ALTHOUGH MANY industry pundits were quick to label Drupa 2008 as The Digital Ink-Jet Drupa--given the technology previews shown there by the likes of Kodak, HP, Océ, Screen and Fujifilm--traditional sheetfed and web offset press manufacturers were just as diligent in showcasing their vision regarding the print shop of the future.
Based on the sampling of new press offerings highlighted here, the massive trade show could just as easily have been called The Large-Format Press Drupa; The Short-Run, Fast Makeready Offset Press Drupa; and even The Value-Added Press Drupa.
These themes were very apparent from Heidelberg, which filled two entire halls that were networked with its JDF-based Prinect workflow management system. Among Heidelberg's several press debuts and upgrades, the centerpiece was a six-color, 64? Speedmaster XL 162 very-large-format (VLF) press with coater. (Its new 56? Speedmaster 145 model is also available.) The 15,000 sheets per hour (sph), "Peak Performance Class" presses are geared toward the packaging and industrial printing segments. Perfecting versions of the VLF presses are not yet available, but are on the horizon.
Among other "Peak Performance" models, the 41? Speedmaster XL 105 is now offered in a perfecting configuration, which can boost productivity by up to 40 percent at press speeds to 15,000 sph. In the 29? format, the new Speedmaster XL 75 replaces Heidelberg's current Speedmaster CD 74 offering. Capable of 18,000 sph, the XL 75 boasts a larger sheet format, the Prinect Press Center with Intellistart operator guidance system (now available on all new Speedmaster models), air presets for sheet travel, and a new delivery control panel with touchscreen and jog wheel. Offered with up to 12 printing units, in-line finishing options including double coaters, FoilStar cold foiling and Duo flexo units before the offset units.
All XL series presses are also now available with the new AutoPlate XL simultaneous plate changing system.
Heidelberg also unveiled the 20? Speedmaster SM 52 and 29? Speedmaster SM 74 series, which combine the former Printmaster PM 52/74 and Speedmaster SM 52/74 models. They are available in customized configurations, ranging from a standard-pile delivery to a fully automated press with high-pile delivery. The SM 52 version with Anicolor short inking unit technology now also supports spot colors.
Faster Makereadies, New Features
Over in Hall 16, KBA laid claim to being the world makeready champion at Drupa after a demonstration of printing a total of 15 jobs, each of 520 good sheets, in just 59 minutes and 36 seconds on an eight-color Rapida 106 perfector. The run entailed 14 complete makereadies. The new 29x413/4?, 18,000 sph press (15,000 sph in perfecting mode) features DriveTronic dedicated drives for presetting the feeder, improving sheet travel in the sidelay-free infeed and for the plate cylinders to enable simultaneous plate changes in under 60 seconds.
Also new, the Rapida 105 (replaces the 105 universal) is available with up to seven printing units and a choice of coaters. Maximum speeds are 15,000 sph (16,500 sph with the HS package). Running under the Windows XP operating system, UV/hybrid and automatic plate changing are optional. A DriveTronic shaftless feeder is standard. KBA's Rapida 75, which builds on the Rapida 74 and Performa 74, enjoys 30 new features and an optional, larger 233/4x291/2? format.
In the large-format arena, KBA showed an eight-color (4/4), 56? Rapida 142 perfector with new enhancements designed for commercial printers. These include optimized sheet guides with fewer, narrower corridors; a new perfector delivery; as well as QualiTronic color control, in-line sheet inspection and sheet tagging systems.
In addition, the print length of the perfector version of the 64? Rapida 162a has been extended to 46?, making it possible to use the full sheet size of 471/4x633/4? when perfecting.
For newspaper web printers, KBA displayed a four-high tower of a 6/2 waterless Cortina and a tower from a Commander CT press. For the commercial market, Compacta presses now enjoy the benefits that RollerTronic roller locks deliver in terms of print quality, energy efficiency and maintenance.
Komori Corp. made a surprise announcement during the show about its plan to invest Yen 10 billion to expand its flagship Tsukuba factory in Tsukuba City, Japan. According to company officials, the facility will double in size to become the world's largest press manufacturing facility.
This investment comes, in part, to anticipated demand for its new Lithrone SX40 (LSX40) short-run press platform. Capable of speeds to 18,000 sph and accommodating a 41? sheet size, the six-color LSX40 with coater enables a 50 percent reduction in makeready times. This is partly due to new KHS-AI "advanced intelligence" sheetfed technology, as well as a faster, fully automatic plate changing system. All inking functions, and air and register presets, are controlled with the touch of a button.
"Self-learning" capabilities also preset the press based on substrate conditions. And a Smart Sequence feature enables users to select the most appropriate of three pre-programmable, automatic operations for complete press setup.
To illustrate value-added printing, a six-color Lithrone SX629 was equipped with in-line foiling, in-line UV coating and in-line embossing. The six-up press, which handles up to a 24x291/2? sheet, can also be specified with an in-line diecutting unit.
A 4/4 Lithrone S440SP Super Perfector demonstrated Komori's new PQA-S Print Quality Assessment System. PQA-S inspects the running sheet with a CCD camera, creating a digital memory. Incorrect sheets are then identified on the PQA monitor. Likewise, a five-color version of Komori's Spica 29P perfector debuted, whereby the fifth unit enables a varnish or special color.
Among the few web presses actually running at this Drupa, Komori provided daily demonstrations of its 16-page 38S heatset press equipped with a high-speed, single chopper folder. The press featured a new Komori flying paster, integrated infeed, web guides and cutoff control. Job changeovers are enhanced with KHS-AI link and sequence control, while PQA-W monitors quality during makereadies and production.
Focusing much attention at Drupa on its name change and rebranding from MAN Roland to manroland, the press manufacturer debuted a new 20?, 13,000 sph contender: the Roland 50, which incorporates technology from its XXL press platform.
