Komori Debuts LS40 Press
By Mark Michelson
ROLLING MEADOWS, IL—Commercial printers from throughout North America came to Komori America's headquarters here recently to see demonstrations of its sleek new 40˝ Lithrone S40 (LS40) sheetfed offset press, which first debuted at the IPEX exhibition in England last spring.
According to Doug Schardt, Komori product manager, the LS40 includes a console-driven makeready, the KHS high-performance inking system and standard features like a double diameter cylinder configuration.
"When you take these classic Lithrone features and add all the new technology of the LS, you've got a press that can't be beat for productivity, versatility and printability," lauds Schardt.
LS40 enhancements include:
* Automated makeready features allow press operators to program makeready, washup and the next makeready—all from the press console.
* New automatic plate changers can change six plates in three minutes (50 percent faster than other plate changing systems).
* The LS automatically ramps up to 7,000 sph before sheets start to feed. This ensures that the press is already at a stable print speed before ink hits the paper, dramatically reducing makeready waste.
* The press is equipped with skeleton type transfer cylinders with venturi air pans that reduce marking and maintain sheet control through the press.
* Top printing speed is 16,000 sph, and the press can print on substrates ranging from thin onion skin up to 40pt. board stock.
* The inking system on the LS40 comes with oscillating form rollers in each printing unit to maximize print quality on tough ghosting jobs. All four form rollers can be quickly activated in approximately two minutes. In addition, mist guards are installed on both sides of the inker to protect roller mechanisms from dirt, debris and misting ink.
* Eccentric roller cups improve roller setting consistency and speed roller changes. No tools are required to change out rollers, reducing the time by 50 percent.
* With its remote oscillation timing from the console, press operators can adjust the charge of ink anywhere on the sheet for each unit in 10mm increments, even when the press is operating at top speed.
* The LS can also stop oscillation in any unit to preserve ink profiles during press idles. This is especially valuable when running expensive substrates or where print quality must be maintained despite frequent stops.
* Inking and dampening declutch mechanisms come standard on the first and last units of the LS40, for use when these units are left open. This prolongs roller life and eliminates contamination from roller lube.
First American Manager
The event, which consisted of two groups of about 50 printers each, was also a coming out party of sorts for Stephan Carter, newly named president and COO of Komori America. A 20-year R.R. Donnelley veteran in sales and operations management, Carter noted that his executive appointment marks the first time in the Japanese press manufacturer's history that its U.S. subsidiary is managed by an American.
"Komori has worked to develop a 40˝ press that exceeds printers' expectations," he enthuses, "and we're confident that the LS will do just that."
He also revealed that four orders had already been received from U.S. customers prior to the North American introduction of the press, including one contract for a digital version featuring the Creo SQUAREspot thermal imaging option. A perfector option for the LS40, according to Carter, will be available in 2003.
In providing overall financials for Komori America's Japanese parent, Carter admitted the last fiscal year has been a difficult one. He referred to a business climate of weak press sales, reduced operating margins, high inventories and even press repossessions.
Carter noted that Komori is responding to these business conditions by developing strategic alliances, by maintaining "open architecture" platforms and by increasing efficiency throughout its operations. He mentioned, as examples, key Komori business partners such as GE Capital (press financing), Printcafe (links to job management systems), X-Rite (color measurement) and Creo (digital imaging).
One way Komori is creating internal efficiencies will be through its new press manufacturing plant in Tsu Kuba, Japan, which will manufacture the new LS40 and SuperPerfector sheetfed presses.
In response to the stagnant economy, Carter also says his company will strive to manage its inventory of presses better, better standardize its product lines and maintain critical parts centers in key locations, rather than a centralized location, to more rapidly serve existing customers.