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PRINT 05

Sep 1, 2005 12:00 AM


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From Sept. 9-15, Chicago’s McCormick Place will host the biggest printing and converting event of the year. There will be few true surprises, but even the most jaded observers will find some jaw-dropping technology. All of the major press vendors plan massive displays, with MAN Roland’s 64-inch 900 XXL claiming bragging rights for as the biggest press on the floor. Heidelberg’s XL 105 Theater will showcase the 62-ton, 18,000 sph press with the 29.52 x 41.34-inch sheet size. KBA North America’s 12,000-sq.-ft booth will feature five presses cranking out 40 different jobs. Visitors will see the 41-inch Rapida 105, 56-inch Rapida 142 and 74 Karat DI, as well as the Performa 74, a recent acquisition from Czech Republic press manufacturer Grafitec. KBA also will highlight the world’s first waterless UV press: Genius 52.

Impressive integration
A closer look behind the iron will reveal impressive feats of integration as the vendors continue their quest to eliminate islands of automation in the pressroom and beyond. MAN Roland will offer virtual demonstrations of its CIM digital backbone: the PECOM/printnet operating and automation system.

Look for an expanded version of Heidelberg’s Prinect Experience, a hands-on tour that demonstrates JDF-enabled computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) from order entry through postpress. Screen USA will showcase Trueflow 3.1, a workflow solution that facilitates communication between MIS and prepress, press and postpress operations. Riteportal, Ritetransfer and Riteonline, which provide online job submission and ordering for customers, can be connected to the Trueflow 3.1 environment through JDF and production-ready PDFs. Trueflow 3.1 also offers a color separation technology said to dramatically reduce production costs and time for multicolor jobs. On the digital side, Xerox’s bi-level booth offers a bird’s-eye view of the company’s FreeFlow workflow offerings.

MIS marches on
EFI will take the wraps off of Executive Information System (EIS), an interactive data analysis command center that instantly recaps the state of the business and links to other key data. The Web-based EIS will be integrated with the foundation suite of EFI Hagen, Logic and PSI print management information systems. Management teams can work with EIS to access information needed for key business decisions on the fly. Kodak muscles into the MIS arena with subsidiary Creo’s Enterprise Management Solution (EMS) software. Said to provide a level of functionality that extends beyond traditional print MIS, EMS allows printers to seamlessly integrate their print and business workflows. EMS is built on an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solution customized for graphic arts users. Its scalable design can be utilized by as few as five users or by hundreds of people across many plants. In addition to MIS Web-based modules that facilitate all kinds of job tracking and management operations, the Internet is playing an increasingly vital role when it comes to job creation, particularly for personalized applications. Printable, Pageflex, EFI and XMPie also have extensive capabilities in this area.

Expanded chemistry-free options
Several chemistry-free/processless plates announced at Drupa are gaining momentum. Presstek pairs ABDick’s Vector TX52, a two-up thermal metal CTP system, with its Freedom chemistry-free plates. Able to output up to 20 plates per hour, the Vector TX52 features a small footprint, with the plate washer built directly into the device. The Freedom thermal metal plate can be used for run lengths up to 25,000 impressions and is priced competitively with polyester plates.

Agfa’s :Azura chemistry-free negative-working thermal plate can be used for run lengths of up to 100,000 impressions. :Azura can be used for a wide range of commercial printing applications on both sheetfed and web presses. It can hold up two percent to 98 percent screen tints at 200 lpi, depending on platesetter performance.

Kodak’s Thermal Direct processless plate is based on fourth-generation technology and can be imaged on most thermal CTP devices. Capable of producing run lengths of up to 75,000 impressions under optimal press conditions, the plate is said to hold one percent to 98 percent dots at 200 lpi, and it can be used with 20-micron FM screening.

Look for Fujifilm to debut a processless thermal plate, Brillia HD PRO-T, rated at 100,000 impressions and slated to launch in Q1 2006. Fuji also has a hot technology announcement: a chemistry-free violet photopolymer CTP plate slated for a 2007 launch—if a sufficiently powerful laser is available.

Don’t forget about finishing Visitors to the Vijuk booth will see its 321-T stitching away for a good cause. Vijuk will produce and donate 40,000 coloring books to nine local schools.

Rollem’s PB-12 Gantry lets users drill inline with a perfect binder. The PB-12’s flow through configuration and lift capacity enable it to keep pace with the binder. Similar to a three-knife trimmer, a product comes in one end, gets drilled and exits on the other end. It can run a two-inch lift per cycle. At PRINT, PB-12 will be demonstrated inline with Muller’s Bolero perfect binder.

These are just a few highlights of what promises to be a huge show. Look for expanded coverage in our October issue.

You’ll also find more PRINT product announcements here.



Producing an envelope & flier inline on a digital press
Years ago, ordering school pictures was a simple process. Most parents simply decided how many wallet-sized photos they wanted, and a few, in a fit of reckless pride, might spring for an 8 x 10-inch portrait. My, how times have changed.

