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Drupa hoopla

Mar 1, 2008 12:00 AM


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In January, Drupa show organizer Messe Düsseldorf hosted a conference preview for 130 members of the international trade press. While most of the 11 participating vendors are holding back some news until May, a few tantalizing hints were dropped. Stay tuned!

Xerox & inkjet: more to come

It's hard to believe Xerox's (Rochester, NY) first Drupa was in 2000, a show that ushered in a host of new digital and direct imaging presses and CTP devices. Inkjet is the big buzz of the 2008 show, and Xerox will be a part of it.

The company held off on divulging its timetable, but indicated it will have some inkjet demonstrations at the show.

Valerie Blauvelt, vice president, marketing, Xerox production systems group, said inkjet is well suited to high-volume work but might lack the quality some applications demand. “[Our goal] is not to duplicate inkjet technology today, but to improve upon it.”

The vendor emphasized workflow solutions and business development services as well as its partnerships and potential applications such as direct marketing pieces, photo books and photo specialty, packaging and specialty imaging for secure documents. A Heidelberg press teamed with FreeFlow tools will help visitors envision the benefits of combining offset and digital printing. On the environmental front, the company will showcase eco-friendly technology, toner, inks and paper.

Xerox did not have any packaging announcements, but Blauvelt said the market “is unbelievably big.” Xerox distributes some Esko software in Europe and has placed equipment with major converters doing short-run pharmaceutical work and other applications. A packaging installation might include an iGen3 with an Epic coater or a DocuColor teamed with the Kongsberg XE10 and i-XE10 dieless converting tables.

Quick as a flash

Rated at up to 1,232 duplex A4 images per minute, Xerox's 650/1300 continuous-feed printer targets service bureaus, data centers and commercial printers.

The system uses dry toner, xerographic imaging and flash-fusing technology. Because no heat or pressure makes contact with the paper, the device can print on a wider array of substrates.

The vendor also will showcase its full-color, toner-based, continuous-feed device. Announced this past fall, the speedy 490/980 targets direct-mail pieces that contain personalized coupons, loyalty campaigns that incorporate membership cards, and newsletters and newspapers with regional customized content.

The 490/980 also incorporates flash fusing. It prints at 600 dpi and maintains top speed when printing full color or monochrome, regardless of the number of colors used or the weight of the paper. It prints 226 fpm or 450 images per minute two-up, simplex on 8.5 × 11-inch paper, and 900 images per minute in duplex.

Xerox will also feature it iGen3 and Nuvera lines as well as FreeFlow Workflow solutions and ProfitAccelerator tools.

See www.xerox.com.

Bring on the packaging press

Heidelberg (Kennesaw, GA) will showcase its sheetfed offset solutions in Hall 1(commercial printing) and Hall 2 (packaging printing). Highlights include the vendor's Anicolor keyless inking unit technology, Prinect workflow and the first showing of the Speedmaster XL 162 (47.2 × 63.8 inches).

Look for live folding carton production on the new packaging format press as well as workflow demos in Hall 2's “Integrated Packaging Production” section. The rest of the exhibition areas is divided into these categories: Anicolor, Prinect Integration, One Pass Productivity, Solutions for the A2 (half size) and A3 Formats (2 up) and Special Applications & Large Format.

Playing on the first three letters of the Heidelberg name, the vendor is stressing “HEI” tech in general and “HEI” value and performance specifically. Visitor can choose among “HEI Light” tours that cover everything (general overview), a market specialty (packaging or commercial printing); technical overview (for operators and production managers); or profession (print buyers and marketing managers).

Andriana Nuneva, senior vice president of global marketing, said the company will underscore its position as a solutions provider as well as explain its business consulting services.

In collaboration with Adidas, around 80 real-life print products, including posters, autograph cards, product and service brochures, and packaging products, will be processed live from prepress through postpress on Heidelberg products.

Heidelberg will offer more details on its packaging presses at a press conference in March. While there might be a surprise or two, a true jawdropper is unlikely. At the company's annual press conference in December 2007, CEO Bernard Schreier said the days of holding back news until drawing aside a curtain on the Drupa show floor are over. “We can't spring [that kind of announcement] on customers, some of whom bought a press the previous year. There are no more secrets.”

See www.drupa-heidelberg.com.

