Commentary & Analysis
FREE: Press Makers Goss, Komori, and Mitsubishi Leave Their Imprints upon drupa
By the time you read this,
By Patrick Henry
Published: May 24, 2004
By the time you read this, drupa will be over, and its 1,862 exhibitors will be in the thick of dismantling, crating, and shipping home the vast tonnages of equipment that they offered to the scrutiny of world printing community for two weeks at this remarkable event. But WhatTheyThink's coverage of drupa continues, and in this installment, we recap the show news from three more leaders in offset lithographic press development: Goss International, Komori, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
At a May 10 press briefing in Hall 17, CEO Robert A. Brown anticipated the leading question by reporting that Goss was working very cooperatively with Heidelberg to complete the proposed acquisition of the latter's web press division. Noting that some European regulatory hurdles remain to be cleared, Brown, the former president of Heidelberg Web Systems, said that Goss, a maker of newspaper equipment, sees Heidelberg's commercial web portfolio as a great fit for Goss.
The main purpose of the briefing was to introduce Goss's new flexible printing system, a newspaper solution built around what the company calls the publisher's pressa highly automated web configurable in multiple formats and designed for ease of operation and maintenance. One printing unit was on display in a theatrical setting that emphasized the equipment's compactness: Goss says that the system's comparatively low tower heights will permit the press to be installed in buildings the size of a supermarket. Another noteworthy feature was the unit's three-part, VersaChange construction, enabling the track-mounted DigiRail inking units on either side of the central cylinder stack to roll apart for quick access to the heart of the press.
According to Goss, the flexible printing system will offer variable-cutoff capability in double-width, 4 x 2, 6 x 2, and narrow-width configurations for full-color coldset or heatset printing. When the system becomes commercially available, Goss envisions futuristic installations that will include, among other features, the robotic delivery of CTP plates to press-side cassettes feeding automated plate changers.
Brown said the flexible printing system is proven technology that is running today. Asked when the first commercial installation could be expected, he replied, The window is 24 months.
Komori's presentation in Hall 15 was the largest it has ever staged at drupa, comprising five new or newly configured presses, examples of other models, and displays of related technologies. All of the presses were CIP4 compliant by virtue of their linkage to DoNet, Komori's JDF implementation for MIS-driven production control. DoNet, according to Komori, provides total management of job information from initial enquiry to final printed output, with job data streamed continuously to and from the MISin this case, the Hiflex graphic arts and media solution, used for demonstration purposes at drupa.
The new equipment included:
Komori System 38S, a web press shown for the first time in a 16-page configuration capable of printing 60,000 iph and incorporating the new DC38 double chopper folder, designed for both 16-page and 32-page presses. Komori claims that the press provides the world's fastest changeover time through fully automated one-step register adjustment, color matching, fold adjustments, and plate changing. Komori also says that in smart sequence mode, which enables the presetting of multiple plate changes according to run lengths, the press can achieve complete job- to-job changeover in under four minutes with fewer than 550 waste copies.
SPICA 429P, a compact, entry level B2 (20.24" x 28.66") convertible perfector for 4/4 and 2/2 work using metal or polyester plates. Printing speeds are up to 13,000 sph, and features include Komorimatic dampening, remote control of plate register and transfer cylinder cocking, and automatic blanket and ink roller wash. Stock thickness can be up to 0.45 mm in straight printing and 0.3 mm in perfecting mode.
Lithrone LS40SP, a 10-color, 5/5 dedicated super perfector incorporating the features of Komori's LS series presses. With one-pass printing at 15,000 sph (30,000 iph), the B1 (28.66" x 40.48") press is said to achieve three times the productivity of a straight press printing both sides of the sheet. According to Komori, the LS40SP also offers significant space savings, requiring only slightly more space than a conventional five-color press. Other features include the ability to handle a greater range of stock, and plate laydown with an identical plate imposition for all units.
Lithrone LS840P, an eight-color, 4/4 perfector shown for the first time in Europe at drupa. Able to print heavy-grade stock at 15,000 sph, the LS840P is for B1 sized four-color, two-sided work as well as for jobs requiring six, seven, or eight colors on one side. Komori says that its three-cylinder perfecting mechanism transfers the sheet entirely stress-free, ensuring the highest quality of reproduction on both sides of the sheet over the entire stock range. The transfer mechanism incorporates air controls with ceramic jackets on the second group of four impression cylinders to assist in mark-free passage of the reversed sheets through to the delivery.
Lithrone 1028P, a 10-color, 5/5 perfector that was the first Komori B2 10-color machine ever to be shown at a world exhibition. Komori says the Lithrone 1028P reflects the trend towards longer multi-unit sheetfed presses in all format sizes. The press incorporates the three-cylinder sheet reversing mechanism and is equipped with Komori's latest PQC control technology, including the KMS management system and the KHS de-inking and pre-inking facility. According to Komori, these controls enable full job changeover with ten plates in under 12 minutes.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI)
In MHI's stand in Hall 15, three themed areasthe Future Technology Zone, the New Technology Zone, and the Digital Zoneshowed drupa-goers what this all-around manufacturer of printing, paper manufacturing, and paper converting machinery has in store for the commercial web offset and offset newspaper markets. MHI also presented its digital workflow credentials with demonstrations of MAX-net, a CIP4 compliant solution for integrating MIS and prepress data into the press production process. MHI's most notable announcements were about the ongoing development of technologies for two of the most advanced features of web press design: variable cutoffs and reusable image carriers.
MHI said that its new press, the Diamond 16 MAX-V, can handle variable cutoff sizes from 546 mm (21.5") to 625 mm (24.6") by fitting plate and blanket sleeves of different diameters fit over their respective cylinders in a quick and easy operation. Changeover from one signature cutoff to another is fully automated, according to MHI, enabling printers to print A-size magazines, B-size inserts and standard letter-size work on a single press.
In MHI's Reusable Plate System (RPS), an aluminum plate takes a special polymer coating film to which text, illustrations, and photos are applied by direct digital imaging. After printing, the film is washed from the plate and a new coating film is put on, enabling the plate to be used repeatedly. Prior to drupa, MHI said that rewriteable RPS plates can be reimaged up to 20 times without sacrificing quality and that plate life is 100,000 impressions per job. An offline process, RPS is said to reduce press costs and eliminate press downtime required for on-board imaging in computer-to-press workflows.
MHI also manufactures sheetfed presses, and at drupa, its exemplars in the category were the Diamond 3000TP and the Diamond 3000LX. The Diamond 3000TP is built for one-pass perfecting and aqueous coating/IR drying on both sides of the sheet by means of its tandem perfectoran in-line unit arrangement for both front and reverse side printing. the tandem perfector (TP) achieves high-quality printing with easy operation. The press demonstrated at drupa also featured a one-phase plate cylinder positioning system said to enabling simultaneous plate-changing for significant reduction in makeready time.
The Diamond 3000LX prints on stocks across a wide thickness range, from 0.04 mm to 1.0 mm. The press was used in demonstrations of MHI's digital workflow.
Also promoted at the MHI stand was the machine that the company calls the world's fastest double width newspaper offset press the 90,000 cph Diamondstar.