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May 2001
Heatset web offset press manufacturers tackle burning issues


Less waste, shorter runs and labor shortages are all issues that commercial printers who use heatset web offset presses must contend with on a daily basis. These issues, coupled with customer demands for better quality and lower costs, can quickly put web printers in the hot seat. It's enough to make anyone start to sweat.

In response, heatset web offset press manufacturers are coming to the rescue, finding ways to put out the flames and respond effectively to these age-old problems. Several heatset web offset manufacturers were interviewed by Printing Impressions to discuss how they are working to address their customers' evolving needs.

For RDP Marathon's perfecting presses, meeting printers' needs are at the forefront in terms of the design, according to Eric Short, president. "Clients for heatset web presses are looking for a wide range of configurations and specifications. As a result of the need for flexibility, RDP Marathon's perfector series of presses are designed with the ultimate degree of flexibility, starting with variable-size cylinder repeat inserts," Short explains.

"Customers can specify a press for 18˝, 213⁄4˝, 223⁄4˝ and accomplish all of these repeats in one press. The variable-size inserts can be purchased initially or planned for the future. Because the perfector presses are offered optionally with variable-size signature folder, variable-size sheeter or variable-size in-line finishing line, the customer has ultimate flexibility for future market decisions," he says.

RDP Marathon isn't the only manufacturer looking to address client concerns in their press designs. Didde Web Press integrated client feedback in the design of its Excalibur press.

"Today, clients are demanding increased speeds and as much in-line finishing as possible, so as not to dramatically reduce the production speed of the press," states Allen Watts, marketing and sales director.

"Didde's goal is to provide our customer competitive advantage in producing all types of end products and at various run lengths. The Excalibur design is focused on six major areas: technology integration, consistent print quality, in-line processing, job throughput, press operation and waste elimination," Watts explains. The Excalibur features high run speeds—up to 48,675 iph—with consistent print quality and a wide assortment of finishing options to provide a highly productive manufacturing cell for growing printers, he claims.

Didde has also developed a control system to provide press operators with a tool to minimize makeready times and paper spoilage, while providing consistently higher quality printed products from the first saved sheet to the end of the job. All press functions are controlled from the console, including ink and water balance. Job run settings can be saved and retrieved, notes Watts, to allow for very fast, repetitive makereadies.


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