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Oct 1, 2009 12:00 AM


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While attendance was down at the PRINT show, this year — 18,000 print professionals from 94 countries — many concede that those who attended were serious and upbeat despite the economic climate. GASC's incentive package encouraged vendors to bring their equipment, but a few exhibitors left their iron at home. Ray Prince, vice president and senior consultant, operations management, NAPL (Paramus, NJ), sums up some visitors' frustration in these booths. “We come here to buy things, and we want to see what we're buying,” he says. “If I can do it all on a computer screen, then let me sit in my office. I want to see everything.”

We've been tracking press manufacturers' announcements in the ramp up to PRINT 09 (see “Let's get digital,” July 2009, and “Offset, inkjet & toner,” August 2009). The following updates from the show floor reflect pressroom vendors' response to this tough year through new solutions and services.

New cylinder replacement program, dryer enhancement

Goss Intl. (Bolingbrook, IL) has established a new cylinder replacement program for M-600 web presses. The initiative, which includes pricing incentives and the opportunity to update the plate lock-up system on older presses, is part of the Goss Lifetime Support program. The new M-600 enhancement program includes a favorable discount on the cost of the replacement cylinders, which is available through the end of the year.

Goss also introduced a new Ecochill heatset dryer enhancement for existing heatset dryers. It uses proven technologies from Goss Ecocool dryers to eliminate condensate on the chill rollers, preventing print defects such as smearing and ink picking and allowing web presses to be run at higher speeds. The enhancement eliminates the requirement for a smoke tunnel and is available as a retrofit on all Goss Ecotherm and Ecoweb dryers as well as some dryers manufactured by other suppliers.

Following the show on September 28, Shanghai Electric (Group) Corp. (SEC) completed its investment, initiated in June, to become second largest shareholder of Goss Intl.

Goss CEO Jochen Meissner says, “Their investment should send a strong signal to printers and publishers regarding our strength, stability and long-term capacity to deliver value.” The companies' worldwide platform will include manufacturing operations in America, Asia and Europe.”

See www.gossinternational.com.

Heidelberg enhances service, demos streamlined production

Heidelberg USA (Kennesaw, GA) introduces a two-year warranty on Heidelberg Original Parts, in addition to a new service pricing structure to meet the regular repair and maintenance needs of its customers. Earlier this year, Heidelberg conducted an extensive market study of its customers in an effort to ensure that the very best service and parts products are offered specific to customer requirements. Heidelberg will warranty any Heidelberg Original Spare Mechanical Part for a period of two years, provided a Heidelberg technician installs the part.

Key elements of Heidelberg's comprehensive portfolio were displayed in a 30,000-sq.-ft., fully integrated print shop environment. Heidelberg offered demonstrations of the Peak Performance Speedmaster XL 75 and the InterTech Award-winning Prinect Press Center with integrated Wallscreen and Intellistart process-oriented operating. On Heidelberg's Speedmaster SM 52 with zoneless Anicolor inking technology, demonstrators explained how dramatically shorter setups mean users can print more high-quality jobs each day at lower cost and with 100 percent offset quality thanks to consistent inking.

In the packaging arena, Heidelberg sold a Speedmaster XL 162 press to Bell Inc. of Sioux Falls, SD. See www.us.heidelberg.com.

KBA introduces Service Select Program

KBA North America (Dallas) introduced its new KBA Service Select program, a complete line of customized service products designed to maximize the productivity and profitability of a customer's KBA press. An array of programs are available for KBA's entire line of presses — from the Genius 20-inch to the large-format Rapida 205 81-inch — and are designed to maximize the customer's return on investment and minimize costly downtime.

Another innovation being introduced with the new Service Select program is Service Select Press Upgrades. KBA continually develops new innovations that can be added to a customer's existing press to ensure competitiveness. These press upgrades include the Densitronic S density and spectral color control system; CIP Link automatic transfer of prepress data for presetting the press; the Logotronic Professional management information system; and automatic press systems such as improved wash-up, faster plate mounting, and computerized maintenance.

See www.kba.com.

PRINTVALUE tops manroland themes manroland's (Westmont, IL) PRINTVALUE program was the company's prime topic of discussion at PRINT 09, along with production, service and training related solutions.

