Expressing Digital Technology
Judging from the number of exhibitors and show goers at this year's Graph Expo 2002, it appears that printers are willing to invest in new products and technologies more so than they have in previous years. Turnout at booths displaying short-run and digital imaging systems was especially high, with a number of vendors exceeding pre-show expectations.
BTM provides a snapshot of what was available at the show, including products making their North American debut and those recently introduced into the marketplace.
Among its offerings at the show, HP Indigo (www.hp.com) showcased the HP Indigo Press w3200, a web-fed, seven-color press that creates customized, high-impact products for high-volume commercial, publishing and direct mail applications. The press incorporates personalized text and images, composed and printed in real time, delivering a print speed of 8,000 8.5-inch by 11-inch full color impressions per hour.
The w3200 is fully compatible with HP Production Flow, a high-performance RIP and production management system that made its debut at Graph Expo. Also on display was the HP Indigo Press 3000, capable of printing 500 full-color brochures on demand.
The Komori (www.komori.com) Lithrone S40 also made its debut at Graph Expo. The offset press possesses the ability to handle printing data and digital workflows. Its digital on-press function allows laser preparation of the plates. A new ink roller temperature control system increases color stability in continuous printing, which enhances the print quality. The Lithrone S40 received favorable responses from printers at the show.
"Our demonstrations were packed and visitors were very excited about the new features on the LS," says Doug Schardt, product manager for Komori America. "We did countless technical walk-throughs on the press, highlighting the new technology." The Lithrone S40 is environmentally friendly, using an alcohol-free dampener, an ink cartridge configuration and bearings that don't need oiling.
KBA North America
A coater version of KBA's (www.kba-print.com) 29-inch DI offset press made its American debut at Graph Expo. The 74 Karat has the ability to finish sheets immediately or pass them through a second time once the plates have been reimaged. KBA developed the compact digital offset press in cooperation with Scitex to address the expanding market in short-run color format.
Features include complete job change in just 15 minutes from RIP to print and excellent print quality to 10,000 sheets per hour.
MAN Roland (www.manroland.com) introduced the Roland 500 to the North American market to expand market opportunities for printers. According to the company, the Roland 500 sets new production standards by running at 18,000 sheets per hour that enables half-size printers to compete against 40-inch equipment. The 500 handles substrates up to 40-pt. thick, expanding the range of the 500 for areas beyond commercial printing.
Also at the show was a DICOweb digital imaging printing unit first introduced as a concept in 1990. The unit produces runs of 500 to 20,000 copies. MAN Roland emphasized the innovation's high concept heatset capabilities, demonstrating its cost effectiveness as a replacement for sheetfed machines. The DICOweb is a plateless digital web offset press that uses a polymer coating to image directly onto press cylinders and erases the images once completing the print job.
NexPress (www.nexpress.com) showcased its 2100 family of variable data printing solutions. The NexPress performs like an offset press, providing high uptime for maximum productivity while delivering consistent high-quality images. Possessing the capability to use mixed paper stock and collate electronically, the NexPress 2100 easily handles on-demand and web-fulfillment printing, short runs, quick turnaround and produces full-color collated pages.
Adding to its line of digital document management and delivery technology, Océ (www.oceusa.com) displayed the CPS700 Color Production System, which entered the marketplace at the end of 2000. The short-run printer handles a wide variety of color applications, including duplex or tri-fold, personalized or full color. The toner-based system uses Océ's patented Direct Imaging Technology for consistent color quality without stopping the print job to recalibrate. Océ's Color Copy Press technology presses the toner into the paper creating images free of flaking or cracking.
Back-end equipment manufacturer Roll Systems (www.rollsystems.com) demonstrated its DocuSheeter at Graph Expo by partnering with Heidelberg and Xerox. The DocuSheeter operated on line to a Digimaster 9110 at Heidelberg's booth and to a DocuTech 6180 at the Xerox stand. The unit allows up to 18 hours of non-stop paper feeding providing as many as 60,000 sheets per roll, improving productivity and reducing waste. The DocuSheeter runs all form sizes and paper weights handled by the printer and allows users to switch between A4 and A3 applications without changing rolls.
At the Xerox booth, Roll Systems showcased a DocuSheeter with the recently introduced Grain Rotator that produces long grain perfect bound books from rolls, combined with the savings associated with two-up printing. Using a module positioned between the DocuSheeter DT cutter module and the DocuTech, the Grain Rotator takes sheets from the cutter automatically and reorients them at a right angle to their entry direction, presenting grain-appropriate sheets to the DocuTech.
Sakurai introduced two new products in its 26-inch press series at Graph Expo-the 466 SIP and the 566 SIP-for the half-size and smaller printer. The fully automatic, four color convertible perfector press series features a compact design with a maximum running speed of 15,000 impressions an hour. Sakurai re-engineered both models to incorporate automated features such as automatic plate changers, a fully automated perfector changeover and the Sakurai Auto Set sheet preset device.
Scitex Digital Printing (www.scitex.com) displayed the Passport 4300 and the Liberty 7122, two imprinting products from its Dijit series line. Scitex designed both units to print on a wider variety of substrates, including glossy papers metal, film and plastic. The Dijit Passport 4300 provides 2.58 inches of print coverage in a single printhead, speeds to 330 fpm and crisp character resolutions with print resolutions of 300 by 300 dpi.
The Liberty 7122 digital printing system provides a print width of 2.13 inches, while offering crisp character definition at high print speeds to 1,000 fpm at a resolution of 120 by 120 dpi. The Liberty 7122 is suitable for binderies, mailing and fulfillment houses, and commercial printers.
Xeikon (www.xeikon.com) displayed the DCP 320 D, a cost-effective production press featuring One-Pass Duplex technology, and IntelliStream 3.5, a new version of its workflow solution for producing digital color printing. Operating at a speed of 130 pages per minute, the DCP 320 D is suitable for print-on-demand applications. The unit comes with a large roll unwinder from Roll Systems for maximum productivity.
Xeikon offers the DCP 320 D with IntelliStream 3.5, a front-end system that includes real-time print queue management and an easy to use drag-and-drop operation that alters stages of the print job, such as priority and run lengths. The upgrade also features complete job ticket based workflow management, including previewing imposition and job status tracking.
The final entry in our snapshot, Xerox Corp. (www.xerox.com) offered the DocuColor iGen3 digital production press and unveiled a panoply of solutions and services designed to drive growth in the high-end printing business. The Xerox exhibit also featured new book publishing solutions and advanced software for its DocuTech production printers.
These offerings "help commercial printers and graphic arts service providers make more money," says Ursula Burns, president of Xerox document systems and solutions group. Xerox designed the iGen3 Digital Production Press for high-volume, short-run, full-color, on-demand and personalized printing. The iGen3 produces 6,000 impressions per hour and handles a wide array of stocks and sheet sizes at rated speeds.