The future is on demand

Screen (Rolling Meadows, IL) soon will sell its 12,000th platesetter. The company offers 4-, 8-, 24- and 36- page devices, for commercial, newspaper and flexo applications. Worldwide market share has remained above 30 percent for four years. Look for a new platesetter for large-format presses to be announced at the show.

While stressing its commitment to CTP, Screen believes that market will eventually decline, and it must be prepared to transition into a new area. Since its founding more than 50 years ago, the company evolved with the times, moving from glass screens to scanners to imagesetters and platesetters. Screen will use the motto “Creating a Future in Print” to position itself as a print on demand player.

Launched in 2004, the Truepress 344 images at 2400dpi resolution and uses the conventional offset process. Unlike other DI presses, it's not waterless — it runs off-the-shelf inks and the same blankets as a 40-inch press.

Truepress Jet520, the company's first major inkjet system, is a roll-fed variable inkjet printer featuring Seiko Epson piezo drop-on-demand heads and water-based pigment inks. The Truepress Jet 520 offers the advantages of inkjet systems — high speed and low cost — with roll feeding for high-volume printing.

The Truepress Jet520 can print up to 210 ft./min.) to a width of 165 inches (25,200 A4 color pg./hr. simplex, 50,400 pgs./hr. duplex and 37,200 3-page leaflets/hr.). The first duplex model has just been joined by a single-engine duplex model.

In addition to direct mail and transpromo applications, the Truepress Jet520 can be used for specialized, short-run newspapers.

The Truepress Jet2500UV is a hybrid flatbed/roll-to-roll printer with a maximum printing width of 98.4 inches. The Truepress Jet2500UV is compatible with a wide variety of media types, such as poster board, banners, wallpaper and textiles, up to a media thickness of 1.96 inches. It has a maximum speed of 726.5 sq. ft./hr. Users can select five different resolutions 300, 600, 900, 1200 and 1500 dpi. The press uses CMYK UV inks as standard, plus optional LcLm and white inks. For the industrial printing market, Screen offers the Truepress Jet650UV.

At Drupa visitors will see a Trueflownet workflow solutions for variable data and versioning as well as tools for streamlining production automation, monitoring and management.

See www.screenusa.com.

Ricoh steps up

At Graph Expo 2007, Ricoh Americas Corp. (West Caldwell, NJ) announced the creation of its Production Printing Business Group (PPBG) and previewed a midrange device for in-plant shops, digital print providers, commercial printers, service bureaus, direct marketing firms and data centers. PPBG traces its roots to Ricoh's Lanier and Hitachi acquisitions in 2001 and 2004, respectively.

Drupa will mark the debut of the 90-ppm Ricoh Pro C900 and C900s. Said to offer high-productivity in full color, even when printing on stock up to 300 gsm, the Ricoh Pro is offered with EFI's Fiery RIP. Inline finishing options include perfect binding, a Plockmatic booklet maker and GBC punch unit.

See www.ricoh-usa.com.

It's a brand new day

CEO Jeff Jacobson introduced “a brand new Presstek.” Founded in 1987, the Hudson, NH, company got its start as the behind-the-scenes supplier of DI laser units. Now, the vendor is eagerly cultivating more brand recognition as a full service provider, particularly among larger commercial printers.

The company's strategy calls for growth in Europe and Asia, an expanded product portfolio and more partnerships. Jacobson said the company sees a lot of litho plate potential — its Aurora plate can be used with any thermal platesetter.

Jacobson was joined by Mark Levin, president, Americas region; Hakan Elmali, vice president of engineering and research; Klaus Schleicher, group product director, digital printing business unit; and Raymond Hillhouse, director of sales and operations, Presstek Europe.

Presstek's highlights include the landscape 52DI and portrait 34DI presses. Rated at up to 10,000 sph, the 52DI has a maximum print area 20.07 × 14.17 inches. The 34DI produces up to 7,000 sph with a maximum print area of 12.99 × 17.72 inches.

The vendor will show its range of platemakers, including the chemistry-free Excel platemaker series with the Anthem Pro grained anodized plate. Anthem Pro delivers run lengths up to 100,000 impressions and produces a visible, high-contrast plate that is daylight-safe before, during and after imaging.

