Sussex, Wisconsin - GAC Co. Ltd., a magazine and commercial insert printer based in Saitama, Japan, reduced start-up waste by an average of 30 percent per print run and ramped up productivity, as a result of installing QuadTech's color-to-color and cutoff register systems on its three MHI web-offset presses. Both QuadTech systems utilize MultiCam, the world's fastest register camera.
A subsidiary of the Nippon Paper Group, a global paper and pulp manufacturer, GAC decided to install the technology in 2008 to stop profit margins from being eroded by steep rises in the prices of ink and paper.
Once installed, the QuadTech systems proved capable of achieving precise color and cutoff registration on four-color work after just 700 sheets from the start of the printing run, resulting in a saving of 300 sheets per job. MultiCam achieves good copy quickly because it can scan for registration marks at a rate of 30 times a second, in spite of web tension changes. MultiCam can also use the color registration marks for cut-off control, without needing to search an area of print contrast.
Mr. Tuda, production director at GAC, comments, "Abrupt web tension changes cause the circumferential register marks to jolt out of position. The previous registration system had a relatively small scanning window, so it would only take a small movement to send the marks outside the detection area, resulting in waste. MultiCam, however, has a relatively large scanning window of 25mm², so register marks remain detectable regardless of web movement."
The savings are significant since in a typical day, up to five jobs, ranging from 20,000 to 240,000 pages, are produced on each press. The MultiCam camera can identify register marks at up to 17.8m/sec. As a result, GAC could increase the speeds of the MHI presses by as much as 30 percent to about 840 revolutions per minute, once MultiCam was installed.
Working with register marks as small as 0.36mm, the MultiCam camera allows GAC's press operators to use small, unobtrusive register marks, which are preferable as they avoid any conflict with the printed images or editorial content. The marks can be positioned laterally across the web, or circumferentially, in line with the print.
The GAC team was also impressed by QuadTech Japan's local team of service engineers, who could communicate in Japanese when providing training. They also offered suggestions on how to enhance equipment performance.
"We have only three operators per press, and their time is scarce because of the numerous checks that must be performed at the start of each job. MultiCam has contributed significantly to our bottom line and given us peace of mind by guaranteeing the product is in register with high quality, every time," adds Mr. Tuda.
In the 25 years since QuadTech entered the Japanese market, the company has become the country's leading supplier of controls, with an installed base in the country of about 4,000 systems.