Offset Printing--Pressing Ahead
Digital output devices didn't capture all the headlines. Manufacturers of traditional sheetfed and web presses also demonstrated cutting-edge models.
BY MARK MICHELSON
Even the12,000 gallons of flame-retardant water, which came gushing down from sprinklers onto a MAN Roland web press in the 250,000-square-foot PrintCity hall the afternoon before the exhibition was to open, couldn't dampen the DRUPA spirits of this press manufacturer. The flooding resulted from a pipe burst, and MAN technicians had to work through the night to ready the press for opening day.
And, while other printing press exhibitors didn't have to face such an 11th-hour, potential disaster, their enthusiasm was just as contagious to the 413,500 visitors who clamored to witness press demonstrations and grab printed samples during DRUPA's two-week run.
Everyone's excitement was understandable. DRUPA 2000 is a unique venue worldwide that allows printers to see—and compare—so many web and sheetfed offset presses actually running—many of them brand new or enhanced models.
For example, running in PrintCity—a partnership of 69 leading companies that demonstrated the seamless production of more than a dozen printing projects, from design to finishing—was MAN Roland's new eight-page Regioman shaftless newspaper press, configured as four stacked printing units. It printed an eight-page newspaper daily, complete with process colors on each page. As DRUPA began, the company announced that The Daily Herald, in Arlington Heights, IL, had placed the first North American order for two Regioman presses and that The Indianapolis Star had purchased four of the 75,000-cph presses, constituting MAN Roland's largest order ever received from a U.S. newspaper.
Also running at DRUPA was a four-color, single-web Rotoman 16-page commercial web press. And a standalone Lithoman unit illustrated MAN Roland's sleeve technology.
To demonstrate its sheetfed offerings, MAN Roland displayed a 10-color Roland 700 perfector, a six-color Roland 900 with coater and a five-color Roland 300 equipped with two perfectors. New was its 23x29˝ Roland 500 press, shown in a six-color configuration with coater, that is designed for short run, on-demand package printing applications.
Newly redesigned is the 29˝ Roland 200, a 13,000-sph press available in two- or four-color versions, that requires a small footprint. The press incorporates double-size impression cylinders, contact-free transferters and a new digital press control concept, which also saves space by integrating the control console into the delivery. The unitized design and new cylinder geometry will reportedly allow the 200 series to be more price-competitive.
Heidelberg required two complete halls and an adjacent building to display its comprehensive family of offerings. DRUPA served as the world debut for the Mainstream 80, Heidelberg Web Systems' newspaper press that incorporates its patented gapless blanket technology.
The Mainstream 80 is a shaftless, double-width press designed for straight printing at speeds up to 80,000 cph. It features a one-page-around by four-pages-across plate cylinder configuration (1x4), a 1:1 plate-to-blanket cylinder ratio and is available in web widths up to 63˝.
Besides gapless blankets, the Mainstream also featured two other "industry firsts" designed to speed makeready and improve folder performance. Omnipage, an automatic page recognition system, uses cameras mounted above the console to instantly identify newspaper pages when they are placed on the console. Omnipage can then automatically direct the control system to the corresponding pages within the press.
The second innovation, moveable lower folders mounted on transverse rails, allows the folders to be optimally positioned under the formers according to the web configuration for each print run.
Heidelberg Web Systems showcased the 24-page Sunday 2000, as well, which is also available in a 16-page format. The show model was a five-unit, single-web press running with the PCF-1 pinless folder. Like all Sunday Technology presses, it features gapless blankets. Aside from paper savings, they eliminate vibration-related defects such as bump streaking, doubling and web flutter. With its wider, six-pages-across configuration, the 24-page Sunday 2000 prints 50 percent more pages per cylinder revolution than a 16-page press—and with no additional manning requirements. The press also features semi-automatic plate changing, as well as automatic cylinder positioning and locking.
On the back side, two pinless folders are offered. The first, the PFF-2 pinless double former folder, is rated up to 2,500 fpm. The modular PCF-1 combination folder can produce up to 44 different magazine, delta fold, digest, tabloid and slim jim products when paired with the 24-page Sunday 2000. Up to 38 products are possible with the 16-page model.