This includes double-size printing cylinders and transferters that allow printing on substrates ranging from 0.04-mil lightweight papers to 0.8-mil board stocks. Remote adjustment of substrate thickness is automatic, axial and radial register is via the plate cylinders, and--like with its XXL presses--diagonal register works via the transferter.
Additional features such as easily cleanable, QuickChange surface ink fountains, automated plate changers, blanket washing devices and ColorPilot online color control make the press well-suited for short runs. With its RCI remote ink key control, the operator panel (integrated within the delivery) enables one-person operation.
At the other end of the size spectrum, manroland announced the sale of its first Roland 900 XXL in a perfecting configuration to a German customer. The manufacturer's perfecting technology can now accommodate up to a 51.2x72.8? sheet size. At Drupa, it exhibited a Roland 900-7B+ (47.2x63.8? maximum sheet size) perfector equipped with the new InlineColorPilot color control system and the APL fully automatic plate changing system.
Also in operation, a 29? Roland 500 incorporated an Inline-Foiler Prindor cold foil transfer module; a six-color Roland 700 HiPrint scored points with InlineInspector and InlineSorter for quality control, and QuickChange for fast makereadies; and a Roland 700 DirectDrive 10-color perfector was shown.
On the commercial web front, manroland highlighted a printing unit for a 96-page, 112?-wide Lithoman. A Rotoman unit previewed the DynaChange system that allows plates changes at full press speeds. In the newspaper arena, a Colorman unit showcased the APL plate changing system based on robotic technology. Also, an Innocure UV dryer addressed the growing interest in hybrid heatset-coldset combination printing.
Mitsubishi unveiled its Diamond V3000 series of sheetfed presses. A six-color Diamond V3000LX with coater, extended delivery, and UV and IR drying demonstrated a new approach to strike-through coating. The press featured the Diamond Color Navigator system for touchscreen color control.
An eight-color Diamond V3000R convertible perfector incorporated new double-diameter sheet reversing cylinders, along with a new belt-type delivery, to enable printing speeds to 16,200 sph--during both straight and perfecting runs. And a 10-color Diamond V3000TP Tandem Perfector was equipped with Mitsubishi's SimulChanger fully automatic plate changing system. Also able to achieve rated speeds of 16,200 sph, the manufacturer touted both Diamond V3000 models to be the fastest perfectors available in the industry.
Video presentations were shown on the company's range of shaftless web presses, the "MAX-Saver" package of programs that reduce makeready times and the MAX Diamond-Eye quality control device.
Known for its smaller-format models, Ryobi used the show to enter the full-size, 40? press market by showing its new five-color, 16,000 sph 1050-5 model. The new 1050 series combines an attractive price point with features such as double-diameter impression cylinders; moveable, shell-type skeleton transfer drums; optional in-line PQS Print Quality Control System; new PCS-L dual-monitor control system; and semi-automatic plate changers (auto plate changers optional). Available in two versions, the S format has a maximum 41.34x27.95? print area and the larger XL, a maximum 41.34x30.31? print area.
Demonstrating value-added printing, a five-color Ryobi 755 was equipped with an in-line UV casting and foiling system, which enables hologram effects and foil application from a single unit at speeds to 15,000 sph. As a technology demonstration, a five-color 525GX model featured a new LED UV curing system. Advantages include up to an 80 percent reduction in power consumption, elimination of ozone emissions and LED lamps that last up to 12 times longer.
Existing Presses Upgraded
Akiyama International displayed a MEGA Jprint 40 series sheetfed press with in-line double coaters. The new version of the JP440 model is capable of speeds to 15,000 sph, while the JP540 achieves speeds to 14,000 sph. Improvements include more stable feeder and delivery mechanisms; a new sucker head for control of paper feeding; a swing gripper base made of a new material; a new mechanism to prevent sheet overruns; two additional transfer cylinders in the delivery section to suppress paper movement; and optional, fully automatic plate changers. Based on its 40? Bestech series, Akiyama also debuted a 16,500 sph SUPERTECH model incorporating several enhancements.
Sakurai exhibited three sheetfed offset presses. These included a five-color OL 596SDC with coater and IR drying system; a six-color OL 675SDWC, fitted with the wide option to handle 26x311/2? plates, and a coater and UV drying system; as well as five-color OL 566SD waterless press running technology supplied by Toray.
The centerpiece of the Goss International stand was demonstrations of its new M-600 Folia web press, which is designed as an alternative to sheetfed perfectors. Incorporating M-600 printing units, a custom sheeter developed in combination with VITS, the press prints up to 30,000 perfected sph on coated stock without a dryer and uses standard sheetfed inks.
Press options include Autoplate plate changing and DigiRail digital inking technologies, closed-loop controls, as well as the Goss Web center system for automated presetting, waste reduction and workflow management.
Magnum 4, Uniliner, FPS (Flexible Printing System) and Sunday 4000 press units with new capabilities and features were also on display, and Goss promoted the world's first 96-page Sunday 5000 press to be installed later this year by an Italian customer, who also ordered a second Sunday 5000 during the show.
Also on the web offset front, Muller Martini demonstrated variable-size web offset printing with flexo varnishing on OPP film on an Alprinta 52V; Drent Goebel showed a five-color, 33? wide VSOP with UV and EB curing; TKS touted its Color Top 3100CMUD single-width, shaftless newspaper and semi-commercial press; Tensor Group reported on current installations of its single-width models designed for the semi-commercial, insert and newspaper markets; and Web Press Corp. highlighted its Quad-Stack 4/4 color printing unit for adding color to existing single-width, one-around press lines or as components within complete press lines.
More Drupa coverage on new and improved pressroom consumables and accessories will follow in future issues. PI