SHEETFED PRESSES -- Sizing Up the Options
Taking a more traditional view of what constitutes a peripheral, Heidelberg's Dowey says printers are now paying more attention to the components of the total press system. "Peripherals like dryers, ink temperature controls, powder systems and ink filling devices play an increasingly important role in overall press productivity," he explains. As for the possibility of business conditions forcing buyers to trim their feature wish lists, Dowey adds that highly automated presses retain a larger percentage of their investment price.
MAN Roland's Cerfontaine advises printers to look at the even bigger picture when equipping a press. "Networking separate pieces of equipment within a printing plant to create a computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) system is the most important development to implement in order to increase uptime, get more out of the equipment and push JIT (just-in-time) production. This concept incorporates the CIP4-developed JDF workflow," he explains.
Along with support for a CIP4 interface, Mullen of Mitsubishi sees an industry trend toward adding closed-loop color control systems. This is being done by incorporating scanning densitometry or spectrophotometer systems, he says. Heidelberg's Dowey agrees, noting that most press manufacturers now offer at least an entry-level system for closed-loop measurement and control of color bars via scanning spectrophotometers.
A case in point is Heidelberg's new AxisControl module for its Prinect system, Dowey says. The spectrophotometry-based color measuring system is integrated into the press manufacturer's CP2000 press control center. In keeping with the opportunities it sees in the area of peripherals, the company has also extended its CANopen technology to enable virtually all Star components for Speedmaster 74 and 102 presses to be controlled and monitored using the CP2000 touchscreen. CAN stands for "Controller Area Network" and is a globally standardized data bus system.
To enhance quality control, all PECOM-operated MAN Roland presses can be equipped with a new ColorPilot console that adds spectrophotometry measurements to the classic densitometric readings.