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Komori G37

In a market that now requires short runs and quick turnaround, Brian Sims looks more closely at Komori’s G37 offset printing press to discover its plethora of inventive features

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The Komori G37 accommodates a wide range of printing needs

Komori thinks outside the box

We are living in a world that increasingly strives for standardisation. We have masses of legislation and directives that have been drawn up to ensure there are prescribed boundaries on a host of items so as a user or client, we know what we are getting. The printing industry has been following a path of standardisation for many, many years, before the ISO Organization was even a glint in the eye of its’ founding fathers.

A quick look in the Oxford Dictionary and you can see that the definition of the word standardise means to ‘cause (something) to confirm to a standard’. Quite straight forward really; the European printing and paper industry has stuck reasonably close to a rigid set of paper sizes, even those that when folded can provide a larger number of different formats.

However, there is a small and troublesome issue when your desired base unit of paper falls outside the commonly adopted standard. A small example from history is when, in 2001, Condé Nast wished to print Glamour magazine in the much smaller ‘handbag’ format. Due to the nature of the design of the presses widely used for this type of publication, the standard 625mm cut off did produce the folded section of the required size. Cooper Clegg at the time had a smaller American cut off of 578mm and due to this was able to produce the magazine at the desired size.

So why would you want to step outside of the standardisation comfort zone and what is there if you do? Well, this month we have decided to lift the covers on one of Komori’s new presses, the G37.

Outside the norm

Traditionally, presses distributed in Europe have their design basis in the B1/B2 paper size for bread and butter production. SRA2 and other larger sizes are found, but wander into most commercial sheetfed printers and you will find the aforementioned format.

So why did Komori choose to design a press with a format that sits outside of our well trusted standard? Basically, it is more about adaption than deliberate design, other geographical areas use different paper sizes, so with a very keen eye on waste reduction, the 37" format can be used for our A4 format of papers producing a product eight up, including space for a colour bar. If you are a worldwide player like Komori, its design team can cleverly accommodate different regional paper standards on presses previously designed for one specific market.

You might think it is a straightforward issue, just cut the press down from 40" to 37", but it is far more complex than that. Feeder furniture needs to have the scope to transport the sheets with full flexibility of movement, cylinders need to have correct repeat length, and importantly, gripper positions throughout the press need to be strategically placed so that the edge of more exotic paper widths fall under a full gripper tip and not on the merest of edge, or worst still, rub the side of one.

So, with these basic considerations taken care of in the factory, why do you buy a 37" press?

The fundamental reason is obvious, as the press is smaller than its B1 brothers and sisters. The narrower width means you can shave paper costs with the A4 eight-up format catering for large amounts of publication, report, and accounting work. The maximum sheet size is 640 x 940mm, giving a maximum print area of 620 x 930mm, which is why the A4 format works and also an A1 poster is also possible on this press.

Buying rubber by volume, as you inadvertently do in the form of blankets and rollers, with reduced width comes reduced volume, and hence reduced costs. Plates are much the same, aluminium is an expensive commodity, so if you can reduce the plate widths by approximately 10 percent, then plate costs drop too. Considering the press as a whole, we have said it is overall smaller in size than a B1 comparison, so naturally the cost is lower.

They say, ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch’, so where is the catch? Well basically there isn’t one, apart from you will need to consider the formats you wish to print. We use B1 presses for a reason, but providing you do not need the capacity for a larger sheet size, then the 37" format basically comes down to economy of scale.

No compromises

So much for the concept, what do you get for your money? As you would expect from one of the industry leviathans, there is absolutely no compromise on print quality. Looking around the press, it clearly comes from the thoroughbred stable known the world over as Lithrone. All Lithrone series presses are famous for the dot reproduction and the G37 is no exception. The only reason the price tag is lower is because of its reduced size.

Komori have not only focused on reducing the size, and hence cost, of ancillary or consumable items, they also have, as always, ensured that the running of a press like the G37 is as efficient as possible.

All Lithrone series presses are famous for the dot reproduction and the G37 is no exception

The G37 comes with a new evolved version of its makeready system KHS-AI (Advanced Interface). This system is the hub of why Komori quite rightly claim makeready sheets in almost single figures. Smart Sequence prepares the next job, even whilst the previous job is coming to an end. KHS-AI not only gathers all information from previous production, but also makes decisions on future runs based on the knowledge it has amassed.

KHS-AI is combined with PDC-SX, the most up to date closed loop colour control system and registration system. In a single measurement process, the key data from the first sheet is fed back into the press so it can simultaneously make adjustments or corrections.

The control panel, known as KID, displays any of the equipment deployed throughout the press

You would imagine controlling all these systems would require a degree in computer engineering, but that is not the case. New to the market is Komori’s control panel known as KID. KID can graphically display, on a large LCD screen, any of the equipment deployed throughout the press. Intuitive software seamlessly guides you from control to control, and if KHS-AI has done its job correctly, operator intervention should be minimal.

You would imagine controlling all these systems would require a degree in computer engineering, but that is not the case

Hitting the low makeready and quick turnaround button again, Komori obviously can supply the press with its H-UV drying system, which has now become synonymous with short-run print and dry production.

All of these waste reduction devices come wrapped in Komori’s Offset On Demand system, which bundles all of the gadgetry up to produce a press that will facilitate short runs and quick turnaround production, ensuring the investment you make in a G37 returns your faith in it.

Brian Sims, principal consultant, Metis Print Consultancy, www.metis-uk.eu

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