COLOR DIGITAL PRESSES--Decisions, Decisions . . .
Here's a look at what's currently, and soon-to-be, available in the market.
Heidelberg currently has two offerings in the digital color press market: the Speedmaster 74 DI, a four-up direct imaging system, and the Quickmaster DI 46-4, an entry-level direct imaging press.
The Speedmaster 74 DI has a maximum printing speed of 15,000 sph and offers thermal imaging technology that attains "first-generation" dot quality without the dot gain that can occur with conventional platemaking processes, reports Eric Frank, vice president of marketing, direct imaging and digital printing, for Heidelberg USA.
The Speedmaster 74 DI images processless thermal plates at a resolution of 2,400 dpi. The press is available in 17 configurations featuring up to six colors, perfecting and in-line coating. It also offers Alcolor, Heidelberg's digitally controlled, speed compensated, continuous film dampening systems. The imaging time for plates is just 31⁄2 minutes.
The Quickmaster DI 46-4 has a maximum speed 10,000 sph and an imaging time of four minutes at 1,270 dpi or 12 minutes at 2,540 dpi.
While the Speedmaster 74 DI is targeted at the high-end commercial offset printing market, the Quickmaster DI is targeted at commercial printers and prepress houses looking to enter the digital printing marketplace, as well as small-format printers looking to get into digital four-color offset work, states Frank.
"The Quickmaster DI enables printers to maintain offset quality and attributes, while offering a pushbutton-friendly system. It eliminates the prepress platemaking part of the operation; it preregisters plates, determines ink profiles and sets up your feeder directly from prepress data," Frank says.
"All of these features make the Quickmaster DI an excellent choice for those who are just beginning to work with digital offset printing," he adds.
Frank sees Heidelberg's niche in the digital press market as a company that offers a complete solution with which customers can begin and grow. "We are in the stage where we can focus on the software, prepress and the finishing—basically all the surrounding parts—which are just as equally important as the press itself."