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The Digital Sheetfed Press That Thinks It’s Offset

Thursday, 04 June 2015 | By Bob Boucher, Senior Copywriter

Sheetfed Komori offset and Landa S10 presses

Back in the day – roughly 25 years ago – offset sheetfed printing was the “go-to” choice for producing short-run books, business cards, letterhead, fliers, and pamphlets. Sheetfed offset devices needed a bit less make-ready than webfed presses, produced less waste, and reached top speeds in a minute or so.

Sheetfed Offset Presses: Good News and Bad News

Current model sheetfed offset presses offer nearly double the throughout speeds than they did two-three decades ago. In fact, when it comes to costs, some sheetfed models can go head to head with webfed offset for longer-run jobs.

As an offset process, sheetfed offset presses deliver high image quality with full coverage on a vast number of substrates – and at very competitive costs to the printer and buyer.

But, sheetfed offset press devices are burdened with the extra time and cost associated with make-ready, producing plates for each color, chemical use, and other press setup requirements.

Digital Sheetfed Presses Assume Short-Run Supremacy

Since their coming out party in 1993, however, digital print devices have taken over the lion’s share of short run jobs. Printing as few as a single sheet and up to several thousand, digital presses have eliminated the waste associated with offset.

With no make-ready, a digital press is ideal for rush jobs. Variable data printing (VDP) capabilities allows custom, even individualized sheets. Quick-turn short runs and personalized print production have also let many digital print providers charge premium prices that weren’t available with standard offset.

Limitations Plague Current Digital Sheetfed Presses

On the flip side, however, digital’s media format support, limited to B2/B3 (29 in./20 in.), has been an ongoing source of frustration. Providers have long been asking for B1 (41 in.) format support on digital presses. Most offset presses can also use nearly double the printable area on a standard sheet – and full coverage – representing a considerable advantage in productivity versus digital.

Similarly, many current digital presses support a limited range of substrate types – all of which are more expensive than most offset substrates. Inkjet printing, which involves a direct to media ink application, requires that the media be pretreated with a special coating to assure sufficient ink-to-substrate adherence.

Landa Nanographic Printing® Press: A Better Sheetfed Printing Solution

Unlike inkjet technology, Landa Nanographic Printing® Presses support B1 format substrates. They also print on all the same substrates as offset, i.e., lower-cost, off-the-shelf media, and use advanced print technology that requires no substrate pretreatment.

The Landa S10 press ejects ink onto a heated blanket, as opposed to inkjet’s direct-to-paper inking process. The S10 press then transfers ink to the substrate. The process also involves instant drying for the media, and produces none of paper cockling common to inkjet output. In fact, output from the S10 press is ready for finishing right away – much of it done inline – saving valuable production time.

Offset Sheetfed and Digital Sheetfed Presses: Side-by-Side

In shops that currently operate both offset and digital presses, the devices normally reside in separate areas and environments. Inkjet and other digital presses need controlled environments and specially trained press operators.

The Landa S10 press requires no special operating environment – or operators. On production floors, it can be placed side-by-side with offset presses and be loaded with the exact same media.

The Landa S10 press represents the first device with Landa Nanographic Printing® technology – it’s an entirely new category in production printing. It brings with it a new age of higher productivity and profitability in sheetfed digital printing.

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