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Web Wonders

April 2000
The graphic arts world shifts its attention to Dusseldorf for the World Series of Printing. For some manufacturers, it's a coming-out party for new heatset web offset press hardware.


BY ERIK CAGLE


Don't worry, it's not too late to book a hotel within a half-hour commute of Dusseldorf for May's DRUPA 2000 exhibition. Should nothing be available, there's always nearby Brussels or Amsterdam.

Yes, when it comes to attending the world's foremost ink-on-paper (et al) exhibition, early planning is absolutely necessary. The same can definitely be said for the many manufacturers, technology providers and assorted vendors that will be displaying their goods and services. Many have been working on next month's initial offerings since the last rail car was packed following DRUPA 95.

Not all companies will be showing brand-new equipment; some will concentrate on offerings that were first made public at Graph Expo or within the past year-to-18 months. Others will announce strategic alliances, partnerships, mergers and acquisitions. Regardless of what forum it is used for, there's little doubt that DRUPA is the place to make a splash.

It's time to unload the rail cars and take a sneak peak at what some of the industry's heavy hitters will be showcasing at DRUPA in terms of heatset web offset presses, as well as the compelling issues that have driven their design.

"Like needs in other print markets, heatset web offset presses represent significant investment in physical assets," explains Eric Short, president of RDP Marathon. "The explosion in digital technology has not bypassed the pressroom."

RDP will show its V-series print tower in a single-side printing configuration. The company will also demonstrate Smart•Set 2000, a Windows-based system that provides remote control of press functions—from makeready to washup.

A number of issues, including quality, dependability, high quality of printing, short makeready time, ease of operation and technology all factor into the press equation for Hantish International, according to President Roger Hollando. Among the items Hantish will display, web offset-wise, are its eight-page Zirkon Model 6611 press, as well as its 24-page unit. Making its grand debut, however, is a 16-page Zirkon press with a 223⁄4˝ cutoff and 38˝ width. It features a 2:1 configuration and is rated at a speed of 60,000 impressions per hour (iph).

Barbara Gora, marketing vice president for Goss Graphic Systems, believes web offset provides the best cost-per-piece equation for most forms of mass commercial printing. However, she feels that adding more technology and automation to the press does not necessarily improve that ratio. "For example, if a press has high automation features and a premium price tag, but it's going to cost the printer more to operate that press, the ROI isn't there to justify the purchase in the printer's mind," Gora states.
 

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