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A healthy


									Repro Drupa 2004
As we approach Drupa 2004, the printing industry has
never been so healthy. By Kurt K Wolf

A healthy
print industry                                                                                              Kurt Wolf, technical editor of Deutsche
                                                                                                            Drucker Verlag and European
                                                                                                            correspondent for The Seybold Report.

The print media trade fair Drupa              The Heidelberg Prosetter
                                              is available as a fully
2004 from 6 to 19 May will be                 automatic unit with a
the ‘colour printing Drupa’. The              single cassette loader
development of colour printing and            with online processor.
its automation will form the focus in         The cassette system
                                              supports violet plate
the classical offset, gravure and             imaging in daylight
flexographic printing processes.              conditions and means
In digital printing colour laser and          that no yellow light is
inkjet printing systems will show off         needed. The QM 46 plate
                                              format is now also
their variety of applications and             supported by the
prove that the printing industr y has         Prosetter 102.
never been so healthy.

Anyone who visits Drupa 2004 will be
exposed to a wealth of rational production
methods and innovative products. The
development of communication media has
changed significantly since Drupa 2000.
Forecasts that the Internet would change
communication habits and make print
media superfluous have collapsed as much
as the belief in constantly growing stock
prices. Drupa 2004 in Düsseldorf will         and Heidelberg, practically all of whom         as they offer the ability to proof both sides
show instead that printed media not only      now also work with violet laser technology      of the forme in register.
continues to be requested by people, but      and, therefore, with yellow room light. In
                                              contrast, the external drum imagers man-        Digital proofing:
that the Internet and computers have
                                              ufactured by Agfa, Creo, ECRM, Fujifilm,        soft, contract and remote
accelerated their development. In princi-
ple, two major development trends will be     Heidelberg, Lüscher, Presstek and Screen        The new high-resolution inkjet printers
distinguishable at Drupa 2004: the            are thermal imagers which can work in           are the reason why proofing systems will
automation of traditional printing process-   daylight conditions. Platesetters for offset,   be presented at many stands. Ever less
es and the new digital printing processes.    nevertheless, have the disadvantage that        expensive colour laser printers are
                                              they require highly sophisticated plates        increasingly being used for rapid page
Automated prepress                            for laser imaging which are more expen-         proofs. For sophisticated colour proofs
The changeover in prepress to a comput-       sive than the former contact or analogue        which can simulate the print run with the
er-controlled digital workflow has pro-       plates, which could be exposed with UV          utmost exactness, inkjet printers will also
duced a revitalisation of the traditional     light in a contact frame. Only one provider     be used together with proven colour cali-
printing process. The direct transition       has developed a technology so far which         bration systems, such as the Best Color,
from computer to the offset printing plate,   uses UV light and, therefore, makes the         Softproof systems based on RealTime-
flexographic plate and gravure printing       computer-to-plate step possible without         Image and Best technologies, with which
cylinder have made the printing processes     using the more expensive types of plate.        customers can proof files at the printer
faster, better and more attractive, and          At Drupa 2004 many printers will want        over the Internet will be shown by many
have allowed a far greater degree of con-     to see whether Esko-Graphics and                providers. And proofing at the agency or
trol of some of the variables which have      Escher-Grad have their announced plate          at the customer’s premises using remote
daunted printers for decades.                 imagers for UV exposure ready for mar-          proofing, will also be of great interest.
   Film imagesetters will no longer be in     ket. All providers will offer one or more
                                                                                              Offset printing lives on
the spotlight at Drupa 2004, only digital     workflow systems for automatic plate pro-
platesetters. These include the internal      duction, as well as large-format digital        Long 10 – 12 unit or even 13-unit sheetfed
drum machines from manufacturers such         proofers for layout proofing, with recto-       presses which print on both sides of the
as Agfa, Krause, Esko-Graphics, Fujifilm      verso printers being of particular interest,    sheet in one pass and simultaneously pro-

