The postponement of Drupa this year has robbed Morgana of the chance to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the launch of the original Morgana AutoCreaser.
As much as the Indigo E1000, Kodak's Nexpress and Xerox iGen or Docucolor, the AutoCreaser is an icon of digital printing. Before the AutoCreaser, companies had to either suffer cracking on their papers, limit their choice to a few grades that suffered less badly or wait several days, perhaps, for the paper to settle. Which ran counter to the print on demand ethos of digital printing.
The problem had been that high temperatures were needed to fuse toner to the paper and high temperature simultaneously creates static and drives moisture from the paper. At least one printer tried to address the issue by storing finished sheets in a plastic bag to contain the humidity. Morgana has since shipped thousands of these machines, an embodiment of a simple idea that nobody had thought of.
Morgana has since become part of Plockmatic and continues to make the AutoCreaser, making improvements every three or four years. This year at Drupa it had intended to introduce the latest model: the AutoCreaser Pro XL.
Ray Hillhouse, VP sales and marketing for Plockmatic’s offline business unit, says: “The original AutoCreaser released back in 2000 put Morgana at the vanguard of digital finishing. This latest Pro XL model demonstrates that we continue to listen to what the market needs.
“There has now been close to 10,000 units of all versions of this market leading family of creasers sold since the original in the year 2000. With this new addition we can show that the ever reliable creaser simply gets more versatile, easier to use, and above all more productive.”
Morgana’s unique creasing system remains in place, but around it much has changed from the simplicity of the first machine. The latest machine is intended for high productivity, running up to 8,500 A4 sheets an hour. The maximum sheet size is now 385x1,300mm (using a table extension) to tie in with the latest generation of digital presses able to print banner length sheets.
A new feeder both copes with these formats and with a wider range of substrates than before. An Adaptive Process Control system monitors how sheets are feeding and makes adjustments to ensure that the paper is free and ready to flow into the machine without dragging. Moreover, says Morgana, this is simple enough to operate for those with fewer skills.
Set up and all operations run through a touch panel interface. This has standard paper sizes preloaded. Others can be tapped in. Likewise, the fold type is selected by tapping the icon and the control system, which calculates how the creases need to be set and adjust accordingly. An onboard memory can recall stored jobs, all aiming to minimise mistakes and shorten turnaround times for the shortest jobs.
The machine will also perforate with a choice of wheels for different perforating styles along the sheet. Cross perforation is an optional extra for more complex jobs.
As with earlier models, the AutoCreaser Pro XL can link to Morgana’s AutoFold Pro, which like the creaser is designed to suit papers used for digital print.
And digital print remains the focus for the Milton Keynes business. While the AutoCreaser was the break through product for the company, other digital print specific machinery has followed, including folders, booklet makers and perfect binders.
The latest to join the portfolio are two cutting tables produced by Valiant in Italy. One is a handfed model, the Optima V50 which has a single cutting head and is suitable for producing prototype boxes and the like, or in very small batches.
The head can accommodate a creasing tool, tangential cutting knife and comes with a camera to identify crop marks for positioning as well. An optional oscillating cutting tool will tackle substrates to 20mm thick. Maximum sheet size on the table is 550x800mm, enough for two A3s.
The Omnia is a more powerful beast with automatic feeding system able to run unattended, provided no errors are spotted during the run.
The oversized feeder can cope with thicker materials, up to 500x800mm from a feeder stack that can hold 500 sheets of 300gsm card. A camera is used to identify and position the cutting head, while an optional QR code reader can call up settings from the production network.
The Valianis may never sell as well as the AutoCreaser, but are the perfect tools as digital print moves into more and more requirements.