Another press, the Sunday 4000 gapless press is available in 32-, 48- and 64-page configurations. The 48-page, 64-page and 48S units are supplied with Heidelberg's fully automatic Autoplate plate changing system. A semi-automatic system is available on the short-grain Sunday 32S. Autoplate is capable of saving up to 25 minutes at each plate change compared to a conventional system. The Autoweb-up automatic webbing system and the web catcher further enhance productivity .
The press can also be fitted with a Heidelberg Ecotherm dryer with an integrated combustion chamber or with an Ecocool dryer, an innovation that integrates the chill roll function into a single system. Like the folders on the Sunday 2000, the PCC-2 and PFJ-3 folders available on the Sunday 4000 are both pinless designs.
The biggest news at DRUPA from Heidelberg Web Systems, sales-wise, was the announcement of an order from Pewaukee, WI-based Quad/Graphics for 11 new web offset presses (a total of 90 printing units), which will be installed at various Quad facilities over the next two years. The deal consists of seven short-cutoff Sunday 3000 gapless presses and four short-cutoff M-1000s.
On the sheetfed front, Heidelberg (USA) displayed its new generation of the 29˝ Speedmaster SM 74 press in a 10-color configuration with fully automatic perfecting. The press was equipped with the CP2000 Center, which also controls the fully automatic changeover of the perfecting device on certain models. In addition to a CIP3 connection, the PresetLink software module transfers presetting data online, ensuring seamless integration into a digital workflow. And the new PerfectJackets, exchangeable cylinder jackets that have an additional ink-repelling, Silicon-based layer over a high-strength Titanium compound, permit less cleaning and longer production cycles without washing.
The Speedmaster SM and CD 102 series has also been redesigned, including the adoption of the CP2000 Center. This includes the color touchscreen interface and the new print image preview from the CIP3 data, made possible by PresetLink. Equipment diagnosis, visualization of the print process, recording of operating data and job storage are all performed centrally via the CP2000 Center.
The press series also features the new AutoPlate Plus, which allows automatic plate changing of all printing units from the CP2000 Center. Heidelberg has also redesigned the sheet feed system in the delivery unit by rearranging the Venturi nozzles and improving the air supply. CleanStar is a further component, designed to reduce the quantity of powder required. The new InkLine Direct system permits ink to be fed automatically via a central supply system.
Finally, the company announced that the CP2000 Center will become standard on all four-, five- and six-color models of Speedmaster SM 52 presses and demonstrated an optional coating system, which can handle both full and spot coatings.
The Koenig & Bauer Group (KBA) displayed its Compacta 818 press, a 75˝ web width, 64-page commercial press that addresses the need for fast turnarounds. It features dedicated, shaftless drives for the reelstand, infeed unit, each individual printing unit, chill roller stand, draw rollers in the superstructure and an automatically convertible P5 folder. Alongside its console technology that embraces KBA's Logotronic production management system, the Compacta incorporates semi-automatic plate changers and quality control using in-line densitometry. Also shown was a prototype of the new Cortina, a keyless, waterless offset press designed for newspaper production.
To demonstrate large-format perfecting, KBA demonstrated a four-color, 471⁄2x633⁄4˝ Rapida 162a sheetfed press with automatically convertible perfecting for two-over-two work. An automation package incorporates remote register and format adjustment from the console, automatic plate changing and a nonstop system for the feeder and delivery. The press was embedded in a digital workflow via a CIP3 interface to a large-format Barco CTP system.
A new generation, six-color, 201⁄2x29˝ Rapida 74, equipped with coater and extended delivery, was also shown. It features distributed press controls, KBA's sophisticated Ergotronic control console, remote format adjustment, automated plate changing, optional CIP3 interface, the KBA Logotronic production management system and in-line quality control via KBA Densitronic S.
In the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries booth, a 32-page Diamond 32 press was running. A CIP3 interface preset the ink keys. Fully automated, the four-around, four-across press was equipped with a double chopper folder. Mitsubishi has also reintroduced its Diamond 16 Z one-to-one press into the U.S. market. Shipping to Lithographix in California this November will be a single web, 223⁄4 x38˝, eight-unit model equipped with Mitsubishi's sleeve offset technology and a pinless folder. For sheetfed work, Mitsubishi has upgraded its offerings for the carton and label industries. The 5F and 6F are now offered at higher rated running speeds and can handle a wider range of stock thicknesses.