                                                                                                   Graphic Repro On-line Drupa Newsroom October 2003
Repro Drupa 2004
                                                                              The Agfa :XCalibur            lasers will, therefore, interest many spe-
                                                                              thermal technology
                                                                              external drum platesetter
                                                                                                            cialists. Since the development of digital
                                                                              addresses B1 format           cylinder production, flexographic printing
                                                                              presses for high quality      is taking an ever greater market share
                                                                              commercial printing and       from packaging offset, due to its higher
                                                                              packaging production.
                                                                                                            printing quality afforded by digital plate-
                                                                              Below: The award-
                                                                              winning medium-format
                                                                                                            setters for flexo. They will be looking for
                                                                              Heidelberg Speedmaster        new customers, as will the manufacturers
                                                                              CD 74 press is a popular      of increasingly sophisticated flexographic
                                                                              choice in today’s highly-     printing presses.
                                                                              competitive packaging
                                                                              market where shorter          The new world of short run colour
                                                                              runs have also become
                                                                              the order of the day. It is   The colour laser production machines
                                                                              also the recipient of a       from Nexpress, HP Indigo, Xeikon and
                                                                              world first ‘Optimised UV     Xerox have now achieved a colour quality,
                                                                              Printing’ certificate.
                                                                                                            which although it does not quite have the
                                                                                                            ‘look and feel’ of offset printing, is not
duce value-enhancing printed products               machines can be controlled automatically                inferior to it in colourfulness. Because
with special colours and coatings will cer-         due to CIP-4 development, machines are                  colour laser printing does not require a
tainly be visible in the halls accommodat-          being developed which can pass produc-                  printing forme, it is the ideal process for
ing the press manufacturers. Whether six-           tion data to a central management system,               short print runs. However, as its service
or twelve-colour presses: the printing              and from prepress to press and postpress                and toner costs are relatively high, A3 off-
speed will barely be increased, as the              systems to help speed up the printing and               set presses with Digital Imaging (DI) can
main focus for increasing productivity will         finishing processes. Larger printers can                produce less expensively from a 500 run
lie with shortening the set-up times.               thus avoid incorrect entries, achieve enor-             upwards – in genuine offset quality.
Faster cleaning processes for blanket               mous time savings with staff and process                   Despite this, the time has now come
                                                                                                            when jobbing offset printers are taking an
                                                                                                            interest in colour laser printing for various
                                                                                                            reasons. Firstly, these machines print
                                                                                                            entire documents from the first to the last
                                                                                                            page, which generates enormous savings
                                                                                                            in processing such electronically paginat-
                                                                                                            ed books or catalogues, which the pure
                                                                                                            page price does not take into account.
                                                                                                            Many of these now offer inline finishing as
                                                                                                            well, so that they are, in effect, complete
                                                                                                            manufacturing lines.
                                                                                                               Secondly, value-enhancing printed mat-
                                                                                                            ter can be produced by printing variable
                                                                                                            data, through individualisation, personali-
                                                                                                            sation and versioning, which can be very
                                                                                                               Thirdly, new, much cheaper colour
                                                                                                            printers which, although not suitable for
                                                                                                            high production quantities are coming
                                                                                                            from the office world and as light printers
                                                                                                            are making entry into colour laser print-
                                                                                                            ing and the production of value-enhancing
                                                                                                            printed matter much easier.
cylinders and rapid plate change will be a          production more rapidly.                                   Not only classic printers, but also medi-
must here, as well as electronic colour                Small and medium-sized printers,                     um-sized and large industrial and trading
zone regulation for faster makereadies.             which up to have handed processing over                 companies across the world are obtaining
   In sheetfed offset we shall also see five-       to a service provider, can develop process-             high-quality colour printers from colour
to six-colour printing machines for pack-           ing in-house as a result. In this case,                 laser printing based on office copiers.
aging printing, which can print on the              Drupa is the best place to compare the                  Therefore, any offset printer who does not
