Rotary Press

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rotary press

[′rōd·ə·rē ′pres]
(graphic arts)
A press utilizing two cylinders, one of which supports the paper while the other one prints on it; large rotary presses are web-fed and accept continuous strips of paper from large rolls; this web of paper is not cut or trimmed until after it is printed.

Rotary Press


a printing press whose impression and printing surfaces are cylindrical. Rotary presses are subdivided into sheet-fed and web-fed presses. The primary types are classified as follows: (1) by the printing method (letterpress, piano-graphic, and gravure); (2) by the number of colors applied at one time (one-, two-, and four-color presses); and (3) by the number of sides of the page printed (single-side and double-side printers).

Web-fed rotary presses may have a constant or variable format. In constant-format web-fed rotary presses, the length of the sheets cut off from the web is invariable and equal to part or all of the circumference of the impression cylinder. In variable-format web-fed presses, which are used for printing special items, such as forms, tickets, and bank documents, the length of the printed sheet can be varied. Rotary presses are the primary equipment used for medium- and large-scale printing jobs.

Sheet-fed rotary presses operate at speeds up to 10,000–12,000 cycles per hour; speeds for web-fed machines may reach 30,000 cycles per hour.