Web Offset Presses--The Hottest Of the Heatset
When it comes right down to it, savvy, educated print buyers have one sweeping requirement of their commercial printers, expressed here in no-frills vernacular: They want more for less.
And, taking into consideration the expert engineering of printing presses on the market today, it's increasingly possible to give them just that. Good news for printing executives who might be poring over product literature, grappling with some tough choices.
Printers shopping for web offset presses all agree on one thing: less is more. Less makeready time, less manpower and less paper waste equal more profitability.
"Right now, [web printers] are looking for a number of things," reports Joe Abbott, director of technical support at MAN Roland. "The first is makeready features—the ability to change plates more quickly and generate less waste. Another, of course, is flexibility. Printers want to be able to produce a variety of sizes and pages out of the delivery system.
"Quality is still paramount," he adds, "although it's more assumed now than it was several years ago. If your press can't print, you can't sell it."
MAN Roland's flagship commercial product in North America, the Rotoman N, does more than just print high-quality products. The web press, equipped with Power Pack, offers a series of features aimed at minimizing makeready, including power plate loading. "We had a customer recently run a job of 250,000 impressions with a total of 70 plates to be changed. He ran the job in under seven hours," attests Abbott.
Diminished makeready time and increased run speeds have consistently gained importance in an industry continually pushed towards shorter run lengths.
The R&D team at Komori America took this into consideration when designing the company's System 20 Series long-grain, half-size web offset press. "The whole press was made for quick makeready and low makeready waste," notes Dave Maret, head of web sales. "That was our design criteria."