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PRINT 01: Press trends

Aug 14, 2001 12:00 AM

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The presses exhibited at Print 01 will be well-dressed, to say the least, featuring everything from the highest levels of automation and full CIP3 workflow to automatic color monitoring and more. Being held Sept. 6-13 at McCormick Place (Chicago), Print 01 will showcase technology designed for faster makereadies, shorter runs and tighter turnaround.

Attendees can expect to see a variety of hardware, software and workflow solutions for greater cost efficiency, higher productivity, and the ability to preflight, proof and print jobs in shorter runs, on demand. While many companies are keeping announcements a closely guarded secret, following are some hints of what attendees can expect to see when they arrive in Chicago.

Connecting the world of print
With the help of dynamic presentations and kiosks, Heidelberg (booth 1000) will feature seven solutions, including prepress, digital print, quick print, commercial print, integration and one-pass productivity, commercial web, and postpress. The booth will also feature consumables, an environmental center, a Heidelberg Prinect information center and the Print Media Academy.

"When customers come to the Heidelberg booth, they can learn about our range of solutions and participate in training courses," says Niels Winther, CEO of Heidelberg USA. "The Print Media Academy will offer a variety of interesting sessions conducted by industry experts."

In addition, Heidelberg will invite customers to solution-specific technology breakfasts during the show, allowing them to learn more about the company’s product line and future offerings. A special breakfast for Heidelberg Speedmaster customers is also planned.

Focusing on integration
MAN Roland (booth 900) will focus on demonstrating how a completely integrated workflow can benefit printers in very practical ways. "We want to show integration to a degree that we’ve never shown before in North America," says Kevin Oakes, director, new business development.

All MAN Roland presses will print live jobs, including binding and finishing. Most will be strung together via MAN Roland’s Advanced PECOM ServerNet, which includes the Job Pilot for offline job preparation, Prepress Link for press presetting and Management Link for supplying data to off-the-shelf management systems. All MAN Roland conventional offset presses will be six color except the R200, which will be five color. This will be the first time a five-color MR 200 will be shown in North America.

The highlight of the booth will be the DICOweb, also being shown for the first time in North America. The radically new DICOweb incorporates digital inking with image/erase/reimage, variable sheet cut-off, a modular design and inline postpress operations.

"MAN Roland believes that direct imaging (DI) means direct-to-cylinder, not direct-to-plate and then to press," Oakes explains. "DICOweb gives us DI in the truest sense."

Completely modular, the DICOweb allows printers to change the format size, number of cylinders and finishing operations. To upgrade from four to five colors, printers simply need to add another printing unit. "Because it uses conventional ink and paper, the DICOweb is the first press that can print short runs at the same quality as a conventional offset press--including our other MAN Roland presses," says Oakes.

Front-to-back workflow
Adast America (booth 229), a direct subsidiary of Adast--Czech Republic, will also take a "total workflow" approach at Print, highlighting a prepress studio with the HighWater platesetter supporting the conventional workflow, together with PearlhdpTM 74 and Epson 7000 proofing devices.

Adast will have its 755 CP-DI 26-inch DI press on the floor, shown in a five-color version with coater, automatic blanket washers and IR dryer. Makeready with this press is 12 to 20 minutes, depending on the image resolution. Adast will also display its flagship 800 Series 23 x 29 inch, a six-color press being shown for the first time in the U.S. with a coater and semi-automatic plate changer.

"We will show total digital workflow connected to our European technology and backed by domestic support," says Tomas Krysl, vice president of Adast America.

Remote ink control
Essex Products Group (EPG) (booth 1284) will show all of its KeyColor remote ink-control systems, including its latest product, KeyColor E, a more economical version of its flagship KeyColor products, targeted at small presses and small print shops. KeyColor E will offer all of the standard KeyColor features in a streamlined package.

EPG will also highlight its software for ink-key presetting, KeyColor AutoSet, which reportedly accepts a wide variety of digital image data formats, including CIP3, as well as direct plate scanner input. "With AutoSet, the job will be close to 90 percent up to color at start-up, significantly reducing makeready time and waste," says Pete Alfano, product and sales manager for EPG.

