Holiday parties are well under way and, like most people, I look forward to the warmth and good cheer that this time of year can bring. It always is fun trying to explain to family and friends about the printing industry and what it is I actually do for a living as a business writer/editor and trade...
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For example, the Kodak Prosper S10 System is designed to enable part-page and full-page variable print inline at full speeds with a web offset press or web finishing line. With process-color capability, print and marketing service providers can leverage the specialty printing capabilities of offset—including metallics, heavy color saturation, scratch-off coatings, and other specialty inks—to create a high-value product that can be customized with process color imaging inline at high production speeds. This is ideal for direct mail pieces, catalogs, and other custom publishing solutions, Kodak contends. Its faster cousin, 3,000 fpm Prosper S30 Imprinting System, boasts one of the highest speeds in the industry for “hybrid” offset-digital printing applications.
Likewise, HP’s Print Module Solutions provide an economical, module-based system for web-offset printers to add color images, graphics, and variable data to preprinted pages. Available in color and monochrome, they can print up to 800 fpm and include complete workflow solutions for easy integration with existing equipment. A stitching feature now extends the printing area for additional flexibility and scalability.
These types of units also are a viable option for offset printers with full- and half-size webs standing idle, Hinderliter noted. In this scenario, “the press can be used as a roll stand for paper transport—and not do any lithography,” he explained.
Even with lighter ink coverage on uncoated bond paper, InfoTrends’ Hamilton questions whether inkjet web printing speeds ever will be fast enough for true, mainstream newspaper applications. That is why we are seeing hybrid configurations in this segment, too, such as KBA’s 30.7-inch RotaJET 76. The high-volume, 500 fpm digital web press, developed in collaboration with mega print firm RR Donnelley, can output up to 3,000 four-color A4 pages per minute (that’s 85 million per month!) at 600-dpi resolution. According to Oliver Baar, project manager for KBA digital printing systems, it unites innovative precision engineering, high-powered hardware and software, and cutting-edge piezo inkjet technology to create an industrial-scale production tool for short runs and personalized prints.
The RotaJET initially is targeting the book, brochure, commercial, direct mail, and magazine sectors, with packaging and newspapers to follow, said KBA. The two arrays of 56 printing heads that arch over the two large central impression cylinders can be moved aside for cleaning and maintenance purposes. The print heads are automatically aligned (or “stitched” because the configuration resembles back-stitching) and cleaned. Internal systems communications and the integration of third-party systems are JDF-enabled.
Visitors to drupa saw demonstrations of variable production based on the popular APPE (Adobe PDF Print Engine) workflow. With its powerful front-end kit, the RotaJET can handle large volumes of data at maximum speed in full-color production. The digital press also pumped out gang-stitched magazines and promotional brochures via a SigmaLine inline finishing system from Muller Martini.