Driven by printers demanding a major leap forward in press technology to improve their competitive positions and the value of their printed products, Goss International was the first to respond with the gapless Sunday press concept for high-speed, wide-web production. The Goss Sunday 5000 – the world’s first 96-page web press – is the latest milestone in this visionary effort to maximize productivity, reduce waste and transform web printing into an automated, high-tech industrial manufacturing process.
Sunday 5000 presses, in production since 2009 with a web width of 2,860 mm (112 inches), incorporate more than two decades of Goss wide-web innovation and accumulated process knowledge. Multiple systems in operation and the first repeat order for a second press prove the economic and competitive advantages of the 96-page format, the Goss innovations that enable it, and the ability of Goss International to support successful installations.
High-pagination makes sense
Goss International began discussing the concept of a 96-page press with forward-looking web printers in 2005 and then surprised the industry at large when it was the first supplier to announce plans to develop such a press in 2007. Some doubted the technical feasibility of such a wide offset press. Many questioned the business sense, given the impact of economic recession and the expansion of alternative media in the ensuing years. “Overcapacity” was a label commonly attached to the commercial web offset industry, and a higher-pagination format seemed counterintuitive.
Proactive printing companies recognize that the opposite is true: that offense, rather than defense, is necessary to confront economic and media challenges. They continue to focus on optimized capacity rather than overcapacity, and an increasing number realize that the 96-page platform represents a much needed path to more cost-effective and competitive print production.
Overall demand for traditional commercial web products may not return to pre-2007 levels, but the stabilization of volumes, the rebound in some sectors and an expanded application range reflect the ongoing viability and strength of web offset printing. This volume will be concentrated among printers that invest in technology that allows them to take significant cost and waste out of the process, produce a wider variety of products, manage shorter run lengths, and take volume away from other processes such as sheetfed or gravure. The 96-page web press format addresses all of these opportunities.
2,860 mm is an optimal width
The 2,860-mm (112-inch) web width of the Goss Sunday 5000 press allows up to 12 full-size magazine pages across the cylinder and four pages around the cylinder in long-grain orientation (for A4 products, this width allows as many as 13 pages across). Goss International research compiled by studying the job records of web printers worldwide from 2000 to 2010 indicates that this is an optimal format for double-circumference production.
This research data has confirmed that press systems producing an even number of sections in 16-page increments (32- and 64-page presses, or duplexed 48-page presses) are the most compatible with page breaks required by publishers, advertisers and print buyers. Companies operating press systems in these formats maximize productivity by utilizing the full web width for more than 80 percent of their jobs.
In contrast, printers operating 72- and 80-page presses run narrower webs far more frequently, sacrificing efficiency and productivity. The logic and research results are consistent for tabloid production, with an even number of eight-page sections being optimal.
The efficiency of the 2,860-mm width carries over to the bindery, where Goss Sunday 5000 presses reduce finishing costs for high-pagination magazines and catalogs. These products are typically produced with sections of up to 48 magazine pages due to the barriers to folding larger sections with higher quality paper stocks in excess of 90 grams. Producing two 48-page sections simultaneously (or a single 48-page tabloid section) on a Sunday 5000 press utilizes the full web-width and allows high-quality finished products to then be built in the bindery with the fewest possible number of sections and the fewest number of bindery stations.
Prior to the availability of the 96-page press, some web printers opted for duplexed 48-page systems to achieve optimal versatility and efficiency. However, a single-web press with the same capacity offers the advantages of fewer printing units, paper webs and crew members.
Not only 2x48 and long runs
The advantages of printing 96 magazine pages per impression might suggest that the Goss Sunday 5000 press is designed exclusively for high-pagination products in this format. In fact, printers now use the press to produce magazine, tabloid, square tabloid, slim-jim, and digest products in an equally varied range of page counts.
Goss combination and former folding technology and, in particular, Goss ingenuity in multi-ribbon angle bar configurations enables this versatility. Operators using Goss combination folders can divide the 2,860-mm Sunday 5000 web into as many as four ribbons per folder. Goss former folders accommodate up to 10 ribbons, providing additional page-count and page-break options. Cantilevered angle bars, automated presetting, push-button controls, and on-the-run adjustments simplify the process of managing multiple web leads and make it fast and easy to change the folder configuration between jobs.
Versatility extends the application range of a 96-page Goss Sunday 5000 press to retail inserts, catalogs, direct mail, books and specialized or niche-products. At current sites, printers routinely use the multi-ribbon capability to produce four separate catalogs or retail flyers per impression, at up to 180,000 copies per hour. Sunday 5000 press users have also been able to proactively promote the wider format to publishers and advertisers and present them with new, more efficient page-count and product possibilities.