EPG’s KeyColor AutoKey closed-loop color-control system will also be shown with some significant upgrades. In the past, KeyColor AutoKey closed the loop with scanning densitometers. At Print 01, it will be offered in a read-on-the-web version. "Color Control Systems read the color bars as the web is running, sending data to AutoKey for automatic ink-key adjustment," says Alfano. "Consistent color can now be maintained automatically."

Variable-size web
Although known largely for postpress finishing equipment, Muller Martini (booth 953) will also showcase its printing technology for increasing manufacturing efficiencies and throughput. The debut of its Muller Martini A-Series Advantage Press will be a major booth highlight.

Newly redesigned for increased ink coverage, this variable-size web press helps direct-mail production become more efficient. Inline finishing capabilities allow printers to print sixe over six, personalize, perforate, diecut, varnish, fold and trim--all in one pass--at full rated production speed. The latest UV technology allows jobs to be on the press and out the door the same day.

For the first time in the U.S., Muller Martini’s print finishing equipment will be featured in line with its press. Among the company’s inline finishing machines will be its Model 441 Exacto Rotary Trimmer and Model 7256 Forte Compensating Counter Stacker, a combination that is said to boost manufacturing efficiencies and labor savings by trimming and stacking signatures from the press automatically at full production speed.

Focus on DI
Print attendees will also see confirmation of the two most important new trends: the accelerated adoption of on-press DI, and the maturing of chemical-free thermal plates and plate-ink systems.

The first digital on-press imaging system, the Heidelberg GTO-DI, was shown at Print 91. By Graph Expo ’00, Xerox entered the market with two ink-on-paper DI presses: the DocuColor 233 DI and DocuColor 400 DI. Today, there are more than 1,600 Presstek-enabled DI presses operating worldwide.

By Print 01, every significant press manufacturer in the world will offer on-press imaging products, and recent studies predict a tripling of worldwide DI press installations by the end of 2004.

Presstek (booth 5742), which invented on-press imaging technology, will continue to play an increasingly significant role in the growth of digital printing. At Print, Presstek will showcase on-press imaging technology advances, including its ProFire imaging technology, Anthem thermal plates that require no chemical processing and its Dimension CTP System.

Fully digital presses
Attendees looking for fully digital print solutions, however, can visit digital press suppliers like Indigo America (booth 2129), Xeikon (booth 2690) and Xerox (booth 8805), which are all offering continually faster and more robust digital press solutions and variable-data printing software for the digital-printing marketplace. Booth visitors can expect these companies to focus on applications, rather than emphasizing presses.

"We are coming into the age of mainstream commercialization of digital printing," says Johann Laurent, director of marketing for Xeikon. "Commercial printers are realizing their colleagues have embraced digital printing and are being successful doing so. The time to act is now."

Although Xeikon will show its DCP 500D and DCP 320D presses (and likely others) at its booth, it wants visitors to talk with its customers, who will be sharing their stories and commercial samples. "We want to highlight customers and have them available to answer questions," says Laurent. "The Xeikon Digital Printing Assn. will also be at the booth."

Xerox will also make a splash at Print, showcasing its broad array of black-and-white and color digital production devices, as well as its line of digital offset presses. Xerox also plans to announce and display the winners of its competition for the best examples of printing innovation using Xerox imaging and printing devices.

"A recent study estimates that 36 million pages are printed on DocuTechs worldwide every day, and with more than 2,000 Xerox color digital presses installed in the market, Xerox clearly sees its customers rapidly making the transition to digital printing," says Dennis Frahmann, director of global event marketing for Xerox. "At Print, we will showcase these heroes of the new business of printing. We want to help every commercial printer find new paths to profit."

Something for every workflow
Everywhere you look at Print 01, there will be innovation in each aspect of workflow, from full press automation and CIP3 workflow to on-press color monitoring, as well as DI and digital printing.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Attendees can expect many entirely new product introductions at the show itself.

To register for Print 01, visit or contact the Graphic Arts Show Co. at (703) 264-7200.