We finally have got through the series of pre-drupa events and announcement press releases. So we now know a lot of what will be seen at the event. The following is a summary of some key products that will be shown in a few market segments.
All the major manufacturers have given us an indication of what they will show. I list some of these below.
Heidelberg – The major announcement is of a new range of Speedmaster SX102 presses. This is hardly a surprise following the launch of the Speedmaster CX102 range at Ipex. This is taking the technology of the Speedmaster XL presses into the 102 cm platform. This provides a growth path for Speedmaster SM users with expected 30 per cent productivity improvements.
While Heidelberg has yet to make an announcement it is widely expected they will add a B2 format Speedmaster Anicolor press. Unless there are other announcements in such areas as color measurement and sheet inspection, or inline finishing, it would appear that there is not much more to come from Heidelberg in further offset press development
Komori – The major new press is the A1 format four-color 37 inch Lithrone A37 press, showing Komori’s first A1 format press. Another new press making its debut is the Enthrone 29P five-color convertible perfecting sheet fed press. Komori will also introduce a new packaging press the Lithrone GX40 Carton. Another new development is PQAS a print quality assessment technology that scans both sides of the sheet for print defects.
KBA – It appears that KBA will not be launching any new sheet fed presses, but will be showing major press enhancements. This will include fast make-ready and job changeover facilities from the B1 range of presses being incorporated into the large format presses.
Mitsubishi – Mitsubishi have not announced any new presses at this time and state they will emphasize their Diamond Eye-S system for on-press color and inspection control in one unit. They claim this is unique to Mitsubishi, however that may not be the case when drupa opens.
Digital Sheet Fed Presses
This will be one of the big trends at drupa. This was first seen at the last drupa as previews of the Fujifilm Jet Press 720 and the Screen Truepress JetSX. Both these presses are now ready for the market and are joined by a number of new B2 presses, however these are unlikely to be available for purchase. The highlight of all these is likely to be the HP Indigo 10000 that offers all the functionality and quality we are used to from HP Indigo. Another B2 sheet fed press is the Delphax Elan that uses the innovative Memjet print heads.
The French manufacturer MGI has just announced it will launch the Alphajet that like the Truepress JetSX has a print width of 52 cm. In a similar fashion to other MGI presses this will have a number of inline finishing capabilities. There is also speculation that Komori will preview a B2 inkjet press produced in association with partner Konica Minolta.
There are too many announcements in the continuous feed to summarise in this article and I will cover these in another article.
Other Items of Interest
One of the announcements I am really looking forward to seeing is the Xeikon Quantum press that will be previewed. There has been a lot of speculation about what this product will be. It is likely to be a liquid toner press if it is to achieve inkjet speeds and maintain electrophotographic quality.
I would speculate that this differs from the HP Indigo liquid toner approach in that it will be a multi-unit press unlike HP Indigo where its technology requires a single engine to lay down all colors and this limits HP Indigo’s press speed.
I am also interested to see what Riso will show us. If you remember back at drupa 2004 Riso introduced the first sheet fed inkjet press. This has developed since then and today the Comcolor range is used in a wide variety of markets.
Riso is saying they will have another surprise for drupa. What I wonder will this be? It could be another B2 press, but that really is not Riso’s market however Riso have stated they plan to bring cut-sheet inkjet into the production print area. Sounds like a B2 press to me!
Now if you have been reading my articles for some time you may recall I have not been positive about B2 digital presses before. I stated I saw few real applications for them particularly if they did not automatically duplex print therefore making them unsuitable for variable data.
I also felt that inline finishing systems on B3 digital presses did away with much of the need for larger sheet sizes. I found it difficult to find what was the ‘killer app’ for a B2 sheet fed digital press. Well now that B2 digital sheet fed presses are going to be one of the big trends at drupa am I going to change my opinion of these presses? Will I find the ‘killer app’?
I will wait and see, but I am pretty sure the B2 market and the B2 killer app will not come before my retirement from writing this feature in October this year.