NEWSPAPER PRESSES -- Pressing Issues
The Cortina features a four-high tower design that is only about 11 feet tall, thereby reducing space requirements and the demands on the press crew, Owen notes. It has dedicated drives for each cylinder and inking unit, so no oil is used in the press. Other features include a maximum rated output of 80,000 cph (singe or double width), semi-automatic plate changing with pneumatic plate clamping, self-adjusting blanket clamps, and roller locks with automatic preset function.
In its own literature, KBA points out the challenges in bringing waterless technology to the newspaper market, which is why the Cortina won't be commercialized until 2002. However, the press manufacturer believes the technology offers compelling advantages for the printing of split editions because of the reduction in makeready times and waste. It is targeting the press for runs of 120,000 copies or less, where KBA claims the per-copy costs of waterless will be cheaper than conventional offset.
Shaftless drives are continuing to gain in popularity, Heidelberg's Norris agrees. But, he touts the benefits of going a step farther—to gapless printing, especially in combination with the 1x4 straight printing format.
"The one-page-around by four-pages-across format offers the economic advantage of a 50 percent reduction in plates when compared to a traditional 2x4 double-width press," Norris explains. "It also offers the layout versatility advantages of two-page jumps and sections with unequal page counts. Because our exclusive gapless blanket technology eliminates gap-related vibration, Heidelberg's Mainstream press is the only 1x4 newspaper press that can deliver high-quality printing at up to 80,000 cph with a 1:1 plate-to-blanket cylinder ratio."
The Mainstream features a shaftless design and handles web widths from 50" to 63", with cutoffs from 181⁄2" to 231⁄2". Available rotary and jaw folders accommodate page counts from eight to 96 pages in two-page increments.
According to Norris, the stability of gapless technology enables higher quality printing, at faster running speeds and on wider webs. Therefore, it will be the platform for a range of models, he reveals. "This will include the 2x6 Tristream, which will make high-speed, triple-width production a practical reality for the first time."