Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Forecast for Iron: Mixing & Matching

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Forecast for Iron: Mixing & Matching

Article excerpt

Press makers remain positive, but will the next new medium leapfrog over their own developments in digital printing?

So little letterpress is left that vendors were bound to sell additions to competitors' offset presses. But judging from remarks at last month's Newspaper Association of America SuperConference, prerecession budgets made 2001 a very good year for most press makers.

The annual panel discussion included for the first time a representative from the single-wide-only business -- which, said Pamarco Technology Inc. CEO Richard Segal, wasn't hurt as much as the double-wide market in 2001, when his firm's Dauphin Graphic

Machines subsidiary had its best year yet.

And while Vince Lapinski also reported an all-time high for MAN Roland's North American business last year, the newspaper group vice president for the German maker of single- and double-wide presses conceded that his project list has been shrinking -- though currency-exchange rates do make some purchases "more attractive."

But at the same time that Wifag Press Co. Sales Vice President Joe Ondras could point to the Swiss company's five North American customers and promote the efficiency of flying plate changes, others looked to the add-on market.

Goss Graphic Systems Regional Sales Manager Andy Leszczynski cited customer investment in added page and color capacity, upgrades, and new controls. TKS (U.S.A.) Inc. National Sales Manager Mike Shafer said adding color towers to presses is easy to justify when it means no longer turning away ads. He predicted the industry will see more additions to existing offset plants than new presses for greenfield sites. From the web press division at KBA North America Inc., Sales and Customer Service Vice President Heinz Schmid said much the same was true for Europe, though some all-new press business persists in East Asia.

To varying degrees, press makers are bidding to add to and/or upgrade others' machines. Though putting KBA iron and controls into the Goss- equipped Austin (Texas) American-Statesman required substantial engineering, said Schmid, he thinks more such mixing and matching will be offered. KBA's project included upgrading inkers to press packs and adding controls and page planning.

Moderator Michael Sheehan, Dow Jones & Co. Inc. production vice president, sparked the topic by recalling that when his own company's 17-plant capacity- expansion project began, only Goss equipment went into its Goss- equipped plants and only TKS into TKS-equipped sites. …

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