Offset Presses Medium & Small Have It All
Large-press automation is now available on almost every model of medium- and small-format offset press.
By Chris Bauer
When it comes to automation, small- and medium-format sheetfed presses (up to 23x29˝) have just as many bells and whistles as the large presses—but for a lot less money.
"The main features required by today's press buyer [are based on] automation," notes Mike Dighton, vice president of Hamada of America. "Auto plate loading, blanket washers, color consoles, including CIP3/4, are almost always asked for by our customers. The automation carries into prepress, as well."
Hamada's new Impulse 452P is a 14x20˝ perfector. The Impulse runs at 13,000 iph and will perfect at 12,000 iph. Standard features include a color console with remote running register, ink sweep and on-the-fly cylinder cocking. Semi-automatic plate mounting, vacuum tape register board and many other time-saving features are also standard equipment.
"Automation and higher quality are the trends," agrees Ken Newton, senior vice president and COO at A.B.Dick. The company's 4995A-ICS with ink control system offers the benefits of a four-tower portrait press for in-plants looking to step up to four-color process work. Digitally compatible with CTP systems, this automated press, with a maximum sheet size of 13.4x17.75˝, reportedly increases short- and long-run productivity and accommodates polyester or metal plates.
The smaller-format market will continue to play an important role in the overall production chain for printing, declares Chris Curran, Heidelberg's manager of marketing communications.
"CTP systems sized around the [small] format continue to evolve and get more affordable, both in terms of hardware and plate materials," he remarks. "Increased use of digital information, better networking, and machines with high automation will let printers with this equipment compete and win jobs with low run lengths. And with the high speed of these smaller presses, and productivity of options like perfecting and in-line coating, they can still be competitive with the larger presses at surprisingly long runs."