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Sheetfed Presses--Getting Connected

September 1999
With automation reaching or nearing its peak, manufacturers look for ways to bring prepress and the pressroom closer together.


BY ERIK CAGLE


Want to see all of the neat, new sheetfed offset press models that will be unveiled at DRUPA 2000? If the answer is yes, go renew your passport because we're not going to show you.

Sorry, we'd show you if we could, but Germany will be the place to be next May, as the printing industry's top manufacturers will use the exhibition to wage a battle of one-upsmanship in the sheetfed press division. Building the better mousetrap is becoming increasingly more difficult; however, most of the industry's heavy hitters are finding that, rather than searching for yet another new innovation for increased automation, other improvements can enhance productivity.

Andy Katz, product manager at Komori Imaging Systems, says Komori is extending its concept of pressroom automation by looking upstream in the production process.

"Today, virtually every function of the press is fully automated and digitally controlled," he says. "For example, our new-generation press console—the PQC-IV, integrated with the Komori Management System (KMS-IV)—is the industry's most comprehensive, real-time process control system.

"With few remaining on-press tasks to be automated, we are exploiting the digital link between prepress and press to increase productivity," Katz adds. "For more than five years, Komori Lithrone presses have accepted ink key fountain data in digital form; now that data can be passed to the press console via the Komori K-LAN system. In addition to ink key data,

K-LAN's open architecture allows for tight integration with job management and tracking systems."

He says it's important to note that Komori products are fully CIP3 compliant. As a result, the Lithrone press control system accepts ink key data from any prepress system manufacturer that is also compliant.

Another manufacturer looking to improve the connection between prepress and the pressroom is industry powerhouse Heidelberg USA. According to Cai von Rumohr, Speedmaster 52 product manager, that connection is being made with the new generation of CP2000 presses. CIP3 information can be sent with the help of the CPC32 prepress interface, which gives information on ink key profiles directly to the CP2000 presses, thus, makeready time can be reduced.

"The Windows NT-based CP2000 allows users to select modules and add on certain features that enhance the productivity of the press itself and the link to the press by exchanging information directly with production planning, estimating and scheduling systems or with CIP3 digital prepress data," he says. "It's an open, upgradable system that users can complement at any time."
 

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