Ideal auto feed press: Windmill or Kluge

I thought I was all set on adding a 13 x 18 Windmill to my shop. Now i am second guessing. We make A2 and A6 size greeting cards on a C&P 8x12 old style. It’s worked great for a couple of years but we a growing quickly and are ready for an auto feed press. All of our cards are pinted on 120lb or 130lb cover. We need to be able to get heavy, even coverage, tight registration and deep impression. We don’t really do custom jobs or make any other products. We want to be able to start printing multi-up and in larger runs.

What is the ideal press for our next move?

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Having made a living running both machines I think you will have better success with the Kluge. You might have to modify vacuum pump - bypass original and use a gast pump setup. Btw I think the Kluge being a true platen vs Heidelberg clamshell gives a better result. MHO.

I think the fact that Kluge’s come in a larger scale- 14x22- and have more form rollers (4 with riders on some models) makes them a formidable option for ganging.
I think the register is really in the hands of the operator on these presses though, and I don’t think there is a Gauge or Guide system that has the same adjustable tweaking options as a windmill though (or am I wrong about this?)

windmills run a little faster than your kluge, i have both and run them almost daily, some things run better on the kluge and some things run better on a windmill. he windmill has a gripper margin that you can’t get around, the kluge you set gauge pins and can print very close to the edge of the paper, Haven is right about tweaking the guides on the windmill but you can tweak the gauge pins on the kluge. also right about the better inking on the kluge. For that occasional job that just won’t feed you can disengage the feeder on the kluge and hand feed it, but its not like a c&p, the grippers won’t release the sheet till the last second, when i hand feed my kluge i remove the grippers or you have to slow the press down to a crawl. Myself, i like both and don’t think i could do without either. When i get busy i usually set the kluge up with a long run while i run smaller runs on the 2 windmills.

I dont know the kluge so my opinion isnt worth diddly squat but i do know the heidelberg was meant to replace hand fed machines running lots of short runs . It was sold in the same era as kluge and its selling point was the set up times ,quick register set up gadgets etc and the various attachment for silly shapes and outlandish materials for the feeder to feed whatever you had to.

I think the windmill is probably easier to clean and washup than the Kluge though, given that it usually has a washup blade and the inking is rotary rather than disc based….?

Somewhat related to this thread and especially the last comment, I started a thread a while ago comparing a Windmill to a 10x15 Craftsman. With no experience on any kind of autofeed letterpress, I was trying to determine the pros and cons of each. Impression strength. Inkink. Registration. Clean-up/Color change, etc.

though some of the thread takes a turn when people start thinking I’m asking about hand-fed presses.

Widmark …
if its a straight choice where would you put faith in impression strength i would opt for the windmill (GRRRR) if only for the existence of its shear collar which means you have a small option of a usable press after overload.

Hi All. Thanks for your thoughts. It seems like most of what I read about windmills is focused on the 10x15s and I’m thinking a 13x18 would be more helpful. We’re there just not as many big ones made or do they have some flaws that people try to steer clear of.

Also, adding the new press may force my hand into a new space. I’m trying to stay in my garage as long as possible and save rent. I have a sense of pricing of the presses themselves, but does anyone know ballpark figures for moving one of these 3000-5000 lb beasts?

Miehle Vertical

Alas, the Vertical does not favor running stiff board (coasters). However, for anything with a modicum of coverage, the four impression rollers (with two riders) and the cylinder design are sufficient (from what I’ve heard) to run full sheet solids, if you’re willing to skip feed the machine.

An ideal shop would have all three. The Kluge for stiff board, the Windmill for odd shapes or envelopes, and the Vertical for large sheets/large coverage/posters.

Mike, you are correct. The Verticle is not that good for heavy board. It will die cut …. but the pieces would have a tendency to pop out while going through the press. Lighter weight paper is OK, but not the heavy board. It will lay down a very heavy coverage of ink if desired. I still remember the first time I saw a Verticle. It was running a sheet close to max size of the press. It was printing the background of a paint can label…4 quart can labels. The Miehle was turning the White Coated Label stock a solid Lime Green. I remember the operator mixing a reducing oil in the ink fountain to thin the ink. It will lay down ink!!! These are great presses, more people should descover them…I lov’em! Carl.