Heidelberg has launched its new development centre project at its Wiesloch-Walldorf site.
The “innovation hub”, which will open in 2018, will function as Heidelberg’s main R&D operation, with a major focus on digitisation and automation. By 2018, all Heidelberg operations will have been moved over to Wiesloch-Walldorf. Total investment in the project will be around €50m (£42m).
The centre is now in its final planning stage and the one-and-a-half-year long building process will begin soon. It is being jointly overseen by the R&D team and facilities management team.
A spokesman for Heidelberg said: “Two years ago we started the project to move central functions from Heidelberg to Wiesloch Walldorf. The first organisation was the headquarters and central functions like HR, finance and sales, which finished at the beginning of 2015. The second step is R&D.
“Our major objective is to improve our processes so that we have services, R&D and production at one site, within a short distance. What we will optimise and improve are the processes, building on a whole area and saying, ‘How should we organise it internally to improve research levels?’ This shows the commitment of Heidelberg on the location and on the industry.
“The hub will focus more and more on the topic of digitisation, we spend half of R&D money already on digital and digitisation projects and the focus will be there in the future.”
The 1,000 employees currently working at Heidelberg’s central site will be transferred over to Wiesloch-Walldorf to work in the hub. There are currently 4,000 employees at Wiesloch-Walldorf.
A number of employees currently located at Heidelberg’s Print Media Academy will also move over, and Heidelberg will have fully vacated this building when its lease ends in 2019.
Plans for the new centre were announced on 25 November at a launch event at the site, attended by Theresia Bauer, minister of science, research and the arts for the state of Baden-Württemberg, and recently appointed Heidelberg chief executive Rainer Hundsdörfer.
“Feedback from the politicians was great, they see that Heidelberg is looking into new technologies and of course I think they are happy to see in two years what has happened here at Wiesloch,” added the spokesman.
Last month, Heidelberg reported across-the-board improvements in its 2016 Q2 results, citing a strong Drupa order book as responsible.