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PrintCity vendors unveil host of services, products for drupa 2008
MAN Roland, Kodak will debut their on-press digital inkjet system; Megtec introduces high-speed splicer.

By Mary L. Van Meter

TEGERNSEE, Germany — With drupa 2008 only a few months away, PrintCity Alliance companies last month outlined new products, services and general strategic plans.

PrintCity, a strategic alliance of vendors founded in 1998, includes Oce Printing Systems, MAN Roland, Sun Chemical, UPM, Megtec Systems and MacDermid Printing Solutions. The group said it would focus on seven core printing competencies, ranging from UV printing to workflow integration.

Timothy Ruth, MAN Roland’s vice president of sales for webfed operations.

Among partner announcements (in alphabetical order):

•MacDermid plans to introduce a new high-speed violet computer-to-plate flexographic plate, called Direct Write, and an upgrade to its Stabil-X offset blanket technology that further reduces the environmental impact of blanket production and usage.

Dubbed RefleX, the printing surface technology uses polymers to replace ground-buffed rubber in the blanket, thus creating solvent-free production, MacDermid said.

The Stabil-X blanket design, meantime, will also be extended to Metalback and Sleeve product lines earmarked for coldset narrow-gap presses and high-speed commercial presses using tubular blankets, respectively.

Photos: Newspapers & Technology
MAN Roland’s APL automatic plate loading system on a ColorMAN XXL press.

•MAN Roland said it would highlight press innovations.

Products showcased will include the fully automated robotics-based APL (automated plate loading) systems for newspaper and commercial presses, said Timothy Ruth, vice president of sales, webfed.

The first newspapers to buy the APL system are German publishers Saarbrucker Zeitung and Freie Press in Chemnitz, with startup pegged at next month and year-end 2009, respectively.

The company will also demonstrate its ecology and energy efficiency measures and display its XXL 6-by-2 press.

•Megtec introduced three new products, including a splicer that can handle roll diameters of up to 60 inches at a maximum production speed of 3,540 feet per minute.

The DLC 6000 match-speed splicer can support rolls that weigh more than 6 tons, said Andreas Keil, director of marketing and product development for Megtec’s printing product group.


Rolls are loaded into the paster by automatic roll-handling systems. The system also features an integrated infeed unit, and the splicer has quick-change chucks in 3-inch and 6-inch sizes. Megtec said the first DLC is integrated with a MAN Roland Pecom control system and scheduled for installation at Austrian printer Leykam this month.

Meantime, the company also rolled out a new series of core-driven flying pasters. The MP12, MP14, MP22 and MP24 products are aimed at printers with limited space requirements, especially newspapers, Keil said.

The splicers can be used on singlewide and doublewide presses.

“The engineering behind the MP makes it an ideal machine for high-performance newspaper presses that require high degrees of safety and color registration,” Keil said.

The first MP22 splicer will be installed this spring at Union de Reims on a Goss International Corp. Uniliner press, Keil said.

Photo: Newspapers & Technology
Rainer Kuhn, managing director of PrintCity, with Helmut (John) Dangelmaier, PrintCity president, at the pre-drupa press conference last month.

Finally, Megtec said Leykam, which is using its DLC splicer, is also the first printer to install its Dual-Dry RTO drying system. The drying system uses regenerative thermal oxidation to cut gas consumption and emissions by as much as 50 percent, the company said.

•Oce plans to target newspapers with its recently introduced JetStream 2200 digital press, said Peter Wolff, vice president, business group. The continuous-inkjet press can produce full-process color at speeds of up to 500 feet per minute — about 3,000 40-page newspapers per hour — with a print width of 20.3 inches and a paper width of 20.5 inches.

Wolff said the trend toward ever-shorter product lifecycles, in combination with fragmented audiences, is driving adoption of digital press technologies. “Printers need variable content to target specific audiences and this is where digital presses can be invaluable,” he said.

Megtec’s Andreas Keil, and the company’s MP12 core-driven flying paster. Megtec said it plans to introduce a number of new products at drupa.
Photos: Newspapers & Technology

•Sun Chemical said it would highlight its SunRay Web UV ink formulation, which the company tested with newspaper printer Herald Druck in Vienna, Austria (see Newspapers & Technology, December 2007).

It will also showcase inks and fountain solutions designed to help newspaper printers operate more efficiently and in the process save energy costs, according to Felipe Mellado, corporate vice president of marketing. Finally, Sun will showcase commercial ink products and a color management system, dubbed SmartColor.

•UPM will introduce two new training services, a paper and printing training program and a printing simulator, said Jussi Toikka, vice president of marketing of the firm’s paper unit.

Toikka said the training program will include tools aimed at helping press operators troubleshoot problems and improve their performance. The simulator will support both coldset and heatset press training. The device is based on Sinapse Graphic International’s simulator design, integrated with Honeywell’s Printa press control software.

UPM has established two training centers equipped with the consoles. One is located at UPM Technical Service’s training center in Augsburg, Germany, and the other is in connection with an R&D center at a mill in Changshu, China.

Additionally, UPM is introducing iRoll, a customer version of the optimization technology the company now uses to monitor paper-making machines.

The iRoll system, which consists of a device mounted to a press’ roller, will be available later this year, UPM said. It will enable printers to track such metrics as tension variations and other components.

AUGSBURG, Germany — MAN Roland and Kodak’s Graphic Communications Group said they will roll out their high-speed, on-press digital inkjet printing system at this year’s drupa.

The two companies last month signed a letter of intent governing the further development of the system, which was initially announced at last year’s IfraExpo.

The system is based on Kodak’s Versamark DS6240 inkjet head and can run at full press speeds of up to 90,000 copies per hour, according to Anton Hamm, MAN Roland’s executive vice president, business unit newspaper production systems.

Photos:  Newspapers & Technology
Anton Hamm, MAN Roland’s executive vice president, business unit newspaper production systems, shows how a cell phone can interact with a barcode printed by the high-speed on-press digital inkjet system MAN Roland developed in conjunction with Kodak.

Testing concept

MAN Roland has been testing the inkjet printer on a ColorMAN XXL press at its research and development center since last fall, he said.

Hamm said the system would allow newspapers to produce a variety of localized advertisements, text and images, including barcodes underpinning UpCode Ltd.’s cell phone-to-print ad technology (see Newspapers & Technology, December 2006).

The digital printing system is designed to work with MAN Roland’s Pecom control system and will be available for new presses as well as retrofits on Pecom systems installed after 2000, Hamm said.

Kodak engineered the Versamark inkjet head with a 4-inch width and the initial system can output either in black or in one color.

The print head is situated about 3mm from the web and can be placed at any point across the top of the web, Hamm said.


Move to various positions

It can also be moved to various positions, Hamm said, and newspapers can elect to deploy multiple inkjet heads if they desire.

The software running the inkjet heads is integrated into Pecom via a proprietary interface, Hamm said, and the system is designed to overcome such forces as electromagnetic static build-up and other factors.

MAN Roland declined to disclose the price of the system other than saying that per-page costs shouldn’t exceed 1 cent.

—Mary L. Van Meter