Perhaps the U.S. business economy is taking a turn for the better, as evidenced by several print firms making substantial capital equipment investments at GRAPH EXPO this week. As of noon Tuesday, Komori America (Booth 1255) had sold eight Lithrone sheetfed presses at the show. Two of its GL-640 models with inline coaters going to direct-marketing printer Segerdahl Corp., Wheeling, IL, which now is branded as SG 360°. “The first press will be delivered within the next few weeks,” reports Marketing Director Sue Baines.
With the press manufacturer’s ongoing focus on automation, Product Manager Doug Schardt asked whether waste trumps speed in today’s plants. In the quest to save on printing costs, trimming waste may be as important as faster run times, he contends. In the Komori booth, one focus is automating the printing process, which “is more than just automating the machine,” says Schardt. The semi-automated presetting of job specifications is one example of this. Another example of process automation is more efficient makereadies, where “we’ve made tremendous advancements,” he notes. “Our pre-inking program [performs] like it’s on steroids,” achieving ink stability in 20 sheets. These days, “stock costs more than press time,” Schardt adds.
Water: A double-edged sword
Komori also is showing a video virtual demo of its Impremia IS 29, an inkjet printing system. Available in both sheetfed and roll-fed configurations, the 29" digital press is expected to be ready by PRINT 13 next September. “We’re somewhere between alpha and beta testing right now,” Schardt says. “In the sheetfed mode, the device can perfect or run straight.”
Inkjet print technology is predicated on water-based inks, points out Schardt, because liquidity is necessary for jetting/spraying. “But water is bad for paper. Our Impremia technology employs a special dryer.” Another approach is Landa Labs’ new nano-ink solution, which “cooks off the water,” explains Schardt, who added that Komori is building the sheet-transport system for a nanographic press model.