Sheetfed Offset, Web Offset, Digital : Defining Crossover Points
"Our grand-format clients include motion picture studios, Apple Computer, Victoria's Secret and other high-profile clients that demand the very highest quality they can get," according to Herb Zebrack, president.
Also on the grand-format side, "Our crossover points between litho and digital depend on size and substrate," adds Jim Shelton, vice president of regional sales. "Those are the two biggest factors. If it all fits, we would go from 0-500 on our Durst flatbeds, then from 500-1,000 on our HP, and above 1,000, we would go to our 81˝ KBA Rapida.
"Once again, those are very grey guidelines depending on equipment availability, client expectations, what we've previously run on that equipment, and if there's something else it has to match," he says. "In every case, however, the decision is made when we quote the job as to how we're going to run it."
With respect to the pushmi- pullyu between sheetfed and web offset, however, "we're the product of what our clients have demanded," Zebrack points out. "If we're going to stay cost-competitive, we need to make sure our printing on the web is as precise and quality-conscious as possible."
Lithographix' sheetfed/web cutoff crosses over around 35,000 impressions, as determined by paper weight, crossovers, number of colors, etc. In figuring the best way to meet client expectations, however, "We might choose to run a web job, staccato printed, in eight sensitive colors, with an order quantity of 40,000, on one of our offset presses," Zebrack says. "Our goal is to enable clients to feel very confident that they're getting the best possible quality, no matter what department it's in."
Alluding to the in-line finishing capabilities that give webs a significant advantage over sheetfed, "We do have in-line finishing from the standpoint of cutting, folding and spot-gluing and those types of applications," he adds. "We even have one eight-unit web on which we can spot- or flood-coat UV."