Web's Got a Friend
By partnering with other processes, web offset reaches its maximum productivity value.
by Jessica Millward, Associate Editor
THE QUALITY OF web offset printing has never been in question; its economy, however, has had its naysayers. But the new generation of web offset looks to be fueled by interdependence: using offset in conjunction with other processes to provide high quality while rationing costs. Given its in-line capabilities and speed advantage, web offset's doors may soon open to many more printers.
The move to multi-process was certainly witnessed by last year's Labelexpo attendees. RDP Marathon, for example, highlighted its LF-series of variable repeat web presses, which employs interchangeable print inserts available in hybrid combinations of litho, flexo, screen, waterless, and gravure.
Brian Ivens, RDP's director of international marketing, believes, "Such print flexibility allows the appropriate printing process to be used according to the needs of each job—offset for process printing, flexo for special coatings, screen for high ink deposition, gravure for metallic effects, etc."
Nilpeter, a combination web offset veteran, recently introduced the 20˝ M-5200 model as a first cousin to the 13˝ M-3300 unit. These presses feature a platform slide-in system to allow printing cassette changes without tooling, as well as off-line job preparation. Stressing the ability to change set-ups from job to job, Nilpeter offers UV flexo and UV screen versatility, in addition to laminating, embossing, stamping, and diecutting.
Offset seems to have found its natural print partner in UV flexo, which often provides better large-area, solid color coverage than offset. Michael Aumann, North American sales manager for Brandtjen & Kluge, agrees, counting the newly offered UV flexo capacity on the Kluge web press system as one of the most significant developments of his company's presses. as it will significantly expand the amount of work the press can produce.