Large-Format Sheetfed Perfectors -- Seeking Perfection
by chris bauer
Printers live by the mantra that time is money. As more steps can be cut out of the prepress, printing and binding processes, more profit can be achieved. Large-format (40˝ and larger) perfecting presses ensure faster printing results by printing both sides of the sheet in one pass through the press. Many printers have put two and two together, and like the sum that sheetfed perfectors provide.
"The drive towards large-format perfectors is stimulated in a large degree by the need for process time reduction," explains Doug Schardt, product manager, Komori America. "In other words, why do in two passes on a press what can be done in one?"
Schardt admits this rhetorical question seems self-evident—if it was that simple, all printers would have moved to perfecting presses years ago. But perfectors of the past brought with them a host of issues that slowed the process down to the point that it actually was more efficient to run two passes, he says.
"Today's perfectors have many of those issues beat—and the quality is outstanding—so one pass versus two is the ideal workflow in certain circumstances," Schardt points out. The key elements are fully automated plate changers, fully automatic paper size adjustments, fully automatic perfector changeover and fully automatic washups, he says.
"Furthermore, perfectors must have the ability to run a wide range of work and not become a marking monster," Schardt adds. "The more marking that is inherent in a press, the longer the makereadies until it actually becomes more efficient on a straight press."
A Perfect Fit
One company that has found perfecting presses to be effective for its workload is the Jerome Group in Maryland Heights, MO, which recently installed an eight-color Komori Lithrone S40 sheetfed perfector with coater and extended delivery.
Jerome Group specializes in direct mail work and produces a lot of 4/4 work that requires personalization on both sides. The company often preprints shells on the LS40 and then does personalization using its arsenal of digital presses.