Komori exhibited its new five-over-five, 283⁄8x409⁄16˝ Lithrone 40SP Model L-540SP perfecting press, which is equipped with the Komori Hi-Performance Inking System and automatic plate changers. Newly developed register adjustment mechanisms and a new swing mechanism for registration were featured, as well as remote-controlled infeed cylinder cocking capability and ultrasonic double-sheet detection/prevention and anti-sheet deviation devices. A special, ceramic jacket is employed for the surface of the impression cylinder and the cylinder arrangement is designed to reduce gripper changes.
Also shown was a new five-color, 143⁄16x201⁄2˝ Lithrone 20 Model L-520 press, suited for printing on substrates ranging from ultra-thin plastic to cardboard. As an option, the system can be specified with an in-line coating system that uses aqueous coatings, which allows direct stacking of sheets on the pile board without the use of powder. Upgraded for DRUPA was the company's two-color, 201⁄2x283⁄8˝ Sprint Model S228 press. Standard equipment now includes the Komorimatic dampening system; a touch-panel for centralized control of all press functions; improved feeder and delivery; and a gripper-to-gripper sheet-reversing mechanism.
Komori also displayed its System 38SII, a 16-page, 1:1 web press. The System 38S, as well as the eight-page System 20, feature 23˝ cutoff models for the U.S. market, which gives commercial web printers the ability to print 81⁄2x11˝ products, full bleed with color bars. The System 38S is new to the states but not internationally, where the 38SII was unveiled. Rated at 50,000 iph, it features auto plate changers and push-button product changeover on the folder. Using KHS pre-inking software, the press demonstrated what was touted as the world's fastest makeready with stock change, folder changeover and form change in under 10 minutes.
Zirkon showed its eight-page Model 6611 press, as well as its 24-page unit. Making its debut, however, was a 16-page Zirkon press with a 223⁄4˝ cutoff and a 38˝ width. It features a 2:1 configuration and is rated at up to 60,000 iph.
Turning to the book market, Timsons demonstrated the latest version of its T-48A arch press, which was launched at PRINT 97. Featuring semi-automatic plate changing, the press boasts a makeready time of 21⁄2 minutes from start to stop. For the first time at a show, the T48A did an initial makeready highlighting Timsons' new semi-automatic, sequenced setting system.
In the same hall, Solna Web touted its C800 commercial web press, which was first shown at IPEX 98. Geared toward short to medium, high-quality runs, the press is particularly suited to accommodate a wide variety of substrates and paper weights with its bearerless technology. Making its debut at DRUPA was the Solna D400 vertical tower, featuring multiple sets of four-high towers and vertical dryers. The unit is aimed at complex and heavy page-count configurations, including the four-color directory printing segment.
Muller Martini introduced its Concept-NT variable-size press featuring insert modularity, a shaftless drive system and compatibility of printing inserts with other presses in the Concept family. Also new was the F74 signature folder, which ran eight-page signatures in-line.
GSS unveiled two new web offset presses: the Conquest and the Commander series. The Commander web offset is an 1,800 fpm, variable-circumference press available in web widths from 261⁄2˝ to 401⁄2˝. It is designed with a three cylinder, removable cartridge that allows simple size changes. The first press of its type has been sold to Reynolds & Reynolds, and will be equipped with interstage UV dryers. The Conquest is a variable-size press in web widths from 18˝ to 26˝. Servo driven, it is designed with a two cylinder, removable cartridge that allows quick size changes without severing the web.
Didde Web Press highlighted several models, including its Excalibur, which is available in 21˝, 24˝ and 27˝ widths, and in cylinder sizes from 171⁄2˝ to 28˝. Rated at 1,300 fpm, it's a blanket-to-blanket commercial perfector that boasts a Computer Master Control console.
RDP Marathon showed its V-series print tower in a single-side printing configuration. The company also demonstrated its Smart Set 2000, a Windows-based control system that provides remote control of press functions—from makeready to washup. The control unit is CTP and CIP3 compliant. Jobs can be prepared off-line and then initiated online. Remote ink adjustment and semi-automatic plating are both standard. And up to 1,000 jobs can be stored and retrieved from its on-press hard-drive.
Goebel displayed a six-unit Novaprint 680 for the first time. A variable-size press, it is geared toward direct mail and commercial work, and runs at up to 1,500 fpm.
Web Press Corp.'s Quad-Stack, which has yet to reach its second birthday, made its DRUPA debut following a European coming-out party at the IFRA exhibition. The Quad-Stack shown featured four perfecting units arranged in a unique stack configuration.