Presses Remain the Key Attraction at drupa and in 2008 Printers will not be Disappointed
Other inline options can include embossing and die cutting to remove post production steps. On larger format presses, a slitter in the delivery will deliver two jobs side by side or make a large sheet more manageable in finishing. Likewise printing with uv inks is increasing in popularity. These offer higher levels of gloss and the press delivers a perfectly dry sheet which can pass immediately into post press. This type of printing is reckoned to be growing at 10% a year.
UV also extends the range of inks and coatings that can be printed. An interesting area that KBA is going to feature is the increased integration between the press and RFID tags on paper to move closer to computer integrated manufacturing, while the RFID tags themselves are another application open to sheetfed printing using uv technology. “It’s about bringing processes that have been done off line into the press in order to shorten production cycles,” explains KBA’s Klaus Schmidt. Recent developments have included printing on plastics using a corona unit ahead of the printing towers to improve adhesion between ink and substrate.
This level of continuous production creates a need to ensure that quality is maintained. Live inspection systems are going to be widespread, as technologies that have been pioneered in packaging applications by MAN Roland, KBA and Mitsubishi, become a mainstream. Video inspection can check every sheet for defects and reject those that fail to match the set standard. Heidelberg has taken a different approach with a spectrophotometer mounted inside the press to measure colour on every sheet. On a Speedmaster CD74 this cuts make ready times and eliminates fluctuations during the print run. Other manufacturers offer this closed loop control through the control desk.
Choice of press formats and sheet sizes
KBA is currently riding high on the success of large format presses, extending from the Rapida 130 to the Rapida 205, almost certain to remain the world’s largest sheetfed press. drupa will see the company demonstrate perfecting on these sheet sizes to stress the sheer productivity of printing both sides of a 16pp or 32pp sheet in a single pass. This is going to be of most interest to book and magazine printers where digital printing has yet to make a great impact.