SMALL-FORMAT PRESSES -- Small, But Powerful
To offset these issues, Perk recommends three MAN Roland offerings for the 20x29˝ and 23x29˝ market: the Roland 200 for "plug-and-play"; the R300 for high-end commercial work; and the R500 for high-end packaging. He says all three presses offer full automation, high-speed production and off-line job preparation for short makeready.
Although some trends are forcing printers to look at smaller format presses, that does not mean they are willing to sacrifice any of the niceties they have become accustom to having on larger format units.
"While shorter run lengths continue to drive demand for smaller size presses, customers continue to demand that the smaller sizes have all the same automation features as the 40˝ presses to cut the impact of more makereadies per shift brought on with the shorter runs," contends Bob McKinney, director of marketing for KBA North America.
"The new Rapida 74 introduced at DRUPA is essentially a mirror image of the 40˝ Rapida 105 press in terms of automation," he explains. This includes automated washup systems, as well as automatic plate change, remote format settings, and all are CIP3/CIP4 compatible for ink settings direct from any CTP unit. On-press imaging will likely be the next step for the smaller size presses, McKinney predicts.
On-press imaging will be the wave of the future—agrees Martin Petersen, of Akiyama Corp. of America—once the cost is reduced in half from what it is today. Now, the focus is on improving workflows and on using CTP information to preset the ink keys, thus cutting makeready times, he says.
Petersen also notes a growing trend toward the use of the perfector concept in sheetfed printing. "The Akiyama Jprint perfecting press prints both sides of a sheet in one pass, without turning the sheet over or changing the gripper edge," he explains. "This leads to an improved workflow, less waste and faster makereadies."