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Preparing for a New Press

Four managers who purchased offset presses in the recent years relate how they evaluated equipment, what they learned from the buying process and whether their press is working out as planned.

April 2013 By Bob Neubauer
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How did you evaluate presses? 

Gordon Ryan: We selected three presses to evaluate. We then visited multiple printers with each vendor. This was a critical part of the evaluation process. Asking questions and getting feedback from press operators actually running the equipment is crucial. I found the operators to be honest of both the positives and negatives of not only the press itself but the support from the manufacturer. Gaining information on how the press performed a year or two after installation and overall maintenance requirements was important.

Stephen Amitrano: Most importantly, I wanted a press that specifically fit the needs of our shop, knowing that it would perform cohesively with our current workflow and expanded future workflow. I looked for a press with a relatively small footprint, and a sheet size that was different from our other two presses, but still sensible for today’s common finished sizes and run lengths. I also needed a press with the latest technology to achieve quick makereadies with little waste. Standard and optional equipment included semiautomatic plate changers, automatic cleaning devices for ink rollers and blankets, and an upgraded console with ink volume setting software, which dramatically reduces labor involved in adjusting ink fountain keys prior to printing. I visited other printers and even flew out to see a press demo at the xpedx Technology Center in Loveland, Ohio.

Terri Bischoff: We mainly researched online, talked to equipment reps, and visited another printer that had a Presstek 34DI. We also researched another university that had a similar operation to ours and had installed the same press to get an inside perspective. I had previous experience working at a commercial printer that had a Heidelberg DI press and liked the digital/offset hybrid technology. We liked the direct-to-plate imaging technology, waterless inks, registration quality and small physical footprint of the 52DI. We also have other Presstek equipment in our print shop and were familiar with Presstek’s quality and service.

Jon Bedsted: We had our hearts and minds set on a particular German press. (My employer doesn’t allow me to mention brand names.) We did visit one of our commercial printing vendors to see the same machine in action. It was very helpful for our press operator to talk to their operator. Prior to this, most of our research was on the Internet. To help us decide, two important factors were versatility of the machine and availability of service technicians.

 
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