most varied substrates with UV inks, both           entire range of cutting and folding                     offer his customers these inexpensive
on plastics, as well as non-absorbent paper         machines available in one venue.                        alternatives, should not wonder when his
and board – with printing on both sides of                                                                  customers look for alternative suppliers.
                                                    The big world of packaging
the sheet, as the demands of the industry
                                                    Packaging printers will want to view the                Inkjet printing: a growth technology
are met by the manufacturers.
   The sound barrier has already been               range of presses available for offset,                  The step from computer directly to the
reached in web offset with 48- and 64-page          gravure and flexography printing. In off-               printing press has led to new digital print-
presses. It will be interesting to see how a        set printing, UV colour printing is current-            ing processes, which provide an opportu-
web offset machine with inline colour con-          ly very topical, as very glossy printed fold-           nity and challenge for every printer both
trol, will print in register and up to colour       ing cartons which no longer require lami-               in colour laser printing and in the many
in less than three minutes, – with a mini-          nating are conquering the hearts of buy-                application areas of inkjet printing. The
mum of adjustment time and waste.                   ers. Film printing in gravure printing is               numerous large-format printer providers
                                                    still of topical interest especially with large         offer inkjet systems with colour inks for
Automated processing                                print run products, so the development of               indoor applications and pigmented inks
Since cutting, folding and combining                cylinder gravure from diamond needles to                for outdoor applications. However, anyone
Graphic Repro On-line Drupa Newsroom October 2003
Repro Drupa 2004
                                                                                                        small run sector and can be used for
                                                                                                        everything to be printed up to two metres
                                                                                                        wide and three metres long on board, plas-
                                                                                                        tic, wood, glass or even sheet metal. The
                                                                                                        fact is, that all of these inkjet applications
                                                                                                        are no longer empty market niches, but an
                                                                                                        application segment which has not been
                                                                                                        fully exploited and can still grow.
                                                                                                        The printing industr y
                                                                                                        and the office world meet
                                                                                                        Drupa 2004 offers all printing industry
                                                                                                        specialists a comprehensive overview of
                                                                                                        the state of technology in the industry and
                                                                                                        a view of future technical developments.
                                                                                                        Anyone wishing to automate his printing
                                                                                                        works will find a full range of possibilities
                                                                                                        here to choose from. Anyone wanting to
                                                                          Above: The HP Indigo W        move into digital printing will find ideas
                                                                          3200. Colour laser
                                                                          machines from Nexpress,
                                                                                                        for many areas of application beyond
                                                                          HP Indigo, Xeikon and         those offered by offset printing.
                                                                          Xerox have now achieved          The merging of the printing industry
                                                                          a colour quality, which       with the global office sector will also
                                                                          although it does not quite
                                                                          have the ‘look and feel’ of
                                                                                                        reveal enormous possibilities for growth
                                                                          offset printing, is not       in these markets for jobbing printers.
                                                                          inferior to it.               Drupa 2004 will, therefore, be a market-
                                                                          Left: The Müller Martini      place where managers from the office
                                                                          Amigo, which will be          world will be able to familiarise them-
                                                                          seen in the PrintCity hall,   selves with increasingly attractive colour
                                                                          networked in a full
                                                                          production environment,       printing possibilities and their rational
                                                                          using CIP4 data from          processing more effectively than at any
                                                                          prepress to aid faster        computer trade fair.
                                                                          setup and makeready,
                                                                          completing the                About the author
                                                                          production workflow.          Kurt K. Wolf is a specialist journalist who
                                                                                                        works for Deutscher Drucker, Publishing
                                                                                                        Praxis and The Seybold Report. He has
entering this market will soon want to buy          square metres for indoor applications.              monitored the development of the printing
more productive systems. In principle,                 The second are wide-format printers,             industry actively since 1956, the last 14
today there are three different possibili-          which can print mega-posters for outdoor            years as a specialist journalist, adviser,
ties for expanding volume. The first are            and indoor applications in two, three or            speaker and presenter of international con-
systems which, although significantly               five metre widths. The third are flatbed            gresses and symposia.
more expensive, print from 200 to 300               inkjet printers for rigid materials. They           Website of interest:
square metres per hour instead of 10 to 20          supplement silk-screen printing in the    

Graphic Repro On-line Drupa Newsroom October 2003

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