Small- & Medium-Format Sheetfed Presses -- Pressing into 2004
by chris bauer
It's no longer necessary to buy a behemoth press to get all of the big automated features that come along with them. Small- and medium-format (up to 23x29˝) sheetfed presses also boast a bevy of bells and whistles.
"The main features required by today's press buyer (are based on) automation," notes Mike Dighton, vice president of Hamada of America. "Auto plate loading, blanket washers, color consoles, including CIP3/4, are almost always asked for by our customers. The automation carries into prepress, as well."
Hamada's new Impulse 452P is a 14x20˝ perfector. The Impulse runs at 13,000 iph and will perfect at 12,000 iph. Standard features include a color console with remote running register, ink sweep and on-the-fly cylinder cocking. Semi-automatic plate mounting, vacuum tape register board and many other time-saving features are also standard equipment.
The theme of automation is echoed by most press manufacturers.
"Automation and higher quality are the trends," contends Ken Newton, senior vice president and COO at A.B.Dick. "Customers are finding that printing requires the need to provide a repeatable solution to their customers. The small commercial printer now expects suppliers to provide auto-mation and quality levels that exist on larger presses."
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, this automated press with a maximum sheet size of 13.4x17.75˝ reportedly increases short- and long-run productivity, provides consistent and repeatable quality, and accommodates polyester or metal plates.
These trends are not a surprise to Don Trytten of xpedx/Import Group. He feels that, as with all segments of the U.S. economy, the direction manufacturing is headed is toward increased productivity—and the basic manner that this can be attained is through more productive equipment. Printers and press manufacturers need to determine the specific equipment size and automated features that provide the most productivity for their particular requirements, he says.