Heatset Web Offset Presses -- Hot Rumors Cool Off
"I see the commercial publications market gaining momentum as the economy strengthens and the overcapacity on the top end of the market begins to fill in," Moreland adds. "The short-run publications are better served by the more regional printers, which tend to be our primary customer base."
According to Richard Kerns, president of Solna Web USA, most of his company's recent sales, including a 12-unit commercial heatset press to TAP Publishing in Crossville, TN, are loaded with technology. Closed-loop is the key word—both color and register control. Ink fountain presetting using CIP3/4 data is also a popular option.
Kerns feels this trend will continue, with more flexible presses that allow medium- and smaller-size printers to tackle a more widely defined market. "Presses will need to run a magazine in the morning, a brochure on specialty stock in the afternoon, a newspaper insert in the evening and a direct mail piece at night," he concludes. "All of these jobs will require fast makereadies and quicker turnaround times."
Don Gustafson, president of the Tensor Group, attests that he has seen a slowdown over the last 12 to 18 months for heatset printing due to the general drop in advertising combined with the excess amount of high-volume equipment that is available to print anything from inserts to publication-type work.
"We are also seeing more interest in closed-loop color on the lower end of the commercial heatset market for areas such as short-run insert work," he points out. "Given the merger activity over recent years with the customer base and now also on the supplier side, we don't expect Drupa to have quite as much sizzle as it had in recent times."
Another option for printers is the Timsons T48A ZMR offset press with its vertical web line, which delivers one-color books. While one unit prints at speeds up to 400 m/min., the press operator is changing plates on the other unit. At the appropriate time, the new unit is accelerated and synchronized at web speed. As soon as the last signature is produced, the new unit starts to print. The T48A ZMR's design with a blanket-to-blanket distance of less than 40˝ gives greater control for tight register, two-color work.