Short-run agility compounds the versatility and output capacity and further extends the application range of the 96-page Sunday 5000 press. Goss automation enables the productivity of the expanded web width to be achieved without a corresponding increase in operator effort, makeready time and start-up waste. The Goss Web Center and Omnicon workflow and control systems are vital in this area, managing presets and closed-loop systems and allowing many mechanical adjustments to be made from the touch-screen console. As a result, Sunday 5000 presses are competitive at runs as low as 30,000 copies as well as at run lengths well into the millions and commonly associated with gravure production.
From another perspective, Goss automation allows a company that moves from standard 48-page web production to the Goss Sunday 5000 platform to double its productivity with no increase in crew size and labor requirements.
Goss Automatic Transfer and non-stop edition change options provide additional market-driven opportunities to excel in short-run, versioned applications. Automatic Transfer technology allows continuous full-speed operation, without stopping the press for version or job changes. Alternatively, with the non-stop edition change option, a press slows down but does not stop for automated version changes with minimal waste.
Innovative enabling technologies were required
With the first Goss Sunday 5000 press installations proving the logic and viability of the 96-page web offset platform, a natural question is: ‘Why didn’t press suppliers offer this option sooner?’
The answer lies in the technical challenges. No press supplier could simply decide to pursue a 2,860-mm-wide system because it was a good idea. Developing this press required extensive process knowledge and practical experience in high-speed, wide-format splicing, lithography, web handing, drying, folding and process automation. Multiple ‘building blocks’ had to be in place and proven before the format could be considered.
The Goss Sunday press sleeve blanket, introduced in 1992, was step one. This revolutionary technology eliminated the vibration, cylinder bounce and associated print defects that previously limited the width of two-around and four-around presses to 1,016 mm (40 inches) and 1,450 mm (57 inches) respectively, opening the door to higher quality at higher speeds on wider webs.
The original Goss Sunday 3000 press pushed web printing from 75,000 16-page impressions (2x4 magazine pages) per hour to 100,000 iph on presses that were first 50 percent (2x6) and then 100 percent (2x8) wider. Goss Sunday 4000 press models provided corresponding advantages in the four-around format. Today, more than 50 percent of the approximately 3,500 commercial web printing units with a web width greater than 1,450 mm (57 inches) in operation worldwide are Goss printing units.
Since being the first to introduce gapless blankets, Goss International has used its head start and unmatched experience to continuously refine the blanket technology itself. This has produced lower blanket costs, premium performance across a wider range of applications and substrates, and a blanket life that commonly exceeds 25 million impressions.
Goss International also introduced fully automatic plate changing in 1995. Accumulated experience from more than 4,700 Goss Autoplate printing couples now working reliably in real-world production environments is evident in the Goss Sunday 5000 Autoplate system. Changing the plates with more than three square meters of surface area is a fast, accurate and easily repeatable push-button process for a single operator.
Goss DigiRail digital inking has been installed on well over 5,000 printing couples and is another key innovation supporting the move to a 2,860-mm web width. DigiRail technology enables faster presetting and gives operators more accurate control, minimizing the potential complexity of managing color and ink density across such a wide web. The presetting accuracy and stability even allows some jobs to be run without color bars.
Splicing and drying innovations are also key building blocks for the Sunday 5000 platform. With a 7,500 kilogram capacity, the Goss Contiweb FD paster was the first to accommodate paper reels that are up to 1,524 mm (60 inches) in diameter and it provides automated roll handling, consistent tension for wide webs, and average successful splice rates exceeding 99.5 percent.
Within Goss dryers, integrated chill rolls improve print quality by suppressing condensate, while advanced web guiding improves tension and minimizes web breaks. Goss dryers were the first to incorporate integrated afterburners and to recover and reuse evaporated solvents as fuel. Today, the Goss Ecoset dryer for a Sunday 5000 press requires less energy and produces lower emissions than most competitive dryers for 16-page web presses.
More valuable and more competitive
Goss Sunday 5000 press installations confirm that printers have been able to install and integrate the new Goss wide-web systems within their workflows and quickly achieve efficient operation and profitably. The 2,860-mm (112-inch) width has proven to be compatible with common formats and page breaks, allowing optimal utilization of the full web width. The first Sunday 5000 presses also demonstrate the ability of Goss splicing, printing, drying, folding, control and process automation technologies to work in concert, allowing extremely high quality and productivity along with low waste in both long- and short-run applications.
A vision for enhancing the value of printed products is the foundation for Goss International’s leadership in developing wide-web press technology. As media and economic pressures have confronted the print sector, wider Sunday press formats supported by innovative Goss enabling technologies have continuously provided printers with important competitive advantages.
Printers that have installed the latest Goss Sunday 5000 platform are realizing that the 96-page press presents another opportunity to bypass incremental improvements and achieve groundbreaking new standards for productivity and cost effectiveness. With three presses in full operation in three locations and one printer investing in its second system, the Goss 96-page option is proving to be the right approach to the demands of the market and the advantages of high-quality, wide-web production.