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GATF study to benchmark consumables and procedures for heatset web press printing

Press release from the issuing company

Sewickley, Pennsylvania — The Graphic Arts Technical Foundation has begun testing a variety of blankets, ink and paper stock on the four-unit ROTOMAN web press that anchors the group’s research facility. The purpose of the research is to set consumable and best procedure benchmarks for heatset web press printing, which will serve as starting points toward improving both materials and procedures. MAN Roland is the principle sponsor of the study. It’s being joined by Flint Ink, Fuji, MacDermid, M-Real Corporation, Reeves S.p.A., Stora Enso North America and UPM-Kymmene. The associate sponsors are contributing both funding and materials to the effort. In testing the consumables and raw materials, GATF researchers will be reviewing and recording such quality standards as the best dot structure, the best solid ink lay, and the least unwanted interactions, such as blanket piling and ink feed back into the dampen system’s metering roller. “Much of the knowledge exists, in a general, anecdotal sense already to the student of lithography,” according to the master plan for the research. “This is an exercise in refinement of this knowledge, documentation of combinations of raw material properties, and benchmarking of optimum, most efficient printing conditions.” The MAN Roland ROTOMAN has been used extensively for research and training in the two years it has been running at GATF. “This is precisely the type of continuous improvement research MAN Roland envisioned when we donated the ROTOMAN to GATF,” said Vincent Lapinski, COO of Web Operations for MAN Roland Inc. “We look forward toward assisting in the project anyway we can.” Part of that assistance will take the form of sharing expert knowledge. “The intellectual horsepower to accomplish this multidiscipline study will come from MAN Roland, the resources of PIA/GATF, and a group of interested suppliers,” the researchers noted. During the trial runs on the ROTOMAN, different combinations of materials and procedures will be tested. Run speeds will vary, but remain in the 30,000 to 50,000 impression/hour range. The slower speeds will be used to examine paper run ability, while the faster rates will used to create the operating environment in which ink and water interactions are examined. “This benchmarking process will encourage development of new materials that will improve print quality and raise the bar in the future,” the researchers declared. Trial runs on the 38-inch ROTOMAN began this month and will continue until the end of the year. Interim findings are scheduled as a GATF “TechAlert” in January, while a full report will be presented in the spring at TAGA and Web Offset Association Meetings. “We’ll be looking closely at the research findings,” said Paul Pirkle, Vice President, Commercial Web Sales, MAN Roland. “This is a great opportunity to work with the top consumables suppliers to further improve the state-of-the-art in heatset technology.”