“We introduced PRINTVALUE as a comprehensive support program and it has met all of our expectations in the last year,” says Vince Lapinski, manroland Inc. CEO. “Our sheetfed, commercial web and newspaper customers have found it to be flexible and adaptive to their needs and have provided us with invaluable comments. It has helped their operations become more competitive by reducing costs and increasing their overall efficiency, which could not have happened at a more crucial time over the last year.”

The company showcased the service contract portfolios of printservices, printnet and printcom, with dedicated areas in the booth. manroland also demonstrated and discussed JDF integration of MIS, automated press settings, quality management of ColorPilot and okBalance, and soft proofing.

PDI of Montreal purchased a ROLAND 900XXL press that will be operational in early October.

manroland also took attendees out to its Print Technology Center near Chicago for live demonstrations of the Roland 700 DirectDrive press.

See www.manroland.us.com.

Smarter start-up savings

Komori (Rolling Meadows, IL) featured the Lithrone SX40, Lithrone SX29 and for the first time in the U.S., a five-color Spica 29 convertible perfector. Komori showcased its KHS-AI software and stressed its potential to reduce up to 50% of start up waste. The intelligent software is continually learning the conditions of the press to keep it operating at peak efficiency. When color deviates from standard, an integrated scanner automatically updates the inking program to compensate for the deviations on the next job.

Self-learning is also applied to the air settings throughout the press. The AI technology can save air settings with a specific job and can also use learned air settings on jobs that have never been run. AI also presets register, including skewing and fan out, before a single sheet is wasted.

See www.komori-america.us.

xpedx teams with EFI, EPMS, UPM and more xpedx (Loveland, OH), master distributor of Ryobi-branded presses and peripherals in the U.S. and Canada, demonstrated its new 42-inch and 31-inch presses as well as job estimating tools, prepress software and postpress equipment from EFI, Agfa, Kodak, Xitron, Mitsubishi Imaging, Epson, Morgana, C.P. Bourg, Secap and others.

xpedx is now a national distributor of EFI's PRINTSmith and Digital StoreFront as well as its graphic arts workflow and proofing solutions. The distributor expanded its relationship with Kodak and is now an authorized reseller of Kodak Packaging Solutions. On the digital side, xpedx offers the Konica Minolta bizhub PRO C6501 digital color press.

Working with Enterprise Print Management Solutions (EPMS) (www.entpms.com), xpedx has integrated real-time paper inventory and customer pricing into an MIS. Available on EPMS' Enterprise 32, the service creates an electronic link of the entire xpedx paper inventory and customer pricing within the printer's information system.

Under a multi-year agreement with UPM (www.upm-kymmene.com), xpedx is the exclusive merchant supplier of UPM coated free sheet sheetfed, coated free sheet web and other UPM coated papers to commercial printers in the United States and Canada.

Steve Bowden replaced the retiring Tom Weisenbach as executive vice president of marketing and sales. Scott Brown has joined xpedx as national sales representative for Ryobi large-format presses.

xpedx unveiled a new website (www.xpedx.com) and showcased small business solutions from more than 125 xpedx stores (www.xpedxstores.com).

Open platform thermal plate debuts

Presstek (Hudson, NH) showcased the Presstek52DI-AC, a digital offset press with an integrated aqueous coater. The Presstek 52DI-UV and 34DI-UV digital offset presses earned Must See 'em honors. Look for a larger DI press with a modular tower design (four or more units plus a coater) to debut at IPEX in 2010.

Other PRINT 09 highlights included:

Presstek Aeon | This open platform non-preheat thermal CTP plate can image up to 200,000 impressions, or up to one million with an optional post-bake capability.

Presstek DPM Pro 400 platesetter | This platemaker outputs Presstek's MEGAPRO polyester and paper-based plates in sizes from 9 inches to 16.31 inches.

Presstek DI-Dry | Waterless offset printing inks for Presstek DI presses.

See www.presstek.com.

Océ pours on the speed

Océ's (Trumbull, CT) pushed into 300-ppm territory with its VarioPrint 6000 Ultra series. Reportedly the world's fastest digital duplex printer, the Ultra is rated at 306 8.5 × 11-inch letter-size ppm and handles print volumes up to 10 million prints per month.

“Océ is breaking new ground with its SpeedPass program, which allows users to temporarily upgrade speed when they are expecting high volume or quick turnaround needs,” says Jim Hamilton, Group Director, InfoTrends Research.

