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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Regionalization with DirectDrive Technology offers imprint as well as language changes at full speed without stopping the press, explains Wiedemann. It also can provide coating to increase the optical appearance of the printed product. It´s available on ROTOMAN DirectDrive and on most of manroland LITHOMAN press models.
A partnership with Océ allows “us to offer the best in class digital printing press supplier in ink jet technology, together with our finishing and workflow knowledge for industrial printing applications,” says Wiedemann.
“An exciting development we are seeing is the growing number of printers that are integrating ink jet capabilities within their web press systems in a hybrid arrangement,” observes Greg Norris, marketing, Goss Systems. “This gives them web offset speed, quality and cost effectiveness in combination with the ability to customize some of the content. We know that versioning and personalization drives higher response rates and reader engagement. Therefore, this opportunity to vary some content inline is improving the overall value proposition of web offset printing.”
This type of hybrid application with Goss web presses is becoming increasingly common in the direct mail sector, “and we expect to see increasing adoption of hybrid digital and offset printing in packaging, newspaper, magazine, catalog, insert and general commercial printing applications,” says Norris. “Goss can support these types of installations with hardware, software and in-line finishing components that accommodate and integrate ink jet heads from multiple suppliers.”
Goss has focused heavily on automation, presetting and digital workflow capabilities in recent years and, as a result, printers operating Goss web presses are very competitive at these run lengths, says Norris. The expansion of web offset to shorter and shorter run lengths – often in combination with hybrid ink jet capabilities – is delivering important economic advantages and opportunities for printers that invest in modern, agile web offset press platforms.
Closing the Productivity Gap
While offset and digital both have their advantages, there is a productivity gap, generally categorized as runs from 500 to 20,000, explains Brian Wolfenden, Presstek Director of Marketing Communications. “Less than 500 sheets can generally be produced more economically on digital, and 20,000+ is more appropriate and economical for conventional offset,” says Wolfenden. “However, that still leaves a gap, and that volume band, according to InfoTrends research, is the fastest growing volume band, one which commercial printers must be able to economically address.”
That’s where solutions such as Presstek DI digital offset presses come into play, explains Wolfenden. “These presses simultaneously image chemistry-free plates on press in precise register, they eliminate the need for a separate platemaking process and the associated platemaking and chemistry costs. Their waterless printing technology means a wider color gamut even for heavy solids, and a significant reduction in plant water consumption. And their ability to go from digital file to printed sheet in six minutes provides a super fast job-to-job changeover—carries not only a cost benefit, but a productivity benefit that allows shops to push more jobs through every single day, often with the ability to differentiate themselves by delivering very high quality (300 lpi/stochastic screening) true offset work same day or next day.
Some new additions to on the Presstek 75DI, announced at drupa 2012, include Integrated inline inkjet heads for variable data, a perfecting device that can be automatically converted between normal printing and perfecting, and the Presstek Virtuoso inline color management and sheet inspection system.