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a commitment to pressroom integration

Nov 1, 2002 12:00 AM


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Survival of the Fittest” was Komori's Graph Expo show theme. With 10 live demonstrations per day, visitors had many opportunities to see Komori products in action. “Given the current state of the economy, printers need to find ways to maximize their capacity, while keeping costs under control,” observes Stephan Carter, president and COO of Komori America Corp. “Komori is committed to helping customers improve their workflow through state-of-the-art press technology as well as through strategic partnerships with companies such as Printcafe, Creo and X-Rite. We believe our open architecture philosophy allows printers ultimate flexibility to incorporate the equipment and processes that will best suit their businesses.”

A NORTH AMERICAN DEBUT

Graph Expo marks the North American debut of the new Lithrone S40, Komori's 40-inch press, which has been redesigned to maximize production, quality and pressroom integration. The S40 is Komori's newest offering to the sheetfed printing market. The LS40 made its world debut at IPEX in April of 2002, and is an evolution of the successful Lithrone 40 platform.

“Komori has worked to develop a 40-inch press that exceeds printers' expectations,” says Carter. “We're confident that the LS will do just that.”

The Lithrone S40 includes all the innovative Komori technology such as console-driven makeready, the KHS high-performance inking system (which controls all aspects of inking and provides consistency between operators) and standard press features such as a double-diameter cylinder configuration. “When you take these classic Lithrone features and add all the new technology of the LS, you've got a press that can't be beat for productivity, versatility and printability,” comments Komori product manager Doug Schardt.

The Lithrone S40 builds on the world-class Lithrone platform. The new LS features a variety of new enhancements, including advanced automated makeready functions that completely eliminate dead time between jobs and skeleton-type transfer cylinders. The automated makeready features allow press operators to program makeready, washup and the next makeready from the press console. In addition, new automatic plate changers can change six plates in three minutes — reportedly 50 percent faster than other plate changing systems.

Other Lithrone S40 features that provide flexibility and productivity include skeleton-type transfer cylinders with venturi air pans that reduce marking and maintain accurate sheet control through the press. The new LS automatically ramps up to 7,000 sph before sheets start to feed. This new hi-start feature ensures the press is already at a stable print speed before ink hits paper, dramatically reducing makeready waste.

Top printing speed on the new LS is 16,000 sph, and the press can print on substrates from onionskin to 40-pt. board for packaging and point of purchase display applications.

The inking system on the Lithrone LS comes with oscillating form rollers in each printing unit to maximize print quality on tough ghosting jobs. All four form rollers can be quickly and easily activated in approximately two minutes. Mist guards are installed on both sides of the inker to protect roller mechanisms from dirt, debris and misting ink.

Eccentric roller cups improve roller setting consistency and speed roller changes. No tools are required to change out rollers, reducing roller changing time by 50 percent.

Another new feature is remote oscillation timing from the console. Now operators can adjust the charge of ink anywhere on the sheet for each unit in 10-mm increments — even when the press is operating at top speed. The LS also can stop oscillation in any unit to preserve ink profiles during press idles. This feature is especially valuable when running expensive substrates or where absolute print quality must be maintained through a run with frequent stops.

Inking and dampening declutch mechanisms come standard on the first and last units of the LS40, for use when these units are left open. This ensures that no rollers turn in the unused units, prolonging roller life and eliminating contamination from roller lube.

SOFTWARE FOR DIGITAL CONTROL

Color Connection software, a suite of integrated production management tools from Komori, enables digital control of all processes and tasks between the design stage and the press. Color Connection facilitates a streamlined workflow in which all devices are calibrated according to common, transparent standards. The printed results are predictable, consistent and of the highest quality.

The three components of Color Connection are:

  • BLADESETTER — Komori's ink key tool that converts digital CIP3/4 data, or PPF files, to Komori ink key profiles. The high-performance inking system, KHS, uses Bladesetter data to pre-ink the press.

  • KHS — Komori's inking system that ensures every printing run gets off to a faster start by setting a standard ink film thickness and applying the ink key profile completely unattended. This results in radically shorter makeready times.

