Printing Equipment, Production of

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Printing Equipment, Production of


a branch of machine building that produces equipment for the printing industry. The invention of the printing machine in 1811 and the introduction of various metalworking machine tools made such an industry possible. The first plant for the production of printing machines was founded by F. Koenig and A. Bauer in 1817 at the Oberzell monastery near Würzburg, Germany. The plant was expanded to form the Schnellpressenfabrik Koenig und Bauer. Major 19th-century machine-building firms for the printing industry included the Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nuremberg (founded in 1845), Schnellpressenfabrik Heidelberg (1850), and the Faber and Schleicher Plant (1871) in Germany; the Marinoni Plant (1847) in France; the Plant Nebiolo (1852) in Italy; and the Hoe (1805), Goss (1885), and Miehle (1890) plants in the United States. In prerevolutionary Russia the industry did not exist, and printing machines were mostly imported.

The USSR. In July 1931 the Rybinsk Metalist Plant (now the Rybinsk Printing Machinery Plant) produced the first Soviet printing machine—the Pioner. In 1932 the M. Gel’ts Plant (now the Leningrad Printing Machinery Plant) produced the first lightweight rotary press and the first series of Soviet Linotypes. The first heavy-duty newspaper rotary press, the Komsomolets, was manufactured by the Rybinsk plant on Nov. 7, 1932. In 1932, the Moscow Communist Party of Germany Plant initiated production of platen presses. Subsequently, plants in Kharkov, Kiev, Rostov, Eisk, Sysert’, and Romny produced printing equipment. In 1938 the Chief Administration for the Production of Printing Machinery (Glavpoligrafmash) was organized by the People’s Commissariat for Machine Building of the USSR. In the prewar years, the Soviet Union had the capability to produce 80 types of printing machines. Five hundred and seventy-two Pioner machines, 180 two-revolution flatbed presses, and 1,317 Linotype machines had been manufactured. Of major importance was the production in 1938 by the Rybinsk plant of a multiroller newspaper press for the newspaper Izvestiia; the press was able to produce up to 400,000 four-page newspapers per hour.

During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, a number of plants producing printing machines were destroyed in cities that were temporarily occupied by the fascist Germans. In 1943 the production of printing equipment resumed. In the next year the Moscow Experimental Printing Machinery Plant began to manufacture Linotype matrices. Soon after the war, the production of printing machinery reached its prewar level. New types of machines were produced, including the Linotype machines N-4 and N-5, the Monotype system MK-MO, the book forming-and-pressing machine BO-2, the semiautomatic casing-in machine V-2, the sewing machine NSh-2, the single-color two-revolution machine DPI-DPP, and the two-color machine DDS. The Rybinsk plant organized the series production of 20R newspaper rotaries and GA multiroller newspaper presses.

Between 1950 and 1969 the output of printing equipment increased more than ninefold, and the assortment, more than threefold. More than 130 new models have been introduced. In 1972, more than 2,000 typesetting machines and 2,400 printing presses were manufactured. Among the typesetting machines are the four-magazine, Linotype semiautomatic N-140 and N-240, the eight-magazine semiautomatic N-144 and N-244, the Linotype automatic NA-140 and NA-240, the small-scale Linotype N-121 and N-124, and the phototypesetters 2NFA.

In 1974, more than 200 types of printing machines were produced in the USSR. Twenty-five models of typesetters and supplies for them were serially produced. The series production of a new system of phototypesetting equipment is currently being organized. The system includes automatic machines for correction and computers for justifying lines. The production of highspeed phototypesetters with cathode-ray tubes is also under way. Various models of automatic electronic engraving machines are being manufactured. Photoreproduction equipment includes the RGD-70 horizontal two-room photo-reproduction apparatus and the RVD-40 vertical reproducing apparatus. The FTE-50N machine is designed for single-process emulsion etching in relief printing. For the production of stereotypes, various automatic and semiautomatic casters and machine tools for finishing stereotypes are manufactured.

Central and republic newspaper print shops are equipped with GAU rotary presses, oblast and city newspaper printshops have PVG-84–2 and PVG-84–4 web-fed presses, and raion printshops use PVG-60 presses. The printing of mass-circulation newspapers and magazines is done on PRK and PVK web-fed presses. A number of sheet-fed single-color and multicolor presses for relief (PVL) and offset (POL) printing are produced, as are various models of platen and flatbed presses. Binding machines include a number of sewing machines, such as the automatic NSh-6, the semiautomatic NSh-6–1, and the simplified automatic NSh-6–2. The automatic KDSh and BTsA-6 are designed to make board covers. An automatic continuous-operation line has been introduced for the collation of books. It includes the BZR and 2BTG book forming-and-pressing machines and the V-3 casing-in machine. Special equipment for printing on packaging material is produced.

