Large-Format Sheetfed Presses -- Bigger Gets Better
During PRINT 05, Heidelberg also announced it would likely create a press designed for the very-large-format (VLF) market. He says that the company has been asked by its customers to produce a VLF model for several years. Such a product would allow Heidelberg shops to seamlessly integrate all of their print production tools into their workflow, while providing an increase in efficiency and transparency, according to Krapp.
More than anything, printers are realizing that they can leverage new large-format sheetfed technology to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, contends Doug Still, marketing manager for MAN Roland.
"That means they're turning to presses that help them stand out from the competition by equipping them to offer new applications and higher efficiencies," he says. "It's the best way they can widen their profit margins, which have been virtually flat for the past four years."
The Roland 900 XXL has generated much attention recently, with its 73˝ model delivering 328 percent more printable area than a conventional 40˝ machine, Still remarks. Aside from the increased profit margins that result, he feels one of its most attractive qualities is the ability to print a 64-page signature in a single pass. Meanwhile, it opens the commercial market up to the world of package printing. Point-of-sale applications are also very attractive to printers, Still notes.
While large-format technology is not brand-spanking new, it has made inroads on what were once slow operating speeds and time-consuming makereadies. "So we applied the latest engineering and digital electronics to produce large-format presses that are virtually as nimble, in terms of both makeready and speed, as most 40˝ presses," Still says.
The one-pass productivity, more than anything, has provided a boost for perfecting presses, notes Doug Shardt, product manager for Komori America. With the improving technology levels on the perfector, the concept has experienced greater acceptance.