Heidelberg: Versafire EP is 'pinnacle' of digital production

Heidelberg has unveiled the latest high-volume, high-performance entry in its digital printing portfolio, the Versafire EP.

The EP offers a number of enhancements over the Versafire CP, which it replaces, and joins the recently announced Versafire EV. The EP is a four-colour-only machine, intended as a high-volume production printer for longer runs, while the EV has the option of five colours and is well suited to creative applications, according to Heidelberg.

Based on the Ricoh Pro C9200, also launched this week, the new machine will be available to European markets in June. Described as a “mid- to high-end” printer, its capabilities will place it in a price range competing with the HP Indigo and Xerox iGen families, according to Heidelberg digital printing equipment business manager Chris Matthews.

Its capabilities include taking a banner size of 1,030mm in duplex and 1,260mm in simplex on substrates up to 450gsm. Two different models can print at either 115 or 135 A4 pages per minute and an automatic inline calibration system maintains colour consistency.

Matthews said: “The Versafire EP presents something that the 'B1' market has never seen before. Because of the stock weights it can take, it could open up possibilities for short run packaging and prototyping, alongside banner printing capacity like no other digital printer.

“Heidelberg has been in partnership with Ricoh since 2011. They manufacture the machines and we are increasingly contributing to the research and development, including developing the EP’s side lay capabilities which allow for great registration control and can accommodate migration away from offset for commercial printers.

“This sort of technology is mostly driven by consumer demand and we have been talking to our customers about what they wanted to see in the next Versafire. This is the pinnacle of our digital printing technology at the moment.”

Customers can purchase the Versafire EP configured to their own specifications, with Matthews predicting that every machine sold will be “bespoke” to the user. Augmentations include extra feeders, high capacity stackers and inline bookletmaking.

It features Heidelberg’s Prinect Digital Front End (DFE), as is standard on Versafire machines.