Other Océ highlights:

The JetStream 3300 system, a 30-inch wide inkjet web press rated at 492 fpm. (The 30-inch Océ JetStream 2800 system runs at 427 fpm.)

The JetStream 1000 high speed inkjet system, a compact footprint that combines CMYK printing and integrated MICR capability. Applications for the full-color web press include transaction, direct mail, books and transpromo.

PRISMAproduction TrueCost software automatically records and provides access to ink coverage information for JetStream family digital presses. Users get pixel-precise monitoring for pricing, quotations and cost accounting.

Package prototype demonstrations using the Océ Arizona 350 XT UV flatbed printer and the Océ ProCut digital cutting table.

See www.oceusa.com.

Screen is on an inkjet roll

Screen (USA) (Rolling, Meadows, IL) debuted the Truepress Jet1600UV-F large-format, flatbed inkjet printer with LED curing. The vendor also featured the Truepress Jet2500UV grand-format UV inkjet machine, Truepress Jet520 inkjet system and Truepress 344 direct imaging press.

Mike Fox, president of Screen (USA), noted that the vendor has shipped more than 200 inkjet units, counting both its own Truepress Jet520 and rebadged machines.

Under a new marketing agreement, Screen (USA) will offer Xeikon digital color solutions to its U.S.-based clients for book publishing and transactional/transpromo applications, and Xeikon will offer the Truepress jet 520.

Fox also announced a $25 million order that could eventually grow to a $100 million order. “The company does not exist today,” he said. “It will be all digital and intends to compete with every commercial printer in the U.S.” Fox indicated additional details would be announced in the coming weeks.

See www.screenusa.com.

Fujifilm ‘In control’

Fujifilm (Valhalla, NY) highlighted its approach to the integration between offset and digital printing, demonstrating a wide range of new printing concepts, technologies, products and services that promised to put printers “In Control.”

“At Fujifilm, we're committed to helping printers with their businesses by offering them the latest innovations and technologies as well as providing them with the competitive intelligence and information they need to emerge from the current economic storm with their businesses secure and in position to move ahead of their competition,” explains Masahiro “Sam” Ota, president and CEO, Fujifilm Graphic Systems U.S.A., Inc.

The company showcased its new Fujifilm Inkjet Digital Press with printhead technology developed by Fujifilm Dimatix, capable of producing up to 2,700 4-up sph. The Fujifilm Inkjet Digital Press prints on regular coated offset stocks using water-based, eco-friendly inks. It offers 1,200-dpi print quality with four-level grayscale capability.

Fujifilm also showed how its end-to-end JDF workflow solution, Workflow XMF, can help bring a higher level of control to complex print operations producing work for multiple output devices.

See www.fujifilmgs.com.

Xanté's Ilumina now Pantone licensed

Xanté Corp. (Mobile, AL) announced the entire line of Xanté Ilumina solutions is now Pantone licensed. “Our partnership with Pantone assures Xanté Ilumina users the confidence of being able to accurately and consistently match corporate colors, thereby giving them the opportunity to offer new products to clientele,” says Robert Ross, CEO and founder of Xanté. Xanté also unveiled the updated Symphony 3.5 Workflow and Symphony Flexo 7.5 Workflow with high-end workflow features including direct PDF preflight capability and an improved Ink Usage Calculator. The solutions also take advantage of new APPE 2.0 technology for increased stability and support for Acrobat 9.0.

See www.xante.com.

Digital press offers high performance

Xeikon (Itasca, IL) featured its 8000 digital color press, featuring a high precision LED-based imaging head with 1200 dpi resolution and 1,200 × 3,600-dpi addressability. The head offers variable dot density, generating extraordinary image quality with a sharp and crisp detail, high definition, and smooth tone transitions,the company reports. The two inline densitometers and high performance process algorithms on the press are designed to provide uniform and accurate colors and perfect color registration. The Productivity Adapted toner is said to support cost-effective print quality at high speeds.

At the booth, greeting cards for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund were printed on the 8000, showcasing the company's commitment to social responsibility as well as demonstrating the end product of the presses UV coating, lamination, super glossing, die-cutting, stacking and batching capabilities.

See www.xeikon.com.