For its four-page thermal platemaker, Presstek will demonstrate the Dimension450 Excel-Autoloader. It mounts up to 20 pre-punched plates enabling a throughput speed of 17 plates/hr.

Other highlights include the Dimension800, a 73 × 33-inch, eight-page platesetter and the small format Vector TX52.

On the workflow side, look for Momentum Pro, a fully-integrated RIP and workflow solution designed to streamline and automate the production process using certified PDF tools. The workflow can be used as a centralized PDF creation and preflight system.

See www.presstek.com.

Wide format, digital label printing and more

Before a customer panel discussion, EFI (Foster City, CA) chairman and CEO Guy Gecht cited some industry challenges and opportunities including consolidation, the power of information, profitability, out-of-home advertising and environmentalism.

Gecht stressed Fiery controllers' ability to support short-run, quick turn jobs — automation that can help ensure jobs are profitable. A Netherlands customer discussed his experiences using EFI PrintSmith as well as a Fiery to drive a Canon 7000. Wide and superwide printers now have their own Fiery for both production and proofing requirements. Fiery XF offers seamless connectivity to the EFI's product portfolio. In addition to EFI's VUTEk, Fiery XF is compatible with printing devices from Epson, HP, Mimaki, Mutoh and Roland.

Roland Niggemeyer, president of German-based Bildproduktion detailed his experiences with the VUTEk QS3200r with the Fiery XF. The roll-to-roll UV printer images up to 3.2 m wide at 1,080 dpi at speeds up to 1,850 sq. ft./hr.

This is the ninth VUTEk machine for Bildproduktion. After seeing the machine's debut at SGIA's show in Orlando last year, Niggemeyer immediately decided to buy it.

The printer says the VUTEk QS3200r bridges the gap between his existing VUTEk solvent and dye-sublimation machines. The new printer also will allow him to print jobs directly to textiles, eliminating the dye-sublimation process.

Evan Almighty environmentally

On the environmental front, Gecht highlighted EFI's VUTEk BioVu inks. The solvent-based superwide printing inks are made from corn. In 2007, Schawk Los Angeles, in produced a “green” outdoor advertising campaign for “Evan Almighty.” Vinyl signage was produced on the EFI VUTEk 5300 superwide format printer with BioVu inks using Ultraflex's BIOflex vinyl, which turns to dust under landfill conditions.

In other EFI news:

  • The company announced an Enhanced Service Program (ESP) for its VUTEk line of dye sublimation, solvent and UV inkjet printers. The three-tiered contractual program is available to existing and new customers.

  • Worldwide sales of the VUTEk QS series UV printers have passed the 300 mark. A Belgian printing and sign company bought the 300th unit, a QS3200 superwide UV printer.

  • EFI has doubled the space dedicated to its Jetrion industrial inkjet research, development and manufacturing in Ypsilanti, MI, from 35,000 to 70,000 sq. ft.

  • Black plate replacement on the Jetrion 3025 enables label converters to reduce operating expenses by using Jetrion inkjet technology in place of traditional flexo printing plates for printing short-run or fully variable black content such as text, numbering or graphics.

  • The Jetrion 3025 also supports e-pedigree production for pharmaceutical applications. In pharmaceutical labeling applications, a pedigree is a paper or electronic document used for drug authentication. It enables a single view of the product and order. Each prescription unit must have a unique serial number — the Jetrion 3025 can produce these, as well as other track and trace applications.

See www.efi.com.

Addressing inkjet advancements

Domino Amjet (Gurnee, IL) is best known for the Bitjet technology found on some prominent magazine printers' stitching lines, but its portfolio extends beyond addressing applications. Founded in 1978 in Cambridge, England, Domino's inkjet and laser marking systems are used for numbering and barcodes, personalization, promotional games and postal barcodes/marks.

Domino's Drupa news includes version 4.5 of Bitjet+ binary piezo drop-on-demand line, the L400 thermal inkjet printer and the BaseLine inkjet mailing base.

The Bitjet+ has a new print head that can be rotated at angle for increased print resolutions of up to 180dpi. An automated crosstalk compensation mode regulates drop placement during printing.

Previous Bitjet models could print only a maximum of every other droplet. By contrast, each of the 256 nozzles within the Bitjet+ version 4.5 can be programmed to use any or all of its 64,000 droplets of ink produced, every second. For high-speed web applications, users can print at much higher speeds or optimize print quality at lower speeds.