As a result of the development of Soviet machine-building, the importation of printing equipment is continually declining. In 1974 more than 80 percent of the equipment in printshops was domestically made. Soviet printing machines are in great demand aboard and are supplied to more than 60 countries.

The enterprises producing printing machinery in the USSR are specialized. The Leningrad plant produces typesetting machines, and the Rybinsk plant manufactures stereotype equipment and rotary presses for relief and offset presses. A plant in Eisk specializes in the production of flatbed presses. The Odessa plant manufactures plate-making equipment, and the Shadrinsk plant produces platen presses and various auxiliary printing equipment. The Kiev and Kharkov plants specialize in bookbinding equipment, and the Romny and Khodorov plants produce paper-cutting machines. The industry has its own experimental enterprise—the Moscow Experimental Printing-machinery Plant.

Research for the production of printing machines is conducted by the All-Union Research Institute of Equipment for Printed Publications and for Cardboard and Paper Packaging Material in Moscow. The development of new machines is carried out by the Rybinsk Special Design Bureau (printing presses), the Odessa Special Design Bureau (plate-making equipment), the Kharkov Special Design Bureau (book-binding equipment), the Eisk Special Design Bureau (flatbed presses), and the Romny Special Design Bureau (paper-cutting machines). A branch of the institute in Kiev is involved in the design of sewing machines, and the Special Design Bureau at the Leningrad plant is concerned primarily with typesetting machines.

Other socialist countries. In the German Democratic Republic (GDR), printing machines are manufactured by the people’s combine Poligraf, which comprises 12 enterprises. The Plamag Plant in Plauen manufactures roller presses for relief, offset, and intaglio printing. The Planeta Plant in the city of Radebeul specializes in sheet-fed offset presses. The Buchbindereimas-chinenwerke plant in Leipzig produces about 25 models of bookbinding equipment. In Czechoslovakia, lightweight offset presses, platen presses, flatbed presses, and paper-cutting machines are manufactured. Exercising the principle of socialist integration, enterprises in the USSR, the GDR, and Czechoslovakia, within the framework of scientific and technological cooperation, are jointly developing new types of printing equipment.

Capitalist countries. The largest manufacturer of printing equipment in the capitalist world is the United States, where more than 500 enterprises specialize in the production of printing machinery. The largest monopolies are the MGD Graphic Systems Group (printing and book-binding machines), the Harris Corporation (typesetting, printing, and book-binding equipment), Eltra Corporation (previously the Mergenthaler Linotype Company; typesetting and offset machines), and the American Type Founders Company, Inc. (phototypesetting and offset presses). About 30 percent of the printing equipment produced in the United States is exported. In the Federal Republic of Germany more than 200 firms manufacture printing equipment. The largest firms are the Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nuremberg (printing presses and supplies), Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (printing presses), Koenig and Bauer AG (printing presses), and Hell (phototypesetting and electronic engraving machines, color separators). More than 80 percent of the printing machinery is exported. In Great Britain all the principal types of printing equipment are produced. About 150 enterprises are specialized. Most of the firms (Linotype and Machinery, Inter-type Ltd., Monotype Ltd.) are subsidiaries of American monopolies. The production of printing machinery is also well-developed in Japan, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Sweden.

Research printing institutes in foreign countries usually combine research in printing technology with research in machine building. Such institutes include the Research Institute of the Printing and Packaging Industry Research Association (PIRA; previously PATRA) near London, the Institute of Printing Technology in Amsterdam, the research society FOGRA in Munich, and the Academic and Research Institute of Printing Machinery and Methods in Darmstadt. In the United States research is carried out at universities, institutes, and major firms. Research organizations belong to the International Association of Research Institutes of the Printing Industry.

Exhibitions. New models of equipment for the printing industry are shown at periodic international exhibitions. The approximately 400 firms participating at the Inpoligrafmash-69 exhibition in Moscow exhibited 1,700 models of printing machines. More than 100 firms, from 15 countries, participated in the Elektronpoligrafmash-73 exhibition in Moscow. The best-known foreign exhibitions of printing machinery are BUGRA (Leipzig, held annually), DRUPA (Düsseldorf, once every five years), IPEX (London, once every eight years), and GEC (Milan, once every ten years).


Smirnov, G.P. “Sovetskoe poligraficheskoe mashinostroenie.” In Poligrafiia, 1964, no. 3.
Nemirovskii, E. L. “Sozdanie sovetskogo poligraficheskogo mashinostroeniia.” In Poligrafiia, 1967, no. 3.
Boglaev, L. I. “Perspektivy otechestvennogo poligraficheskogo mashinostroeniia.” In Poligrafiia, 1973, no. 10.
Sovremennaia poligraficheskaia tekhnika (collection of reports at Inpoligrafmash-69). Moscow, 1970.
Chvanov, R. A. Sovremennoe sostoianie poligraficheskogo mashinostroeniia za rubezhom. Moscow, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Full browser ?