  • K-COLORPROFILER — Komori's ultimate tool for pressroom color management. By simply incorporating a series of supplied color targets, then scanning them with PDC-S, Komori's scanning spectrodensitometer, K-ColorProfiler quickly determines the color gamut of the press to ensure that the digital proof will match the press sheet. Komori's K-Station is the ultimate link between the LS40 and print production management systems such as Printcafe. It moves digital data to the press as well as providing real-time data for production management.

At Graph Expo, Komori utilized Printcafe's Hagen OA system, demonstrating how this software, combined with Color Connection and Komori presses, allows printers to have a completely integrated workflow in their pressroom.

Together, the Color Connection tools provide consistent, repeatable color, faster makeready, improved productivity and less waste — all improving profitability.

A 40-INCH DIGITAL PRESS

The Lithrone S40D is the world's first digital offset press capable of printing in the 40-inch format. Featuring CreoSQUAREspot thermal imaging technology, processless plates and open connectivity to the world's leading workflows, the S40D offers the process control, workflow efficiency and fast makereadies required to satisfy print buyer's demands for shorter-run jobs, fast turnaround and high quality. Thoroughly field tested, the S40D offers versatility, quality and throughput for shorter-run printing.

S40 WINS ENGINEERING AWARD

Recognizing its performance, quality, safety, ergonomics, environmental consideration and market potential, the Komori Lithrone S40 was awarded the prestigious Mechanical Engineering Design Award from the Japanese Minister of Economy Trade and Industry. Established in 1970, the Mechanical Engineering Design Prize was developed as a means to encourage and further the design of industrial products. The basic evaluation criteria rate the product on advanced performance and function, plus rates innovative technology. Previous winners include the Nozomi 500 Series Shinkansen “bullet train,” supercomputers and CT scanners.

This year there were 37 entries representing 34 companies. In accepting the award, Komori president and CEO Yoshiharu Komori commented, “As we move into a new age, we must create products that move our customers. Quality, digitalization and automation are a matter of course, which means it is vitally important to make products that create harmony between man and machine. I believe design will become increasingly important from now on.”

A FULL COMPLEMENT OF PRESSES

Also on display at Graph Expo was the Komori Lithrone 2800, the ideal half-size press for printers looking to expand into multi-color printing markets or as an add-on press to handle additional capacity. Built on the Lithrone platform, the economical 2800 is available in four- or five-color configurations and can be equipped with an optional inline coater for even greater versatility.

At Graph Expo, the five-color Lithrone 2800 on display highlighted the benefits of Creo Staccato FM screening. Staccato produces high-impact, artifact-free images with outstanding image fidelity, rich colors and fine details — while keeping shadows open and printable.

Video kiosks featured other presses in the Komori product line. First up was the Komori Lithrone Super Perfector, which enables one-pass, two-sided printing with outstanding front-to-back registration accuracy. With print speeds up to 13,000 sph, the Lithrone Super Perfector provides the efficiency of a web press with the flexibility and quality of a sheetfed press.

And for those interested in a web press, the Komori System 20 half-size web press was highlighted in the exhibit. The System 20 prints up to 45,000 impressions per hour and offers a wide range of folding options for ultimate flexibility.

35 Komori presses sold at Graph Expo

Komori America Corp. announced that orders for 35 new Komori presses were taken at Graph Expo. “We are very pleased with this result. We think this is a definite sign of upturn in the printing industry,” says Stephan Carter, president and COO of Komori America Corp. “We've seen business start to pick up in the past six to eight weeks, and came into Graph Expo cautiously optimistic. Conversations on the show floor confirmed that printers are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel and are making equipment purchases to position their businesses for the future.”

The new Komori Lithrone S40 received favorable response on the show floor. “Our demonstrations were packed and visitors were very excited about the new features on the LS. We did countless technical walk-throughs on press, highlighting the new technology. Needless to say, people were blown away,” says Komori America product manager Doug Schardt.

“From our perspective, Graph Expo was the launching pad for a strong finish to this year,” says Carter. “We had significant interest, not only in our LS press, but also in our Lithrone Super Perfector, our System 20 web press and our Lithrone 28 half-size presses. In addition, printers were very interested in our strategic alliances with Creo and Printcafe, and the open-architecture solutions we can provide. We've got some real momentum going, and look forward to sustaining this high level of activity.”