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ON THE ROAD -- Swiss Make History

July 2003
Stämpfli becomes first user of heatset

version of MAN Roland DICOweb press

By Chris Bauer

BERN, SWITZERLAND—Throughout history, the world has witnessed many firsts—Neil Armstrong taking man's first steps on the moon; Jackie Robinson becoming the first black player in major league baseball; and Charles Lindbergh making the first solo non-stop transatlantic flight quickly come to mind.

Hoping to make a bit of history of its own—although admittedly not on the same scale as the aforementioned events—Stämpfli, a sixth-generation, family owned commercial printer here in the Alps-shadowed Swiss capital, has installed the world's first heatset version of the MAN Roland DICOweb press.

A contingent of more than 20 international trade journalists visited the company's new $24 million, 140,000-square-foot facility in late April. The new plant houses the DICOweb, three sheetfed presses and a toner-based digital printing system.

DICOweb is a lithographic system that prints without plates. It uses an imaging cylinder that's laser imaged, then erased, then reimaged so the press can print job-after-job directly from digital data, without the need for time-consuming plate changes.

The 16-page DICOweb that's running at Stämpfli sports four double printing couples and can produce at the rate of 11.4 ft./sec. The drying unit is from MEGTEC Systems, while the in-line finishing gear used is from MBO. It is the first web press—and first press with in-line finishing—the Swiss company has purchased.

According to company board member Peter Stämpfli, having a variety of printing systems under one roof enables his crews to better match the workflow to the job at hand. In fact, Stämpfli finds that many projects benefit from combination production, with one element run on sheetfed, another on toner-based systems and yet another on the DICOweb.

"The customer wants a certain product in a certain quality and with timely availability," Stämpfli notes. "In finding the right production solution, the staff's competence and ability to cooperate are decisive criteria. In addition, networking with the customers is necessary in order to enable us to make the publication processes efficient and to standardize them."

All About Marketing

Interestingly, Stämpfli feels that the marketing of the unit is the important part of the production equation. "It's all about the marketing—and a little bit about technology," he says.

Stämpfli takes the client communication component quite seriously. Since installing the DICOweb, he has conducted nine workshops with more than 60 customers to work out new integrated solutions. His objective: to analyze and improve the overall production of specific jobs jointly with the customer. The focus, he says, is not so much on the technology as it is on the process.

In many of the workshops Stämpfli found out that, for certain customers, personalization isn't a requirement. They're more concerned with dividing a long run into smaller segments, to better reach targeted groups.

Such segmented runs are one of the strengths of the DICOweb. Material costs for plates and for their processing, storage and disposal are eliminated. A complete makeready takes about 20 minutes, while a form change within a job can be accomplished in just 15.

Another strength of the system is the ability to produce runs of as small as 500 to 3,000 copies. Extended editorial and ad deadlines are another part of the DICOweb story at Stämpfli. The company's publication customers are being informed that it is now possible to integrate new advertising or editorial pages up to one hour before run time.

The next commercial heatset DICOweb installation is set for MohnMedia AG in Gutersloh, Germany. Both heatset and coldset versions of the DICOweb are now available in North America.

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