Small- & Medium-Format Sheetfeds — Armed To Compete
The sheetfed offset printing market continues to feel pressure—be it from rival markets or outside forces such as pricing battles and shrinking run lengths. As more economical digital print runs extend, and affordable web press runs shorten, manufacturers involved in the small- and medium-format (29˝ and smaller) sheetfed space are equipping their wares with the capabilities needed to compete—and win.
“The competition from the web market is becoming more noticeable, but when it comes to the short-run color market, web presses have a number of things going against them,” contends Michael Iburg, product manager, KBA North America. “On a sheetfed press, makeready time is much shorter, waste in terms of paper, ink and other consumables is much less, and the manpower required to run a sheetfed press is less. And, last but not least, there is still a remarkable difference in the quality achieved with a sheetfed press compared to the quality on a web press.”
The keyless Gravuflow inking system can be found on the KBA Genius 52 UV. This is a fully dedicated UV press, and can print on plastics, static cling, lenticular, vinyl and a variety of other substrates. The 14 x 20˝ format press can print on substrates ranging all the way up to 32-pt. Also available is the 29˝, six-up KBA Performa 74 press and the four-color, 29˝ KARAT 74 DI press.
On the flip side, Hamada of America’s Mike Dighton feels that digital printing still has a way to go to seriously compete with the quality of sheetfed offset printing. The company’s B452 press operates in the 500 to 30,000 impression marketplace.
“As far as digital goes, they are too slow and cost too much to produce quality runs of any length,” Dighton remarks. “Customers want color, and the only way to run real quality is on a conventional offset press.”