Inter-State Studio & Publishing Co.’s (Sedalia, MO) school picture options include classic (borderless), designer (white border), retro (black-and-white) and “funtastic” (whatever that is). Students also can order “My Photo Adventure,” seven variations of their school pictures on a CD with a copyright release, as well as photo cards and gift tags.

In 2004, Inter-State developed and tested a four-page flier illustrating these product offerings. Because the flier was printed on a digital press, each flier could be personalized with individual students’ names, photos (which serve as proofs) and even their autographs. A separate payment envelope accompanied the fliers.

Although the flier dramatically boosted the size of average orders, the payment envelope literally prevented Inter-State from, well, pushing the envelope. The payment envelope had to be saddlestitched onto the flier, a process that was far too slow for producing higher volumes of personalized fliers. But then the Inter-State team had a brainstorm. What if the envelope could be integrated with the personalized piece? Working with a converter, software developer Lexigraph and Xeikon, Inter-State created Fold-N-Go, a patent-pending preconverted stock.

Using 16-inch-wide roll stock for Inter-State’s Xeikon 500, Fold-N-Go features self-adhesive glue along the edges of the payment envelope, a remoistenable strip for the customer to seal it and perforations for separating the envelope from the flier. Traditional folding equipment is used to complete the job.

The orginal personalized proof fliers were produced on a sheetfed digital press. Aric Snyder, Inter-State CEO, says the width of the web-fed Xeikon 500, combined with the Fold-n-Go stock, enabled the company to increase its proof production by 300 percent. Also, the company is completing jobs faster while reducing its costs by 40 percent vs. the previous flier production method.

See live demos
Inter-State believes Fold-N-Go’s appeal will extend far beyond its school photo flier. It has created Convertible Brands to develop the roll stock for direct marketing, billing and other mailing applications. Fold-N-Go will be demonstrated live at Xeikon’s booth (6742).



And the winners are…
PRINT 05 is a great place to see the 17 technologies that won 2005 InterTech Awards.

Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (PIA/GATF) report that a record 52 nominations were received. A brief description of the winners follows.

Metrix v1.5 job layout software from LithoTechnics reportedly quickly calculates and creates the most efficient, cost-effective press sheet layouts, making it easy and fast for printers to capitalize on gang jobs, even those with varying run lengths. Estimators and production planners can try “what-if” scenarios in seconds. The program takes grain direction into consideration and also supplies folding data. Metrix can integrate with MIS systems by importing JDF data and exporting JDF, CIP3, and Preps template files. Alterio Associates distributes Metrix in the U.S. See www.alterioassociates.com and “Imposition software, CIM & you,” February 2005. Find out how Metrix helped Indexx Printing solutions see impressive bottom-line savings in this month's feature, "Indexx accelerates job throughput and sales."

Böttcher America Corp.’s Chameleon dual-purpose roller lets printers switch among conventional, UV, and hybrid printing jobs without changing rollers. See www.bottcher.com.

PDF Compare and PDF Merge software plug-ins for Creo’s Prinergy and Powerpack workflow systems manage the correction cycles in a prepress workflow. Compare analyzes two PDF files—as native PDF—and identifies the differences between them. Merge lets an operator extract all the prior work done on the plate-ready file (traps, screening, geometry, overprint, etc.) and merges all the elements into a new, revised production file. See www.creo.com.

Inline coating to protect digitally printed pieces from damage in the mail stream is now available for Kodak’s sheetfed NexPress (www.nexpress.com) and Xeikon’s (www.xeikon.com) rollfed digital presses. Besides gloss coating, Kodak’s NexPress Fifth Imaging Unit also gives digital printers the options of spot coating or adding a fifth dry ink color (red, green or blue) to a CMYK-printed piece. The fifth ink extends the gamut and optimizes the NexPress for Pantone Color reproduction. Xeikon’s Print Protector technology uses a duplex aqueous coating system. See “Get inline!” May 2005.

Specially formulated for coldset web presses equipped (or retrofitted) with a UV lamp on each side of the web delivery, Flint’s Arrowlith inks will enable coldset printers to enter the lucrative insert market. Their tack range, similar to conventional news ink, allows the ink film to split effectively in the coldset roller train. See www.flinkink.com.

SpeedyDry’s ink additive helps conventional oil-based inks dry faster and with more rub resistance on any substrate, from matte stocks and coated papers to synthetics. See www.speedydry.com and “Faster drying inks,” May 2005.

Using the Automatic Transfer (AT) feature for Goss’s Sunday presses, web printers can change jobs without stopping the press. Press operators bring one or more idle printing units on impression while simultaneously taking another unit, or units, off impression. See www.gossinternational.com.

Heidelberg distributes the high-performance Stahlfolder TH/KH family of buckle-plate and combination folders. Key features include modular units, a user friendly touch screen, a constant airstream to control sheets, side guides with digital readouts, and a servo-motor sensor that adjusts roller settings using a single sheet of stock. See www.heidelberg.com.