New solutions, alliances for HP

HP (Palo Alto, CA) launched the newly branded HP T300 Color Inkjet Web Press, the industry's first 30-inch (762-mm) wide, high-speed, color inkjet roll-fed production device (see “Inkjet web innovations,” pg. 24, July 2009). A new alliance with Pitney Bowes is designed to accelerate the HP T300's presence in high-volume applications — especially in the transactional/transpromo sphere.

High-quality output with new ColorPRO Technology made its debut in media for the HP T300 Color Inkjet Web Press and HP Designjet large-format printers.

The company also launched the HP Indigo W7200 Digital Press, a liquid electrophotographic printing (LEP) solution touted as one of the world's most productive offset-quality digital presses.

HP Indigo users were offered the first white ink for sheetfed digital presses, as well as expanded workflow capabilities through a new HP Graphics Solutions Partner Program and new versions of HP Exstream software and HP SmartStream workflow portfolio products.

“Digital color is driving growth in the graphics industry, and a slowdown in momentum seen in the industry at large does not compare with the real, rapid and continued expansion of the digital color print opportunity for [printers],” said Michael Hoffmann, senior vice president, Graphics Solutions Business, HP.

See www.hp.com.

Xerox emphasizes personalization, packaging

“Conventional wisdom is being questioned everywhere, which, for a technology company, is a great time to develop and promote new ways of doing things,” says Xerox Corp. (Rochester, NY) CEO Ursula Burns. “Customers are looking for new revenue streams.”

Xerox aimed to make print “personal” at PRINT 09, unveiling a lineup of digital systems for producing work ranging from personalized golf ball boxes to high-end customized sales brochures and credit card statements that include tailored offers.

Xerox's Automated Packaging Solution powered by Stora Enso Gallop allows printers to customize packaging on Xerox iGen4, producing short runs of folding cartons inline with minimal operator intervention.

The Xerox iGen4 220 Perfecting Press debuted at the show and is aimed at customers looking to shorten the turnaround time on large jobs, such as customized promotional materials and direct-marketing pieces.

The new toner-based Xerox Continuous Feed 4/1 solution — combining a black-and-white Xerox 650 Continuous Feed Printer and a Xerox 490 Color Continuous Feed Printer — adds full-color marketing messages on one side of a document, maintaining the lower cost of printing content like terms and conditions and activity details in black-and-white.

The company also showcased an update to its Nuvera line — the Xerox Nuvera 200 and 288 MX Perfecting Production Systems with MICR technology.

On the heels of the show, Xerox announced its acquisition of business process outsourcing giant Affiliated Computer Services Inc. — a merger that is expected to close in Q1 2010.

See www.xerox.com.

Growth opportunities

“Growth will not come from conventional sources,” said Burns in Xerox's PRINT 09 “MythBusters” presentation. She adds, “You have to look at the business differently, as a partner with customers. This is an ideal time to be creative and explore different ways to do business — and seek new revenue opportunities. Photo books and packaging are new areas for digital printers.”

On competition from inkjet web presses, Burns says, “The reason inkjet is compelling is because it's very fast and extremely low cost. Liquid ink has a place in the market. It's right below electrophotography in quality. The problem is not, ‘Does Xerox need an inkjet machine?’ The customer needs fast, low-cost, high-quality printing with permanence and flexibility of substrates.”

North American debut for the :Dotrix

Agfa's (Ridgefield Park, NJ) :Dotrix made its North American debut at PRINT 09 with two new features on the modular digital UV inkjet press. Express Print Mode increases productivity from 4,800 to 6,300 ft./hr. This influences the ink drop volume of the grayscale inkjet heads without affecting the print resolution, which allows print speeds up to 13,020 sq. ft./hr. A second enhancement is the new 6-color extended gamut capability, designed to allow the best color match to meet the requirements of applications such as brand packaging. :Dotrix can match 90% of all Pantone colors and numerous spot colors. See www.agfa.com.

Find it online

For more details on digital at PRINT 09 — including Canon, Ricoh, InfoPrint, Konica Minolta, and others — see “Let's get digital,” July 2009, and “Offset, inkjet & toner,” August 2009.

POSTPRESS NEWS FROM PRINT 09

More postpress highlights to come, next issue! Also, see “Last (but not least),” August 2009, and “Efficient mailing,” September 2009, at www.americanprinter.com.