PRINT 05 Sheetfed/Web Offset presses -- Perfecting PersonifiedOctober 2005
And, since maximum rated speeds, dot reproduction and makeready enhancements are continuing to become more transparent from one sheetfed offset press manufacturer to the next, enhanced after-sale service and support programs that maximize uptime became a focal point for some vendors.
Heidelberg, for example, unveiled a new repair and maintenance program called systemservice 36plus, which now covers new press purchases (except for GTO and two-color Quickmasters) automatically for a period of 36 months.
The enhanced service package entails an annual press inspection by Heidelberg, which includes maintenance and full coverage of all repair services and parts for three years; Web-based remote diagnostic services; as well as 24/7 access to both expert team and online self-help support.
On their part, customers must commit to maintaining their new presses according to the manufacturer's maintenance checklist on a regular basis to receive the extended warranty. After 10, 20 and 30 months, a Heidelberg technician will conduct scheduled maintenance inspections.
MAN Roland's enhanced printservices program also promoted the importance of press uptime with its preventative maintenance and proactive repair program. Customers can enroll for different levels of coverage, from regular inspections, safety checks, cleaning and adjustments to full repairs and periodic press audits.
Another helpful component is MAN Roland's TelePresence remote sheetfed press diagnosis system, which garnered a 2005 PIA/GATF InterTech Technology Award. It functions as a trouble-shooting tool that enables MAN Roland technicians to examine and analyze press technical difficulties off-site via the Internet.
New Demo Center
Sporting a new name and a new emphasis from being thought of as a small press/ duplicator distributor into a larger format press organization, xpedx Printing Technologies also played up post-sale service by noting the localized technical support provided by its network of 50 Ryobi dealers. At PRINT 05, xpedx featured an eight-color (4/4), 29˝ Ryobi 758S UV perfector and a four-color Ryobi 784EP convertible perfector. The company also plans to open a new national demonstration center in metro Kansas City by the middle of next year.
Despite the enhanced press service and support angle, increased productivity through perfecting was a theme promoted by virtually all of the sheetfed press manufacturers at the show.
That trend was perhaps most apparent at the Komori America booth, which featured four perfectors in a range of sizes and configurations. They included a 10-color, 40˝ Lithrone LS40P incorporating Komori's double sized, three-cylinder perfecting mechanism, a 10-color (5/5) Lithrone Super Perfector equipped with a Magnum roll sheeter, a six-color, 28˝ NL28P, and a four-color, 29˝ Spica 29P convertible perfector.
For the web market, Komori announced plans to re-enter the North American web press market and displayed a printing unit from its 16-page System 38S press, which debuted at Drupa last year. The 38˝ press, now available with 23 9⁄16˝ and 22 3⁄4˝ cutoffs used in the U.S. market, features fully automatic plate changers.
With new orders at the show reportedly exceeding $100 million, including an undisclosed major web press deal, Komori did make public the sale of nine six-color, 40˝ Lithrone presses for installation at various Consolidated Graphics plants throughout the country. The deal is valued at about $15 million.
Perfecting technology was also the centerpiece of the Mitsubishi Lithographic Presses booth, where a 10-color, 40˝ Diamond 3000T Tandem Perfector was running at speeds to 13,000 sph. The manufacturer was promoting the press' ability to print one side of the sheet and then the other, without tumbling the sheet, through its three-cylinder Translink transfer system. Since the dedicated perfector doesn't require as wide a gripper margin as a convertible perfector, a printer can reportedly save one sheet for every 70 sheets run. It is available in both commercial and carton models, and a double coating option is under development.
Akiyama International displayed a 10-color (5/5), 40˝ Jprint perfector, which was sold to Millbrook Printing.
The first Akiyama purchased by the Grand Ledge, MI-based printer, Millbrook President and CEO Larry Winkler primarily intends to run magazines, catalogs and other publications on the new press.
Likewise, Sakurai USA debuted its four-color, 26˝ 466SD/SDP convertible perfector, which runs at 16,000 iph. Standard automation includes automated perfecting changeover, blanket and roller washing, and plate changers.
For commercial and industrial printing applications, Heidelberg featured several perfecting presses, including a 10-color Speedmaster 102 with double-sided aqueous coating and a CutStar sheeter; a Speedmaster CD 74 with coater in an eight-color configuration; a six-color Speedmaster SM 74 with coater and extended delivery; and an eight-color Speedmaster SM 52 with Axis Control. Also, a five-color Speedmaster SM 52 with in-line diecutting made an encore performance, this time featuring a new chamber doctor blade coating unit and UV interdeck and end of press dryers.
Some Sales Announced
Although Heidelberg has shifted its policy of announcing total show sales order results, the company did reveal the sale of an eight-color, 40˝ Speedmaster SM 102 perfector with MCS coating system to Lifetouch Publishing, Eden Prairie, MN; a six-color, 20˝ Speedmaster SM 52 perfector with coating, in-line diecutting and UV capabilities to Winston Printing, Winston-Salem, NC; and a five-color Speedmaster CD 74 with coater—featuring the 5,000th Speedmaster CD 74 unit manufactured—to Lakewood, OH-based Phil Vedda & Sons Printing.
In response to the growing convergence of the commercial and package printing markets, the star attraction at the Heidelberg booth was its new 29.53x41.34˝ Speedmaster XL 105 "Maximum Performance Class" press. Equipped with automatic pre-setting, the 18,000 sph press also features the new PresetPlus feeder and delivery, a new Air-Transfer sheet transfer system, Autoplate Advanced plate changing and Multi-Loader, an intelligent screen roller storage and exchange system on the coating tower.
