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Small- and Medium-format Sheetfed Presses -- Automated Workhors

January 2003
By Erik Cagle

Here's a look at the latest manufacturer offerings for small- and medium-size sheetfed offset presses in up to 23 x 29˝ formats:

The A.B.Dick 4995A-ICS with ink control system offers the benefits of a four-tower portrait press for printers looking to step up to four-color process work. Digitally compatible with CTP systems (such as A.B.Dick's DPM line), this automated press with a maximum sheet size of 13.4 x 17.75˝ increases short- and long-run productivity, provides consistent and repeatable quality and accommodates polyester or metal plates.

Features include the ink control system, which delivers consistent ink balance while reducing labor setup time; a unique streamfeeding vacuum conveyer and vacuum pull guide; a semi-automatic plate loader with pinpoint registration accuracy; a continuous dampening motorized film dampening system; and pre-piling to increase pre-loading paper capacity (29˝).

Other Options

The A.B.Dick 9980 single-color offset press features a register board design and a second common color head that has matching operating controls and pin register system to the parent press.

With 11 x 17˝ bleed capabilities, this press also possesses a continuous dampener moisture system, a segmented, calibrated lever ink fountain control system for both the parent and second color head, and an optional roll-up perforating numbering device.

The KBA North America Rapida 74, a 20.5 x 29˝ machine, targets the half-size user interested in bottom-line performance and high print quality. The Rapida 74 possesses a front-loaded inker design. According to KBA, this patented inker concept has proven to yield the finest solids, as well as provide quality color consistency.

Acme Printing, of Des Moines, IA, installed a new Rapida 74 after much success with a 41˝ Rapida 105. Print quality increased dramatically over its older, competitive presses.

The latest offering from Polly USA is the Polly Prestige 74, which boasts efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The popular 20 x 29˝ size gives the smaller printer more printing opportunities, while the affordable price makes the Polly 74 extremely competitive.

The 19-roller inking train reacts rapidly to ink adjustments and provides stability of ink feed. With double-diameter impression and transfer cylinders for superior registration accuracy with a minimum of gripper changes, the Polly 74 is available in two-, four- and five-color configurations.

The press has a range of features for extremely fast makeready. The Polly control console, with open architecture, enables the communication and presetting of press parameters from any prepress system conforming to the CIP3 or CIP4 standard. As more printers implement a digital prepress workflow, the Polly 74 gives the capability to transfer specific job data, such as ink key presets, directly from a digital file generated by the prepress system. This capability further speeds the makeready process, bringing the job to color faster and with substantially reduced waste.


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