Featured on Howard Direct

Featured on Howard Direct



By: Nick Howard  |  October 3, 2011  |  Contact the Author
A great deal has been said by this writer about the ingenuity of the American press manufacturer. Especially for some of our US based customers who are in the midst of economic uncertainty, it may be of some solace to know the ingenuity of “Made in America” still has its fingerprints around the world.

Take for instance the Salomine Vacuum Conveyor System. When Man Roland first shipped their 700 series presses with vacuum feed boards and then subsequently patented and licensed this technology to KBA, few realized that Harris, through its partner Aurelia, had already built one back in the 60’s. The vacuum feed board is portrayed as a German invention that has spilled over to Komori, Mitsubishi, Heidelberg and others but, in fact, it was designed originally by Harris.

Perhaps few recall the early and rather crude “de-clutching of units”? As time has progressed, not many realize that the latest inker or plate cylinder de-clutch technology came about partly because Harris had developed a complete unit de-clutching design. The Harris system was to separate the actual drive train and using a separate motor. More than one make-ready could be accomplished at the same time. That was back in the 60’s, too. Today, with the de-clutchable plate cylinder in full vogue, one must remember the origins started in Cleveland, Ohio.

The off-press control console is pretty passé now, but in the early 70’s Harris built and designed the very first one that actually eclipsed even the second attempt by the Miller Machinery Co. (also American). This console, known as Telecolor”, displayed ink key profiles through a CRT screen and let the operator set his fountains for the first time away from the press. Yes - possibly crude back then - but Harris was the originator of what was to become a standard piece of press equipment.

Finally, worth mentioning was the Harris Electronic Stock Control feature. This was pretty revolutionary in its day back in the early 60’s. An ionizing bar created a charge on the stock as it transferred to the impression cylinder thereby “japping” the stock so that it stuck to the impression cylinder like glue. This prevented tail whip and pre-printing or smudging. To my recollection, this invention has never appeared again.

Hats off to the American ingenuity!

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