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Anicolor Short Inking Unit Allows Short Color Runs in Offset Quality

Press release from the issuing company

(September 01, 2008) At this year's drupa, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) gave Anicolor, the company's innovative short inking unit, its very own exhibition area in Hall 1. Large numbers of visitors saw the presentations on the Speedmaster SM 52 four-color press with coating unit and the Speedmaster SM 52 ten-color press. One new development is the use of Saphira Anicolor spot colors based on the Pantone Matching System (PMS), which have been specifically geared to Anicolor requirements. Orders for Anicolor presses far exceeded the company's expectations. They included an order for a Speedmaster SM 52 four-color press with Anicolor and coating unit from Stefan Stoll who owns the Stoll Farbtreu print shop in Wendlingen, not far from Stuttgart. Stoll based his investment decision on the extremely short makeready times and the small amount of paper waste generated. This new acquisition should ensure that the print shop is "Farbtreu" (true to color) by name and by nature. Anicolor technology controls ink volumes across the entire sheet without ink zones, thereby delivering maximum color stability throughout the run.

Over 100 companies worldwide are already working successfully with the Anicolor technology introduced by Heidelberg in 2006. The Speedmaster SM 52 with Anicolor can be set up to print coated or textured paper, board, or envelopes in less than seven minutes - 40 percent faster than a conventional press. This is possible because Anicolor technology works without ink zones. Even difficult forms can be set up quickly and simply with top-quality results. Multiple-ups, solid areas, and color transitions become child's play. And thanks to the Alcolor dampening system, Anicolor uses conventional printing plates.

The Anicolor press prints up to 15,000 sheets per hour in A3 format or 30,000 sheets per hour in A4 format - in offset quality with total color stability. By way of comparison, the high-end digital presses exhibited at drupa print up to 7,200 four-color A4 pages per hour. Anicolor technology thus enables cost-effective production of short and very short runs and shifts the boundary between digital and offset printing further in favor of the latter. What's more, Anicolor’s strengths can also be exploited to the full with long runs. This is not the case for digital printing.

Anicolor reaches break-even point from as little as 250 sheets and achieves high quality even with long runs. "With the Anicolor press, we can print a job consisting of 200 copies of an annual report in half the time it takes the Xerox CD 250 digital press," reports Niclas Stürken, owner and Managing Director of Stürken Druck in Bremen. With over two years' experience of such jobs, Stürken does not feel there is much advantage to be gained from the personalization made possible by digital printing. "Jobs with personalized data account for around ten percent of the entire digital press portfolio," he states. A customer survey carried out by Heidelberg at 300 different companies in 2006 produced similar results. On average, around 12 percent of digital printing jobs have variable data, but roughly half the companies taking part in the survey indicated that only two percent of their jobs involved variable data.

The Speedmaster SM 52 with Anicolor inking unit is an attractive solution for both state-of-the-art print shops working with small formats and large businesses with a growing need to turn around high-quality short runs quickly. The more standardized the printing process - with Print Color Management, for example - the better the strengths of Anicolor can be exploited. A number of customers are already using web-to-print applications with Anicolor. These include the recently opened British print shop Think Colour, which started out with a Speedmaster SM 52-4+L Anicolor, a Suprasetter A 52, and a POLAR 78X cutter. Its portfolio includes products such as flyers, brochures, and menus in run lengths of between 300 and 10,000 copies. "As well as offering a good local service, we sell nationwide via the Internet with an online quotation and ordering system. Thanks to the Suprasetter and the Speedmaster SM 52-4+L Anicolor with its low waste capability, we are starting out with good environmental credentials," says Nigel Wallbank, the owner of Think Colour.