Sheetfed Presses--Getting Connected
Although time savings will be affected by the condition of the equipment, skill of the operator and other factors, experience shows that printers can use remote ink control to achieve time savings of 30 percent to 50 percent. For example, if makeready takes 15 minutes per fountain, a printer doing four makereadies per day on a four-color sheetfed press should save 28 hours per month. Six makereadies per day could save more than 42 hours per month.
Achieving closed loop color control is also a primary concern of today's sheetfed printer. Essex Products Group (EPG) has worked with color measurement system manufacturers so that users of the company's KeyColor remote ink control systems can close the loop on color. The KeyColor AutoKey system is a complete, remote ink control system coupled with an automatic scanning densitometer for closed loop operation. It reads colorbars and automatically adjusts the ink key settings as required to maintain the desired density in each zone.
The EPG AutoKey system further reduces makeready time, saves materials and keeps a tight control on color quality. Statistical data are automatically collected and stored for recall as evidence of color control throughout the press run. The system boasts rapid investment payback, usually within a year of purchase.
For example, Spectrum Printing, of Tecumseh, MI, was able to achieve a significant quality improvement and savings in cost and time by closing the loop between the KeyColor system and a Tobias SDT 40 scanning densitometer. According to Andy van Staveren, president of Spectrum Printing, "With the time savings that it has helped me achieve, the system paid for itself within six months. Plus, the productivity savings were incredible."
Additionally, Spectrum's quality improvements were so great that the company considered its productivity savings as a secondary benefit. The $3.5 million printer purchased a KeyColorC for its four-color Komori Lithrone press in order to answer customers' demands for increased quality.