An automated back flush function lets users flush out blocked or skewed print heads with cleaning solvent for faster recovery.

Third-generation drop-on-demand

Domino's K150, its third-generation drop-on-demand product, lets users expand their variable data capabilities. The K150 series uses both low-VOC solvent and UV-curable inks. Depending on production requirements, each K150 printer can deliver a print width of 71mm, a resolution of up to 180 × 360 dpi, and print speeds of up to 120m per minute, equating to 20,000 products per hour.

The L400 thermal inkjet solution reportedly is easily integrated into mail bases, including Domino's new BaseLine. It is compatible with envelope inserters, folders, and narrow print webs. Its variable data capabilities facilitate addressing with the latest postal industry barcodes including linear and 2D codes, postage paid indicia, graphics and messaging.

The L400 uses a range of water-based inks with no special handling requirements. It can be operated with either simple disposable ink cartridges or a 400 ml bulk ink system capable of delivering 100 uninterrupted hours of print.

See www.dominoamjet.com.

Let's twist again

Dalim Software (Kehl, Germany) will incorporate PDF Print Engine into some areas of its product line. The company's TWiST automated production workflow now is even more automated. A new JDF Connectivity Package can send files automatically from the workflow to applications such as Alwan's CMYK Optimizer ink management software. The files are processed in the application, and returned to the DALiM TWiST workflow. As the package does so, it can drive the settings of the ink optimization solution directly from the workflow via the JDF communication standards. Because the workflow provides the setting, no hotfolder or queue is required. “Basically, the application becomes a DALiM TWiST tool,” says Bertin Sorgenfrey, head of international marketing. “There is a certain amount of handshake information exchanged, the workflow sends the file, the application processes it, and the file returns to the workflow when the task is done.”

Look for version 3.0 of DALiM MiSTRAL, an automation and project management/job tracking system. A publisher's production flatplan lets even non-technical users approve pages quickly. MiSTRAL 3.0 shows true PDF images of complete pages that have been produced through a production workflow.

The vendor also announced enhancements to DALIM DiALOGUE, a stand-alone SWOP certified monitor-based proofing application running under Macintosh OS X. New features include text extraction, the ability to highlight text when viewing a proof on a monitor, and cutting and pasting that text with edits into a comment. Text is shown as a vector component — reviewers don't have to retype copy that requires changes.

Where gaming meets the graphic arts

Once a magazine has been planned using DALiM MiSTRAL, a virtual representation of the publication is available using DALiM ViRTUAL LiBRARY for a more realistic proofing experience. The software gives users the impression they are leafing through a magazine. As a reader ‘scrolls' through the pages, the pages curl and turn faster. Pages are dynamically linked to work being done in DALiM MiSTRAL. If a page is completed, approved — or changed — it is reflected in the magazine immediately in the virtual version. The program uses gaming technology to achieve a high-speed page flipping effect. Metadata — including editorial or ad pages — can be streamed automatically from DALiM MiSTRAL.

DALiM is workng with UPM to incorporate ViRTUAL LiBRARY into the paper company's sales tools. The software can simulate the different paper stocks, including the effects of whiteness, see-through and opacity, in real time.

See www.dalim.com.

Color server is 10x faster

Print On Demand Solutions (PODS) Group (Lowell, MA), an independent unit of Kodak's Graphic Communications Group (Rochester, NY) will present Nuevo, a Creo color server. New high-speed system architecture will serve the entire Creo Color Servers product line. This technology addresses high production markets with increased performance and speed. The new architecture introduces scalability, advanced functionality, parallel operations, advanced batch editing solutions, and process automation.

“We are very excited to release Nuevo technology for the Creo Color Servers product line,” said Ilana Jucha, GM, PODS Group. “This technology is capable of driving Kodak's high speed digital presses and addresses high production markets, such as transpromo, photo rich applications and direct mail. We will show ten-time improvement in performance at Drupa.”

Creo color servers drive HP, IKON, Konica Minolta and Xerox machines. Integrations are built on industry standards rather than proprietary interfaces. Creo Color Servers based on Nuevo Technology enable OEM partners to connect to Kodak's workflow portfolio for intelligent automation and integration of business, data, color and production processes for both conventional print and digital production.