During Heidelberg's press conference, Heidelberg Chairman Bernhard Schreier also revealed the company's intention to eventually offer a large-format press in the A0 format, capable of outputting poster-size sheets of one square meter—perhaps with a Drupa 2008 introduction.
Benefitting from increased industry demand for large-format packaging and commercial printing capabilities, KBA North America officials used PRINT 05 to proclaim a 42 percent increase in sales during the past year and to report that the KBA group has risen to second place in global sheetfed press sales. This has been achieved largely through its best-selling position in the large-format press market.
On display during the show was a six-color, 56˝ Rapida 142 with coater and hybrid UV capabilities sold to MOR Printing, Tamarac, FL. In addition, National Posters of Chattanooga, TN, purchased a seven-color, 81˝ Rapida 205 with coater for a July 2006 startup. Weighing almost 600,000 lbs., it will reportedly become the largest sheetfed litho press running in the U.S.
For the 41˝ press market, San Rafael, CA-based Paragraphics Inc. bought the six-color Rapida 105 hybrid UV press with coater that was running up to 18,000 sph during the show. Commercial Printers, Pompano Beach, FL, committed to a five-color Rapida 105 perfector and Las Vegas-based Full Color Printing bought a five-color, 29˝ Performa 74, a new and less-expensive model resulting from KBA's acquisition of Grafitec.
With its "Big Advantages" theme, MAN Roland had the largest sheetfed press performing: a six-color, 64˝ Roland 900 XXL equipped with a coater and a Maxson sheeter that was sold to Los Angeles-based Superior Lithographics.
The biggest MAN sheetfed sale, however, went to Monarch Litho, which signed on for five Roland presses with coaters. A six-color, 73˝ Roland 900 XXL and a six-color, 41˝ Roland 700 perfector are slated for Monarch's Montebello, CA, plant. Six- and eight-color Roland 700 perfectors will be installed at Monarch's new facility in San Teresa, NM, and a six-color Roland 700 perfector is destined for its plant in Juarez, Mexico.
Other deals included an eight-color Roland 700 perfector to Metropolitan Fine Printers, Vancouver, Canada; a six-color Roland 900 XXL with coater to Meredith-Webb, Burlington, NC; and a seven-color Roland 700 and six-color Roland 500 to General Press, located near Pittsburgh, PA.
On the web printing front, St. Joseph Print, in Toronto, committed to a $40 million capital investment with three new MAN Roland Rotoman S heatset presses. Set for installation in 2006, the deal comprises an eight-unit 48-page press, a six-color 16-page press and a four-unit 16-page press.
With revenues that will surpass the $1 billion threshold in 2005, Goss International announced several major web press sales, headlined by the news that Quebecor World will add three gapless Sunday web presses. An eight-unit Sunday 3000/32 press in a two-web stacked configuration with a PFF-3 pinless double-former folder will be installed at the Quebecor World facility in Lebanon, OH, and the Stillwater, OK, plant will get a pair of four-unit 64-page Sunday 4000/64 duplexed presses with 2JF folders and Autoplate plate changers.
Las Vegas-based Creel Printing plans to install its second 16-page Sunday 2000 press, in an eight-unit configuration, along with a new Pacesetter 1100 servo-driven saddlestitcher with 20 hoppers. Continental Web, in Itasca, IL, ordered a six-unit 16-page Sunday 2000 equipped with Autoplate and two Automatic Transfer units.
Winner of a 2005 InterTech Technology Award, Goss Automatic Transfer technology allows Sunday press users to change jobs on the fly, at full press speed, with minimal waste. Controlled by shaftless drives, printing units can be switched in and out of production while live printing continues, thus boosting productivity and drastically reducing makeready times and changeover paper waste. It allows web printers to compete for shorter run commercial work, as well as simplifying the process of versioning for magazines and catalogs.
Offering a press designed for the newspaper and publication markets, Dauphin Graphic Machines was also at the show to promote its eight-page DGM Advantage II perfecting unit that can be stacked four-high or configured as a standalone floor unit, two-high or three-high stack. The units can be designed as a new pressline or as slip-in replacement units for DGM 850 and Goss Urbanite presses.
For the variable size web market, Muller Martini demonstrated its Alprinta press for the first time in America. Its variable-format offset insert (VOI) allows the operator to keep the printing insert in the press at all times and perform a size change by simply removing the blanket and plate cylinders without the use of tools.
Also notable is its varnish cassette, which mounts on the backside of any printing unit, turning it into a varnishing unit using a standard printing insert.
In conjunction with a new reseller agreement with Kodak, Muller Martini and Kodak Versamark teamed up to display a new hybrid printing system that combined a four-color Muller Martini Concepta web offset press with two D-series continuous ink-jet printheads. The configuration allows printing of 100 percent variable data information in-line with offset printing at speeds to 1,000 fpm. The press, running in the Kodak booth, was sold to US Web of Huntington, WV.
Anyone who walked the nearly 750,000-square-foot show floor could readily see that conventional lithography remains the backbone of the commercial printing industry, however. Sheetfed and web offset press manufacturers continue to respond to market demands for higher productivity with reduced manning requirements, and quicker makereadies and changeovers, to accommodate today's shorter runs. Unique in-line printing and finishing processes also add greater marketing value.
Further proof that the off-set process still makes a great impression.