Color--The New Standard
Like automation, color is not just an option anymore. Manufacturers are responding to the trend by offering more color-productive equipment.
Color and simplicity seem to be the chief components of today's sheetfed offset presses. Quicker makereadies, digital prepress consoles, auto-perfecting channels and color controls are just some of the latest advances—with color creating a new niche market.
"In 1986, most of the 9,000 presses sold by small-press manufacturers comprised single-color presses," observes Tom Nishimura, president of Hamada. "However, last year approximately only 4 percent of about 2,700 presses sold under 40˝ were single color.
In-plants looking for easy-to-use, multi-functional machines that feature the latest technological advances and options have a plethora to choose from—and some won't blow the lid off your annual operating budget.
Sheetfed Or Digital?
A silent battle is occurring between traditional sheetfed printing and digital printing that will extend well into the next few years. At present, each seem to have their own niche.
"Digital color printing will continue to satisfy walk-in customers of runs fewer than 500 sheets of pleasing color on limited quality, size and stock," notes Tom Nishimura, president of Hamada. "But offset printing will be the mainstream in marketing and communication media for many years."
Digital devices provide print on demand, but many believe digital presses can't compete with the quality of a sheetfed press.
"Quality and color consistency continue to severely limit the impact of digital machines on the traditional sheetfed press market," explains Robert McKinney, vice president of marketing at KBA Planeta. "I think the larger question is when will the traditional sheetfed press become digital. It would seem only a logical evolution that the pressroom will ultimately follow the prepress in the digital world."
How To Pick A Press
So many presses. So many features. Where should an in-plant manager start? These press manufacturers offered to share their advice with IPG readers: