One Web's Dual-Weave
Will web offset ultimately gain greater quality or efficiency momentum?
By Susan Friedman
You've got to hand it to offset for being such a well-rounded printing processthe printing equivalent of a person who's attractive and athletic, with a good personality to boot. Web offset, of late, has brought many positives to many package printers.
Eric Short, president of RDP Marathon, confirms web offset's continuing ability to satisfy on multiple counts with his prediction that this process will be strongest in both high-volume and high-quality package printing applications in the coming year. Several recently introduced presses appear poised to make this prediction come true, but what aspect of web offset stands to get the biggest boost?
High-end web offset: still narrow?
The major web offset press introductions of the '90s allowed package printers to set themselves apart by reaching new heights in printed label appearance. Nilpeter's 13" M-3300 press, first released four years ago, unveiled a combination platform of offset with UV flexo, screen, and hot foil stamping. The M-3300 drew a high degree of interest from sheet-fed offset printers, relates Nilpeter President John Little, but label printers across the board recognized the automatic value-added advantages of web offset's integration with other processes.
Using offset in combination with other processes enabled the web segment to address markets formerly exclusive to sheet-fed, such as wine labels and health/beauty aids, says Little, and demonstrate upgraded quality capabilities to customers and prospects. What's more, Little adds, converters wanting to enter the pressure-sensitive label market could finally use offset to produce labels that would match sheet-fed offset printed cartons. In addition, going the web route presented new efficiencies for longer runs.
It's evident from the momentum of combination presses that high-end web offset will continue to growbringing auxiliary processes right along with it. Bob Yates, sales manager for Gallus, contends there isn't a huge need for straight web offset in the prime label market. He sees the most growth potential in long-run wine/spirits labels, and flat demand in long-run health/beauty labels.