Press giant Heidelberg has diversified its business, amking a move into manufacturing charging devices for electric vehicles.

The first of these, the Heidelberg Wallbox Home Eco, launched recently on to the market. A stationary charging device, the Wallbox has fuse protection and integrated fault current detection. Customers can adjust the charging power in a range extending to 11 kW. Heidelberg says the box needs no maintenance or servicing. It sees the Wallbox Home Eco as a basic entry-level model and has plans for further versions, including a premium product.

The company began marketing the Heidelberg Wallbox Home Eco in June and sells the product via online platforms and specialist retailers in Germany only. Wallbox Home Eco has a CE-compliant design. Comparable solutions from Heidelberg have proved a success, with over 20,000 Wallboxes for the electric cars of a premium manufacturer and over 100,000 smart charging cables manufactured to customer specifications.

One of Heidelberg’s press customers, Stuttgart-based Kohlhammer Group. recently moved into electric driven vehicles and uses the Wallbox from Heidelberg. Kohlhammer has enjoyed a close customer-supplier relationship with Heidelberg in the print part of its business.

A large media service provider, Kohlhammer has numerous customers in the city centre and surrounding area. Kohlhammer delivers to these customers self and its employees regularly travel between the print shop and the Kohlhammer headquarters. Özkan Meral, technical manager at Kohlhammer, says, “When it comes to print production, we’ve long been focusing on sustainability. The ongoing discussion on driving bans, especially in our region, has led us to recognise that there is a need for action if we want to offer our customers the usual service quality and secure our logistics location in the future as well  “The fact that Heidelberg, of all people – our longstanding supplier and partner in the printing sector – was looking to launch a charging device for electric vehicles initially surprised us, but this then gave our own plans an additional boost. After all, we know from experience that anything Heidelberg launches onto the market stands for quality and reliability.”

Kohlhammer will continue to gradually expand its fleet of electric vehicles. It has five Wallboxes at its headquarters and print shop and it allows customers and visitors to charge their electric vehicles for free. Meral adds, “Our staff were impressed right from the outset and really appreciate the agile and stylish compact cars and the user-friendly Wallbox.

“The range is perfectly okay, and in urban traffic they can use bus lanes and parking spaces reserved for electric vehicles, which saves time – and a lot of hassle, too. We no longer worry about driving bans. We also see increasing numbers of customers driving electric cars, and they enjoy using our free charging facility.”

When the GFC hit hard, a decade ago, Heidelberg suffered massive financial hits along with the other major press manufacturers. At the time, many print pundits believed Heidelberg could easily turn its expertise in press technology to work in other industries. So it has proved, though no one predicted charging units for electric vehicles.

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