The group will present a new workflow initiative for its OEM partners leveraging Kodak's Unified Workflow Solutions, such as Prinergy and InSite. The workflow solutions will be tightly integrated within the portfolio's components and through the Creo color servers family, providing an effective gateway to a wide range of digital presses.

See www.pod-fw.com.

Katherine O'Brien is the editor of AMERICAN PRINTER. Contact her at KOB@americanprinter.com.

At a Glance

When: May 29 to June 11 in Düsseldorf, Germany

No. of exhibitors: More than 1,800.

Anticipated attendance: 400,000.

Website: www.drupa.com

Let's hear it for the buyers

A “Print Cube” pavilion will conduct programs squarely targeting print buyers. Local marketing executives, publishing directors, production managers, account executives and creative directors will see the power of print.

Programs will highlight brand protection, green printing and the relationship between the arts and print. See www.drupacube.com.

Digital printing is on the rise

The two new halls, 8a and 8b, as well as halls 5 and 9, reflect the growth of digital printing. Exhibitors include Agfa, Canon, Eastman Kodak, Epson, Fujifilm, Hewlett-Packard, Konica Minolta, Ricoh and Xerox.

Other familiar Drupa 2008 names include:

Halls 1 and 2: Heidelberg and Polar-Mohr.

Halls 3 and 4: Printing, materials, services (including Presstek).

Hall 6: PrintCity with MAN Roland, its network partners and other international exhibitors active in print finishing.

Halls 10 to 12: Paper converting, packaging production (including Bobst S.A.).

Hall 12: More than 70 used machinery dealers.

Halls 12 to 14: Bookbinding, print finishing (including Horizon International Inc. and Muller Martini).

Halls 15 to 17: Printing machinery, bookbinding and finishing (including Cerrutti, Ferag, Goss, KBA, Komori, Mitsubishi, Ryobi and Windmöller & Hölscher).

Get hip to the DIP

The Drupa Innovation Parc (DIP) features more than 160 small but cutting-edge companies. It's a great place to see fresh ideas, and you might just meet the next Bill Gates or Benny Landa. See www.dip.drupa.com.

Hail, hail, the gang's all here

People inevitably compare Drupa to the Olympics. It's true, both are international gatherings. A key difference: Drupa is always held in Düsseldorf, and in its 50-year history there have been no drug scandals. But we digress.

Just as some measure Olympic success by medals, others use exhibition floor-space as a yardstick. For those scoring at home, here's the space breakdown: Germany (745,100 sq. ft.); Italy (148,200 sq. ft.); United States (142,600 sq. ft.); Switzerland (130,500 sq. ft.); The Netherlands (99,100 sq. ft.); Japan (89,200 sq. ft.); the UK (80,000 sq. ft.); Belgium (70,800 sq. ft.) and Spain (some 68,600 sq. ft.).

Developing industrial countries such as China and India have dramatically increased their presence. Chinese vendors will occupy 84,700 sq. ft. (a 300 percent increase from Drupa 2004); while Indian companies have booked 25,900 sq. ft., a 60 percent increase.

Where am I?

Compass Sessions (www.compass-sessions.de) provide an overview of trends, machinery, software, workflows, manufacturing techniques and products. Don't miss the printed electronics session scheduled for June 4.

“Highlights Tours” (www.highlightstouren.de) will cover topics ranging from workflows to Web-to-print, offset and digital printing to packaging production and finishing.

Stop & shop

With more than 1,800 booths to investigate, showgoers won't have much spare time. Savvy visitors can squeeze in a little shopping at the swanky Königsallee (AKA “Kö”), the Park Ave. of Düsseldorf. See www.koenigsallee-duesseldorf.de.

Roll out the barrel

You'll meet many Drupa attendees in Dusseldorf's Old Town sampling the local brews. Popular brewpubs include Uerige, Füchschen, Schumacher and Schlüssel. See www.duesseldorf-altstadt.de.

Space race

Offset (including sheetfed and web), digital, gravure, label and screen printing will occupy more than 30,000 sq. m. at Drupa. Bookbinding and print finishing (11,000 sq. m.) is the next largest equipment category followed by prepress and premedia (more than 9,000 sq. m.) and packaging production/paper converting (more than 7,500 sq. m.).