Digital web printing has been hailed, justifiably, as an ideal fit for book publishing, packaging, labels and other applications. Lithographic web presses, long dismissed for their waste, inefficiency and low quality printing, are making a comeback in the applications they once dominated.
It’s a new twist for the offset-type webfed technology. Newer models of offset webfed presses are attracting renewed attention for the increased speed, reduced waste and much improved output quality.
Webfed Presses: Ruling the High Speeds
Digital or offset, feeding continuously off a roll to reach higher throughput and finished output has always been the main advantage of webfed printing versus sheetfed.
Some printers continue to operate older offset webfed presses. They certainly deliver signatures at high speeds, but they generally compete poorly against offset webfed upstarts when you factor in waste and quality. With waste reduced to that of sheetfed devices, new webfed presses for book printing compete strongly for jobs that were once automatically loaded onto sheetfed machines.
In the absence of graphics, long run book printing is just fine on some older litho webfed presses. The older models have rates and fees that are far below the latest webfed devices.
Customized and Personalized Printing with Web Speeds
Compared to litho and offset, digital web printing’s ace in the hole is its signature power to produce variable data printing (VDP). Businesses, brand managers, and marketers embrace output that’s customized and personalized.
Speed-wise, several current high-end digital webfed presses deliver color print at speeds up to 42 meters/min or 135 feet/min. Another advantage is that digital webfed presses yield 24 or 32 page signatures that are ready for the binder right off the press.
Most digital webfed presses still suffer the drawback of media format and substrate limitations. Offset webfed presses, meanwhile, can run any off-the-shelf substrate.
Landa W10 Press: Weaving a New Web
In the realm of flexible packaging and folding cartons, Landa Nanographic Printing® technology is changing the way the industry looks at webfed press printing. The webfed Landa W10 Nanographic Printing® Press offers flexible packaging to meet widely diverse needs of markets and brands.
Compared to other digital web devices, the webfed Landa W10 press prints at speeds of 100 m/min (328 ft/min). It also produces mainstream flexible packaging using any standard plastics as well as challenging plastics like polyethylene – and in using digital technology it requires no setup. The crossover point with offset web hits at around 7,000 linear meters (23,000 linear feet).