Fit & Registration Vs. Speed

I have a question pertaining to the production environment.
When using a Heidelberg for very tight registration/fit on a multi colored project. Does it require that you run the machine as slow as it will run to achieve perfect registration with the guides.
Does running speed affect the registration?
I am asking because I tell my customers that critical registration jobs take longer to produce due to the speed factor of the machine, well I always get the response back , “I need it right away, is there any way you can speed up the machine?”
Any Thoughts???

Log in to reply   13 replies so far

Just because your car has 120 on the speedometer doesn’t mean you can drive it 120 all the time. Factor in the road conditions and or press condition. You print at a speed to get the best results.

I may not be the best person to give you an answer as I only print for pleasure on my windmill and miehle but as a rule I will normally pull out printed sheet from the delivery and feed it back through while the machines are running to check the registration. If the lays have been set properly then there shouldn’t be a problem with registration. Perhaps you can do your own test when printing jobs by doing the same and vary the speed. Windmills register pretty reliably if set up properly. I started my letterpress days back in the sixties and use to print colour on 35” x 45” sheet sizes so a 10 x 15” sheet is a lot easier.

I’ve run my Windmill relatively fast when doing registration jobs and haven’t had issues. The only time I’ve had a problem is when running heavy stock and having it bounce, but I’ve found that’s not necessarily speed-related. A flying dutchman setup often fixes that. Otherwise, never had registration issues.

mainly I’ve had problems with bounce off the side guide, and also problems with stock whipping around and ‘missing’ the guides- but other than these two things, the top speed seems to hold consistent register as mid to low speed.
The flying dutchman as Jonsel suggested is a fix, I tend to make one out of material and doublestick it to the platen rather than actually cut it (so I can move it, if need be).

I’m running a medium age blackball. I actually think my machine is not as ‘tight’ as some of the red balls I’ve seen. Yet it seems to hold hairline register and I’m able to check by running things back through as frank suggested….

The Press is not your Problem , the Environment is, eg,

I had sheets curl because it start raining and of course fail the guides, if you can control your Environment , you can run as fast as you feel comfortable without Fail/

There’s customers that will be in a hurry no matter what. You need to educate them on a realistic due date to start with, or tell them to go to Kinko’s (nicely of course).
As we speak I am running a 2 color job on my windmill, tight register. 3200 iph day in and day out. I agree with the comments above- usually register problems are my fault on the setup.

I make the Dutchman with plastic like the top of a large coffee can and attach with glue tape they often last for about 200 jobs . also use the same plastic on guides instead of pins cheaper, safer and local

I’ve run tight registration on our Windmill but have noticed that when I have it cranked up that it will occasionally bounce or miss the guides. So I do tend to run it a bit slower, but it’s very accurate for the most part.

I should add that I usually use the Windmill for longer runs and I’ll have a larger percentage of overs for mis-feeds other problems.

Setup can also take a bit longer, but nothing significant.

Hey Mike- Do you stick the plastic to the guides or fashion a way to insert it into the holes?

I actually have been using the excess base from polymer plates with the flexo adhesive attached. So that’s how I’m attaching my approximation of the dutchman to the top sheet…..

just glue tape but any 2 sided should work. no need to use the holes

To HavenPress’s point, factor in the weight of the stock you’re printing on. If it’s very thick, heavy stock, it may miss your outer guide. You either need to rig something so the guide sticks up higher and catches the paper, or slow it down.

Thank you all for the information.
But, you know the old saying, “Slow and steady wins the race”
The attached pic shows the final job of 3 foils, well I started with the blue and was running faster than “dead slow” and thought I was good to keep going, well it turns out that the sheets were bouncing and as you can see we can’t have that, so after going back on press and starting over, it’s best to go slow and be sure of what you are doing.
Picture not real good, from phone, sorry.

image: IMAG0032.jpg


the speed is available, but it depends on “the job”. each is different. i have found that it is easy to reach the “point of diminishing returns” as you increase speed, there is a point to where you are eventually shutting down enough to where, you actually yield fewer sheets per hour, than if you just slow it down and run. running a bit slower, yet profitably, i find, is much more relaxing than Blazing Fast. much easier on the equipment. i set up and ran 10,000 embossed cards on a 13 x 19 Kluge. finished the job (setup time and run) in under 4 hours. i really don’t like to work like that