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DRUPA 04 REPORT Sheetfed & Web Offset Printing -- No Rain on P

June 2004
By Mark Michelson

Editor-in-Chief

The rain may have made it a bit more difficult for visitors to maneuver between the 17 halls during the first week of the 14-day Drupa 2004 trade exhibition in Düsseldorf, Germany, last month, but that surely didn't dampen the spirits of the reported 394,000-plus attendees. Nor did it keep the 1,862 equipment, software and consumables exhibitors representing 52 nations from showcasing their latest R&D and product development efforts.

And while there may not have been any one "blockbuster" piece of equipment or technology that everyone at the show was buzzing about, there surely was an assortment of new product introductions—many that became commercially available at Drupa—as well as some future technology demonstrations that, in part, have become a hallmark of the Drupa tradition.

Whereas Drupa 1995 was called the "CTP Drupa," and Drupa 2000 the "Digital Drupa," this Drupa was hyped as the "JDF Drupa." Fittingly, most press manufacturer exhibits tried to illustrate the benefits of how JDF will enable true computer-integrated manufacturing throughout a printing plant using equipment from various manufacturers.

Perhaps the multi-vendor PrintCity exhibit in Hall 6 served as the best example of JDF being employed to complete entire jobs within a "Digital Smart Factory" of the future. As the press supplier for PrintCity, MAN Roland operated a selection of sheetfed presses in seven configurations, each corresponding to a different printing segment. A six-unit Rotoman 16-page heatset web press featured zero makeready imprinting, fully automatic plate loading, the QuickStart system, PECOM and ppi printnet network and control.

Showered With Sheetfeds

For sheetfed printers, MAN Roland highlighted its new EPL automated plate changing with diagonal register adjustment for the Roland 200; automated form changeover for the coating module on the Roland 500; higher speeds (16,000 sph) and quicker changeovers with the new QuickChange system available for the Roland 700; and a large-format, 73˝ Roland 900 XXL with a camera-monitored sheet travel system and MAN's InlineSlitter to produce two separate piles in the delivery.

As a future technology demonstration, a Roland 700 printing unit was shown with the Roland DirectDrive direct plate cylinder drive, which may some day make possible simultaneous plate changes and washup processes.

Also of high interest was the new Roland InlineFoiler Prindor cold foil laminating system equipped on a Roland 700 at the show. The system requires two printing units. In the first unit, the areas of the substrate where foil is to be applied are printed with a special glue by a conventional plate, and foil is then laminated to these areas in the second printing unit.
 

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