of print volumes in the packaging and label printing and commercial printing market segments. The representative basis of the anonymized data is formed by around 5,000 selected offset presses of all format classes at customers worldwide who are connected to the Heidelberg Cloud. The current data for around 50 countries per segment is determined from this and displayed on a world map. The colors shown on the country map are indicators of how the estimated current production in print shops is compared to the previous year. The scale ranges from 1 (serious impact of COVID-19 on production) to 8 (production above last year’s level), with 7 representing production at last year’s level.

“With the Print Media Industry Climate Report we have our finger on the pulse of our customers,” said Rainer Hundsdörfer, chief executive officer of Heidelberg. “The weekly climate in the print industry was developed to support print shops during the Corona pandemic in particular. It is important for all participants in the printing industry to understand which market segments and countries are currently most affected. The basis for this added value is the extensive data pool of our cloud, to which almost all newly delivered presses are connected. We publish this information without access restrictions in order to set an example for the industry and are happy to exchange information with printing associations and partners worldwide. Together we are mastering this crisis”.

Heidelberg’s estimates provide a timely representative picture of the current state of the print media industry and indicate where priorities and efforts are needed to support those involved in the industry.

The most important findings of the past four weeks were:

During the corona pandemic, print production in China fell by up to 80% compared to normal volumes, but recovered as the infection curve fell and is now back to last year’s levels in both the commercial and the packaging/label segments.

The packaging and the label segment is very stable in the corona period, mainly due to the increasing demand for food and pharmaceutical packaging. Nevertheless, local supply problems such as the discontinuation of paper production in India are having a negative impact on this segment in some countries.

While print production in all other countries was stable until mid-March 2020 and was above the level of previous years, the outbreak of the corona pandemic and the shutdown in the countries has led to a significant reduction in print volume worldwide, especially in the commercial market.

With the PMI Climate Report, the Heidelberg Digital Unit, which was founded in 2018, is making its data science capabilities available. Heidelberg customers can monitor the productivity of their presses in the Heidelberg Assistant. The new Heidelberg Performance Benchmark presented at the drupa press conference provides Heidelberg customers with detailed insights into the position of their presses.

Heidelberg Cloud – extensive IIoT network in the print media industry

By applying the connectivity solution in a single cloud for all product lines and increasing the connection rate of all newly delivered products, the Heidelberg cloud continues to grow. In FY 2019-20, over 13,000 presses and 25,000 Prinect modules will be connected to Heidelberg via IIoT. IIoT networking is becoming increasingly important for all Heidelberg business processes and the use of the database.

  • Every month, over 4,000 remote sessions on machines are used to resolve service issues.
  • More than 4 million data records are transferred from machines and Prinect every month as measured values.
  • In addition, 2 TB of data from machine logs and file transfers are transferred every month.
  • As PMI’s comprehensive benchmark database, the HDCloud contains anonymized data from 50 million print jobs.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Indian Printer and Publisher’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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