Who has or has run a DI press

AP90

Well-known member
So we are an all digital shop, and we have acquired a new facility with a lot more space. One thing we have looked into was adding offset to our shop. But, a big 4 color 29" press with all the required additional equipment just seems like a huge undertaking that we don't even know if it will pay off. I look more and more at DI presses and just wanted to hear from the people who have used them what jobs they ran on them? We think it would be a great starting point as it will work with our current equipment as far as cutters and booklet makers. But, are booklets even feasible on it? I understand they aren't the most efficient as far as make ready and speed over new larger 4 color presses, but are they still moneymakers?
 

alibryan

Well-known member
I’ve operated DI presses before, although somewhat briefly. Both were 13x18 format, I think. One was a Ryobi, and one was a Heidelberg. They both had profiling software that would bring them up to color quickly, so make-ready was a breeze. And both printed 4/color jobs really well, actually.

One thing to keep in mind is that these machines can be pretty finicky, and maintaining them correctly (like all printing equipment) is very important in ensuring press performance. Even moreso than a traditional offset press. You can’t just turn them on and run forever.
 

realaqu

Active member
I’ve operated DI presses before, although somewhat briefly. Both were 13x18 format, I think. One was a Ryobi, and one was a Heidelberg. They both had profiling software that would bring them up to color quickly, so make-ready was a breeze. And both printed 4/color jobs really well, actually.

One thing to keep in mind is that these machines can be pretty finicky, and maintaining them correctly (like all printing equipment) is very important in ensuring press performance. Even moreso than a traditional offset press. You can’t just turn them on and run forever.
Both Ryobi and heidelberg are oem for presstek, right? not a good option if you only have one plate supplier.
 

alibryan

Well-known member
Both Ryobi and heidelberg are oem for presstek, right? not a good option if you only have one plate supplier.
I’m not really sure about any of that. I only know that there was a time when DI presses had their place in the pressroom, and did a good job at what they were designed for. As an operator (and going back to that time), I would recommend one.
 

AP90

Well-known member
I’m not really sure about any of that. I only know that there was a time when DI presses had their place in the pressroom, and did a good job at what they were designed for. As an operator (and going back to that time), I would recommend one.
What exactly are these designed for then? My guess wouldn't be magazines/booklets or anything like that?
 

Magnus59

Well-known member
We had a Ryobi (Presstek) DI press for a while, we had to build a special airconditioned room within the factory for it, we had to use Presstek plate material (expensive) and Presstek inks (also expensive)
The machine poduced good work, but was not cost effective, we later replaced it with a conventional A3 offset press, we already had 3 other B2 offset presses. This was later replaced with an Indigo
My opinion is that you are better off sticking with digital or installing a conventional offset press, you can always outsource your platemaking until you have sufficient volume to add your own CTP
 

SlaveToTheMan

Well-known member
We literally just had one taken off site - for scrap. It was a (used) Presstek and although I can't speak to how it was run/maintained before our shop, our ops were very good and still struggled to get more than a few jobs off in a shift. At the end it was really only good for 4c envelopes and even then, they couldn't have been worth the cost of plates, man hours and spoilage.

The plates are expensive, and proprietary afik, inks are special and better be sure there's a good service person locally too. If you're primarily looking at book work, why not an iGen, XC1000 or another digital press?
 

AP90

Well-known member
We literally just had one taken off site - for scrap. It was a (used) Presstek and although I can't speak to how it was run/maintained before our shop, our ops were very good and still struggled to get more than a few jobs off in a shift. At the end it was really only good for 4c envelopes and even then, they couldn't have been worth the cost of plates, man hours and spoilage.

The plates are expensive, and proprietary afik, inks are special and better be sure there's a good service person locally too. If you're primarily looking at book work, why not an iGen, XC1000 or another digital press?
We used to have a 1000i and swapped it out for a 3100 because of the increased in line booklet capabilities. And the 1000i was starting to show its usage with more and more expensive breakdowns. I think Xerox was pretty happy to remove it from service.

We do great on book work with the 3100, we just can’t be competitive in book work at 2000 or higher quantities really. We are going to be going harder at short run perfect bound jobs starting at the beginning of the year but still don’t have a way to compete harder on saddle stitched stuff.
 

SlaveToTheMan

Well-known member
That's a tough position to be in, I just don't think the switchover time that was what they developed the DI presses for is up to par any more with real world expectations. Maybe a well-inspected 4up conventional press is the way to go. It's a lot of up front investment for sure but we do a ton of smaller run jobs on a 28" Komori, with good press ops and a platemaker that can keep up, you can really move some work.
 

Stickman42

Well-known member
We're all digital too now, having dropped small offset completely about 15 years ago. During that time, there have been several occasions where we thought potential work would be best served by us bringing offset back in. We found a workable solution using several relatively local trade offset shops for those jobs that exceed what our equipment is suited for. I do not regret the decision.

Prior to this we did outsource some work to a small shop that had a DI. The work was mostly 1 sided book covers and it worked out well. I can't imagine the effort involved in running book/booklet work on a small non-perfecting press once you get past a low page count.
 

alibryan

Well-known member
What exactly are these designed for then? My guess wouldn't be magazines/booklets or anything like that?
They were used (and maybe designed) as an all-in-one offset printing press. On press imaging, waterless printing with 300 lpi screens, and semi-closed loop color control. The run lengths were good for as long as the plates would hold out - probably in the tens of thousands.

With little to no support these days, I can’t really speak to their practical application value. That’s probably up to the individual shop, and its’ particular needs. But I can say that they were good at what they did, when they did it.
 

smalloffsetpressexperts

Well-known member
I so remember the DI birth and death of AB Dick Co. thanks to Presstek and Ryobi. Stick to true offset machines. Even if you buy a DI used make sure all software and firmware is up to date, bios batteries fresh etc. I agree with Magnus59, My opinion is that you are better off sticking with digital or installing a conventional offset press, you can always outsource your platemaking until you have sufficient volume to add your own CTP
 

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