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Jan 1, 1995 12:00 AM
An equipment roundup of the latest innovations in the mid-sized sheet-fed press arena
The mid-sized sheet-fed press of 1995 is a distinctly different animal from its counterpart of the last decade. While the rapid-fire developments in the electronic prepress arena have been well-documented, the good old 40- to 53-inch sheet-fed press hasn't been lagging behind in technical progression.
To say the least, today's mid-sized press isn't simply a configuration of gears, bolts and rollers. Electronic-laden presses are firmly entrenched in the marketplace, making operators' jobs easier, companies' efficiency higher and customer satisfaction stronger.
Exactly how far have these pressroom stalwarts moved forward in recent years? Which ones feature the tools, conveniences and innovative gadgetry suited to your specific operation? To find out, take a gander at the following list of the star attractions on the sheet-fed playbill. Carefully examine each player's strengths and determine if any of these stars might some day be a headliner in your own production.
The Roland 700 40-inch press from MAN Roland features the PECOM press center from which operators remotely control sheet-size settings, inking adjustments, register adjustments and dampening fluid feeding. Operators also can control the operation of inking roller and blanket washing systems, the powder spraying devices and the dampening and fluid conditioning unit. A color monitor displays running speed, inking and dampening unit settings, total counter, run counter and job preset.
Automated features include the PPL system for automatic plate changing, ACD automatic cylinder setting device, side edge control and trend display, and APD automatic printing pressure setting device. ASD automatic size positioning device eliminates numerous manual tasks and reduces makeready times.
The press also features AUPASYS, an optional fully automated pallet transport system. Also optional is RQM (register and quality magnifier), which can enlarge register crosses or picture segments 50 times and display them on the press center monitor for register correction.
Back printing presses
Mitsubishi Lithographic Presses offers the B/B model 3F 40-inch and 5F 51-inch seven-color blanket-to-blanket presses for the packaging industry. The presses are designed to print the back of sheets, after the last print station, without tumbling the sheet over. A series of transfers take the sheet to a double-sized blanket cylinder that prints the back of the sheet. The pressure created to make the print transfer comes from the top single-sized blanket cylinder, allowing a coating to be place on top of the sheet.
The presses provide top coating and back print, all in-line. The sheet also progresses through an extended delivery for curing. The units are capable of applying backprint and no coat, back-print and overall coat and backprint and spot coat. Press speed is 10,000 sph when back printing.
Automated sheet-fed press
KBA-Planeta's Rapida 104 41-inch sheet-fed press features a variety of automated functions. Features include pushbutton changeover to perfecting, semi-automatic plate change and automatic washup for blankets and rollers. The waterless-ready press also offers tracker ball ink profile setup, auto-register via CCD video camera, self-instructive software designed specifically for the printing industry, automatic print quality check, and automatic presets for size adjustment and pressure settings. In addition, the press features pneumatically collapsible transfer drums from the console adjust up for lightweight stocks, down for heavier stocks.
Mid-sized auto press
The Speedmaster 102 40-inch press from Heidelberg features toolless plate changing (Autoplate) and automatic mounting. Slightly more than one minute reportedly is needed per printing unit to unclamp the old plate and lock the new one in place. No clamping bars deform the plates. In addition, CPTronic system controls and monitors the entire press as stipulated by the operator from a central control panel. Automatic register control system, including diagonal plate cylinder adjustment, is said to achieve good register in a few minutes. Fine inking adjustments are performed using a spectrophotometric quality control system (CPC 2-S) that measures colors in the same way they are perceived by the human eye. Available in two- to eight-color configurations, the press also can be equipped with a convertible sheet-reversing device.
Additionally, the Speedmaster 102 CD models feature Multiple Coating Technology. A combination of infrared dryers, hot-air knives and UV curing systems are placed throughout the system to accommodate the needs of various coating materials. The configuration allows in-line application of two coatings in one pass.
The Lithrone 40-inch press from Komori includes several new productivity enhancements, including automatic makeready functions for side blower preset, vertical sucker movement, remote register control and brush wheel functions available at the feeder. The coating unit also is equipped with remote register control and a paper thickness preset. The press also can be equipped with the firm's Print Quality Assessment (PQA) system, Print Quality Control Console (PQC-III) and integrated Print Density Control (PDC-II), together with the Komori Monitoring System (KMS-III).
The PQC-III component features a sectional ink key system that controls ink feed, maintaining optimal levels of ink and water automatically in response to changes in running speed. Color matching and plate registration adjustments are displayed digitally.
The PDC-II is said to provide fast and precise automatic control of ink density during printing. It measures and displays the ink density values with reference to ink density settings.
The KMS-III is a totally integrated system for monitoring and control of automatic makeready functions, including automatic blanket, impression cylinder and ink roller cleaning systems, as well as auto plate changing functions.
PQA provides on-the-run sheet-by-sheet quality monitoring, examining each sheet in less than one-third of a second. It alerts the operator to deviations from pre-determined acceptable standards.