Using off-the-shelf digital cameras, printers, and presses, HumanEyes creates stereo panoramic 3-D pictures up to 360 degrees and special/lenticular effects (flip, morph, morph zoom, layered 3-D). The HumanEyes 3D process has three simple steps: digital photography, processing by HumanEyes software, and printing using existing printing technologies. See www.humaneyes.com and “Made you look!” August 2005.

KBA’s Rapida 205’s high print quality and low makeready times take sheetfed press technology to an acme of productivity in a sheet size (59 1/2 x 81 inches) that has never been printed before. Printers can replace two to four older presses with just one high-tech Rapida 205, and they can run paper and board stock ranging from 50 lb. to 64 pt. See www.kba-usa.com and “Supersize it!” March 2005.

Using KPG’s Colorflow Custom Color Tools V3.1, users can easily edit and create ICC profiles to facilitate color matching across an extensive variety of input, display and output devices, enabling true ICC color management. The software operates as a set of Photoshop plug-ins, allowing profiles to be edited as easily as color correcting an image with the Photoshop Image Adjust tools. See www.kpgraphics.com.

TelePresence remote press diagnosis system enables MAN Roland’s Rapid Response Team experts to troubleshoot any press, monitor the press system’s vital signs in real time, and provide detailed error reports that map out the historical performance of the press. TelePresence uses a Web camera and communication via standard Internet technology. See www.manroland.com and “Fix presses faster with remote service,” July 2005.

Maratek Environmental’s Solvent Saver System uses a multistage distillation process to automatically separate clean water and solvent. A blending system then combines the distilled solvent with water and additives. The blended product can be used instead of fresh chemistry, and the distilled water can be discharged or reused on press. See www.maratek.com.

Muller Martini’s SigmaLine comprehensive series of trimming, collating, stitching, and perfect binding equipment can be used singly or combined to provide a commercial-quality, fully integrated system for on-demand finishing. See www.mullermartini.com and “Real books, real fast,” May 2005.

Pageflex’s Storefront software package helps users set up an online literature management and ordering site with document customization capabilities. Storefront Administrator is a browser-based tool used to set up the site, and Pageflex Studio is a desktop application providing layout tools with variable data and customization abilities. See www.pageflex.com.

X-Rite’s Pulse ColorElite system brings affordable color measurement/management tools and software to professionals, creatives, and even home photo printers. Setup involves connecting the colorimeter and the spectrophotometer with the supplied USB cables and installing the software. See www.xrite.com and “LCD vs. CRT,” March 2005.



DPC announces M4D
At PRINT 05, PIA/GATF’s Digital Printing Council (DPC) will launch Marketing for Digital: “M4D.” This research initiative reportedly will give printers the information and tools they need to develop new business within 24 vertical segments. (The DPC says that the 24 segments represent 80 percent of all print buying in the U.S.)

The initiative is being supported by leading vendors including Adobe, Canon, HP, Kodak, and Xerox. Survey methodology and data collection is managed by graduate graphic arts student researchers from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), CalPoly and Clemson University under the supervision of RIT professor emeritus Frank Romano.

Health care sector report is first
Available to PIA/GATF members and non-members both through PIA/GATF (www.gain.org), M4D covers advertising agencies, health care, retail trade, gambling and wagering, the automotive industry, utilities, hospitality and tourism, financial services, real estate, insurance, professional services, food services, manufacturing, education, publishing, pharmaceutical, and other miscellaneous categories. The first report, health care, is scheduled for release at PRINT 05.

The DPC initiative will include a seminar series focused on M4D implementation. Fourteen PIA/GATF regional affiliates currently have signed on to sponsor the seminars. For more information, e-mail M4D@piagatf.org.



Time out, PRINT show attendees!
While you’re in Chicago, host city to Print 05 and Converting 05, Sept. 9-15, you’ll want to see some of the sights. One of the newest attractions is Millenium Park (www.milleniumpark.org). Located on Michigan Ave. between Randolph and Monroe, it was first planned in 1997 as a way to transform unsightly railroad tracks and parking lots into additional city parkland. The park’s multi-million-dollar, unfinished “Cloud Gate” sculpture (known by locals as “The Bean”) is featured on this month’s cover.

Check out Metromix.com, the Chicago Tribune’s online hub for entertainment in the Windy City. Plan a sightseeing tour, visit a museum, catch a concert or find a great place to eat. Don’t miss the Around the Coyote theater and performance festival, Chicago’s largest art event, which kicks off Sept. 8. Fire twirlers, poets, musicians and visual artists flock to the Wicker Park and Bucktown neighborhoods every year to show their stuff in this annual studio walk and exhibition.


Katherine O’Brien is the editor of AMERICAN PRINTER. Contact her at kobrien@primediabusiness.com.