“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.

For Heidelberg Web Systems—the largest heatset web press supplier—the key issue for customers has gone beyond the concerns of minimizing waste and the trend toward shorter runs. Today’s commercial printer is interested in increasing the value proposition of print, reports Greg Norris, marketing communications manager. That means making print more competitive with other media and more attractive to advertisers, publishers and consumers.

“Consequently, we are focused on press technology that allows printers to increase print quality, productivity and product personalization, while decreasing turnaround times, waste and the overall unit cost of printed products, Norris says. “It’s important to realize that the Internet and electronic media are not displacing the demand for web printing; if anything, they are increasing demand.

“However, these media have significantly changed the competitive environment. They have trained consumers to expect personalized, real-time communication,” he reveals. “To remain competitive, web printers will continue to require press technology that allows more versatility, more product personalization, faster productivity and lower costs.”

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