The Sunday 5000 is the world’s first 96-page web press and is the latest milestone in the companys visionary effort to maximise productivity, reduce waste and transform web printing into an automated, high-tech industrial manufacturing process. It was driven by printers demanding a major leap forward in press technology to improve their competitive positions and the value of their printed products.

The press, with a web width of 2 860mm (112), incorporates more than two decades of Goss wide-web innovation and accumulated process knowledge.  Multiple systems in operation and the first repeat order for a second press prove the economic and competitive advantages of the 96-page format, the Goss innovations that enable it, and the ability of the company to support successful installations.

The company began discussing the concept of a 96-page press with forward-looking web printers in 2005 and then surprised the industry at large when it was the first supplier to announce plans to develop such a press in 2007. Some doubted the technical feasibility of such a wide offset press. Many questioned the business sense, given the impact of the economic recession and the expansion of alternative media in the ensuing years.  Overcapacity was a label commonly attached to the commercial web offset industry, and a higher-pagination format seemed counterintuitive.

Proactive printing companies recognise that the opposite is true: that offense, rather than defense, is necessary to confront economic and media challenges. They continue to focus on optimised capacity rather than overcapacity, and an increasing number realise that the 96-page platform represents a much needed path to more cost-effective and competitive print production.

Overall demand for traditional commercial web products may not return to pre-2007 levels, but the stabilisation of volumes, the rebound in some sectors and an expanded application range reflect the ongoing viability and strength of web offset printing. This volume will be concentrated among printers that invest in technology that allows them to take significant cost and waste out of the process, produce a wider variety of products, manage shorter run lengths, and take volume away from other processes such as sheetfed or gravure. The 96-page web press format addresses all of these opportunities.

The wide web width of the press allows up to 12 full-size magazine pages across the cylinder and four pages around the cylinder in long-grain orientation (for A4 products, this width allows as many as 13 pages across). The companys research was compiled by studying the job records of web printers worldwide from 2000 to 2010 and indicates that this is an optimal format for double-circumference production.

This research data has confirmed that press systems producing an even number of sections in 16-page increments (32- and 64-page presses, or duplexed 48-page presses) are the most compatible with page breaks required by publishers, advertisers and print buyers. Companies operating press systems in these formats maximise productivity by utilising the full web width for more than 80 percent of their jobs.

In contrast, printers operating 72- and 80-page presses run narrower webs far more frequently, sacrificing efficiency and productivity. The logic and research results are consistent for tabloid production, with an even number of eight-page sections being optimal.

The efficiency of the 2 860mm width carries over to the bindery, where the presses reduce finishing costs for high-pagination magazines and catalogues. These products are typically produced with sections of up to 48 magazine pages due to the barriers to folding larger sections with higher quality paper stocks in excess of 90 grams. Producing two 48-page sections simultaneously (or a single 48-page tabloid section) on the press utilises the full web-width and allows high-quality finished products to then be built in the bindery with the fewest possible number of sections and the fewest number of bindery stations.

Printers that have installed the latest press platform are realizing that the 96-page press presents another opportunity to bypass incremental improvements and achieve groundbreaking new standards for productivity and cost effectiveness. With three presses in full operation in three locations and one printer investing in its second system, the Goss 96-page option is proving to be the right approach to the demands of the market and the advantages of high-quality, wide-web production.