Process Integration — Executing the Triple Play
If the parameters of a job make it a close call between sheetfed and web, the printer will price it both ways and present two options to the client, including any trade-offs from an equipment standpoint. Web printing delivers a quality product, but sheetfed still has an edge in terms of substrate options, tighter register and, potentially, color flexibility, according to Chebuhar.
Padgett currently has two toner-based digital color presses, which support its focus on variable data applications. “We don’t concentrate on selling short run, static work off of our digital presses. That market is highly competitive,” he explains. “We do also have a four-unit Heidelberg GTO in our sheetfed pressroom, and since we are in a computer-to-plate world, we can print short run, static jobs on that piece of equipment.”
As for the other end of the run length spectrum, Chebuhar previously worked for a printer that had extensive full-web capabilities. “That business has gotten more competitive because companies have capacity that they’re looking to fill. Strategically, they are being forced into trying to figure out how to do shorter runs on full-web equipment just to keep their presses full,” he says.
Part of what Chebuhar found attractive about moving into the sales manager role at Padgett was the fact that the company had stayed out of the cut-throat, full-web market. The half-web segment has since gotten more challenging, too, he notes.
Sheetfed perfectors are running faster, being installed in longer configurations and now have roll-to-sheet capabilities, all of which extends their competitive run length range. At the same time, full-web printers continue to get more comfortable running smaller counts. That puts half-webs getting squeezed from both ends.
It’s no surprise then, as a closing thought, Chebuhar says, “Our three- to five-year plan, from a capital standpoint in the pressroom, will be concentrated around additional sheetfed capabilities.” PI