Responding to market needs and the continuing expansion of digital printing’s reach in the pressroom, offset press manufacturers are developing new technologies, supplying machines that can quickly and efficiently change over between jobs and produce good, sellable color using the minimal amount...
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Responding to market needs and the continuing expansion of digital printing’s reach in the pressroom, offset press manufacturers are developing new technologies, supplying machines that can quickly and efficiently change over between jobs and produce good, sellable color using the minimal amount of sheets. They are making offset presses more efficient, in terms of shorter makeready times, more consistency from job-to-job and within each run, and the generation of less overall waste.
Offset presses continue to offer speed, print quality and cost effectiveness that are hard to beat when print volumes reach a few thousand copies.
But digital printing has its own set of strengths, allowing for personalization and versioning with variable data along with more economical shorter run, on-demand printing. Digital presses of all stripes continue to up their quality levels, posing even greater competition for offset machines.
More and more pressrooms contain both offset and digital printing equipment, allowing printers to employ hybrid printing techniques that combine the strengths of both types of equipment—a good thing for the industry, as digital platform continue to make inroads into traditional print venues. “The two technologies working together offers the graphics provider greater flexibility, allowing them to deliver their customers a broader range of options that are more customized, cost effective, and flexible for today’s business environment, ” observes John Sammis, president, Van Son Holland Ink.
In fact, many printing vendors, including Heidelberg, KBA, and manroland, offer both traditional offset and digital printing technologies. Others, such as Goss International, integrate inkjet capabilities into their offset press.
Van Son, recognizing the growth of the hybrid pressroom, expanded its line of “Laser Safe” ink products to allow for a trouble-free move to digital printing after initial sheet fed runs. To better adapt to the high heat requirements of most digital printers, Van Son is developing these inks to offer greater flexibility, actively working with digital printer OEM’s to ensure it is keeping pace with advancing requirements.
Finding The Best Solution
When considering an investment in print technologies, the decision should be based on which solution best suits the printers customer base, product offerings, and production requirements, says Andy Rae, Sr. Vice President, Marketing and Equipment, Heidelberg USA, Inc. “The investment should take into consideration which machine or machines offer the widest range and flexibility of production to capture as much business as possible within the target market, the total operating costs, and the ROI.”
For example, says Rae, “printing on an Anicolor offset press is more cost effective than printing on a digital solution for run-lengths greater than 200 sheets of static printing. Furthermore, at printing speeds of up to 15,000 sph, the same offset press is far less expensive and more suitable for printing longer run-lengths. The offset printing press can continue printing without stopping until the plates are worn, and of course there is no click charge.”
Anicolor inking technology, currently available for the Speedmaster SM 52, was exhibited on the Speedmaster XL 75 at drupa 2012. This technology enables the press to achieve good color in short run, job-to-job production using as little as 10 sheets in makeready, which contributes to highly efficient, high quality offset printing for short run production, says Rae.
“As a total solutions supplier, we have added a line of digital machines to our portfolio: the Linoprint C751, C901, and the Linoprint L,” notes Rae. “Through Prinect, we offer a digital front end workflow that can drive both digital and conventional processes using the same prepress and management workflow, including scheduling. This is what we mean by HEI Flexibility.”