The world’s largest heatset commercial press from manroland web systems began operation on schedule at Kraft-Schlötels, part of the WKS Druckholding Group, in Wassenberg, Germany.
At drupa, May 2012, WKS Druckholding and manroland web systems set up a joint project to create the “world’s largest heatset commercial press”. Around 18 months later, on November 13, 2013, the idea has become reality: the two-web 80-page LITHOMAN with a total of web width of 4.5 meters is the equivalent of a 160-page press. The machine demonstrated its performance to customers, suppliers, media, and guests invited from the worlds of politics and business at Kraft-Schlötels in Wassenberg.
“For this project, we approached the press technology purely from the perspective of our customers. We intensively analyzed our customers’ needs regarding the flexibility of page numbers, formats, and product design, and tried to implement them as far as possible. As a result, a press was developed, which, on the one hand, consists of conventional press components that have never before combined in this way (two-web 80-page presses). On the other hand, we also devised our own conceptions on folding technology that have given rise to extensive new designs at press supplier companies. Our new LITHOMAN press design now reflects our technological concepts regarding flexible and economic production.” Dr. Ralph Dittmann, Manager of WKS, was obviously impressed by the 160-page LITHOMAN press at its official start of production.
The LITHOMAN will mainly be used to produce magazines, catalogues, and supplements. Veit Müller, Executive Sales Manager at manroland web systems, explains the significance of 160-pages in the production network: “The two LITHOMAN presses are operated together since they are equipped with one cutter module. This module was adapted to our customer WKS’s ideas and provides completely new production options. In addition, the newly designed folder superstructure with three formers allows operators to run over up to twelve paper ribbons. This combination results into a previously undreamt of productivity and product options. Buzzwords like continuous two-page increments, complete flexibility in register products, a combination of two paper types, up to 500,000 products per hour, and format variability have suddenly become reality.”
WKS is one of the leading web offset companies in Germany and consistently orients itself toward customer needs. As a leader in innovation, the printing house has once again relied on Augsburg press technology: “The LITHOMAN presses have absolutely proven themselves in daily operation when it comes to printing stability, quality, and, above all, productivity.”
Eckhard Hoerner-Marass, Managing Director of manroland web systems, emphasized the excellent cooperation with the immensely committed WKS specialists: “WKS had very clear ideas on production diversity and the resulting demands on the production process. Our colleagues from sales and design collaborated with WKS in a creative process to draft the press concept. The result: a unique LITHOMAN press with customized technology.”
WKS now produces at sites in Wassenberg and Essen with eight manroland web systems commercial web offset presses ranging from 32 to 80 pages. As part of the current investment, several older systems were decommissioned. The two-web 80-page LITHOMAN with a total of web width of 4.5 meters is the equivalent of a 160-page press. As a result, it sets the benchmark for maximum productivity, producing up to 50,000 revolutions per hour. This LITHOMAN is something truly extraordinary for everyone involved. It features ultimate automation: in addition to the fully-automatic AutomaticPlateLoading APL®, the ClosedLoop systems developed by manroland to control inline fanout, colour, and cut-off registers have also been integrated. These features optimize effective machine operation and reduce waste.
Combining the advantages of different commercial printing processes
In the past, web offset printing already offered a wide range of production options. With this extensive development step now completed, Eckhard Hoerner-Marass sees manroland web systems well prepared for the future: “manroland web systems now offers presses ranging from 16-pages to 160-pages for commercial web printing. We have already completely filled the fields of high quality, cost-effective and quick printing form production, as well as maximum flexibility and productivity with our web offset presses for small, medium, and large runs.
“Now, we have managed to perfectly supplement our range of offerings and provide our customers with tailored, highly efficient press concepts, even for demands such as extremely large print runs and format variability.”