• Overview
  • How it works
  • Benefits
  • Optional Modules
  • Resources

Fast, reliable control of ink key profiles is the key to profitability for the letterpress or litho printer today.  To be effective, an ink control system must meet three critical challenges:


  • Ease of use – Printers must get to color sooner, even as pressroom experience declines and presswork becomes more complex
  • Precise motorization – Today’s color standards assume that ink films can be set to exact levels, again and again
  • Robust mechanisms – Inking systems must operate dependably and repeatably, without frequent overhauls or downtime for repair

Mercury remote ink controls have repeatedly shown that they can meet all these challenges. On virtually every make of lithographic press – in publications; direct mail; newspapers; folding carton; metal decorating; security printing and every sort of commercial work – Mercury has demonstrated waste savings along with noticeable quality improvements in color consistency.


From the first make-ready on the first job, Mercury digital ink controls make any letterpress or litho machine perform more profitably.






Digital Servomotors
At the core of Mercury’s productive advantage is AVT’s proprietary digital actuator. With a dedicated microprocessor inside each motor, Mercury’s direct-drive DC motor employs a ‘lashless’ 200:1 harmonic-type gear design, and a digital shaft encoder. This sophisticated motor achieves a degree of accuracy not available from analog, potentiometer designs found on more limited, competitive systems.


Intuitive Operator Workstation
Every ink key control operation can now be done with quick taps on a full-color graphical touch-screen. Whether the printer needs a delicate, 1% change in a single key, or a coordinated re-setting of many keys on multiple units, simple touches on the Mercury screen make the adjustment.
The ‘touch and swipe’ operations have proven intuitive for new operators and easy to learn for experienced printers as well. So, Mercury’s time-saving functions quickly result in productivity gains regardless of the skill levels in the pressroom.


Sturdy Mechanical Construction
A stable, mechanically repeatable ink fountain assembly is the essential foundation for all reliable ink control. AVT’s engineering team has decades of experience evaluating the mechanical capabilities of hundreds of litho press designs.
AVT doesn’t merely add-on motors. Each Mercury installation includes the mechanical modifications – engineered for your specific press model — to realize the full potential of the Mercury servomotor.


Advanced Options Increase Savings
Mercury’s up-to-date Windows architecture supports a variety of optional modules. Touch-screen controls for ink ductors, fountain roll speed, dampening, are each available.
The SnapReg running register control system for litho webs can run from the same computers and same touch-screen workstations as Mercury automated inking.

  • Faster make-ready with less waste
    In thousands of installations, on presses of all kinds, Mercury consistently delivers reductions of 35% or more in both time and materials consumed during color make-readies, compared to manual or analog controls. Adding the optional CIP pre-setting connection increases savings even more for press halls with digital workflows.


  • Extensive job storage, Rapid recall
    Once good color is achieved, ink key profiles can be quickly stored in hard disk memory, with enough room for thousands of jobs. Mercury’s RAID disk technology provides added security for valuable job information: A duplicate copy of every job is automatically kept on a second disk and can be automatically accessed, should the primary disk’s copy be damaged.


  • Easy-to-learn, time-saving controls
    Operators say that the touch-screen graphics make ink control operations easy to perform. And the correct procedures, easy to remember. Every key’s individual status appears on screen, with just a few touches.  Or, just as quickly, summary views can show the status of multiple units, even whole towers on larger presses.


  • Stable color reduces running waste
    Savings aren’t limited to the make-ready stage. The ability to accurately move keys in exact 1% steps means that inking profiles can be fine-tuned during the run, as press conditions shift. As a result, ‘running waste’ due to color shifts will be reduced, typically by 10% or more, when printers use Mercury controls.


  • Engineered for repeatable response on your press
    Mercury automation offers more than motorization. AVT engineers have assessed the mechanical requirements of hundreds inking systems, on presses with widths ranging from 20 cm to 200 cm. If the legacy press design needs mechanical improvements to maximize the effectiveness of Mercury’s digital motors, the Mercury system will include a customized package of fountain assembly enhancements.


  • Remote support with a “live” Customer Care connection
    With an Internet connection, AVT’s Customer Care Center can support the Mercury system “live”. This high-speed link resolves questions, and speeds delivery of service and enhancements.

Running Register Control


SnapReg –controls color-to-color (“running”) register on new or existing lithographic web presses.  A robust, compact array camera monitors color registration. Able to register up to 8 colors per surface, using inconspicuous  “micromarks,” the SnapReg control can be added to any Mercury workstation.


Integrated Ink-Feed and Dampening Control


Extend Mercury’s fast, simple touch-screen control to handle adjustments to your press’s ink feed (“sweep” or “ductor”) and/or dampening rollers.  These optional controls also add these settings to the job information automatically stored to Mercury’s disk memory. AVT’s library of customized press control designs includes mechanical and electrical options that suit most presses, whether new or old.


CIP Pre-setting


CIP Interpreter – a digital analysis proposes recommended openings for the press’s ink keys by evaluating the PPF file, taken directly from the plate-setter’s RIP. This automated digital pre-setting tool has proven to be far more accurate than subjective estimates by the press operator – delivering measurable reduction in color make-ready.  Further, when Mercury is connected to an AVT CIP3 Interpreter, the Mercury workstation can display images of the plates being pre-set, taken directly from the imagesetter’s data.


Closed-Loop Color Connections


AVT’s closed-loop color algorithms can drive ink key settings on the Mercury, when it’s connected with AVT Clarios spectral color measuring system. The connection means that digital closed-loop can be added to any older letterpress or offset web press.  So, regardless of age, an existing web can be upgraded to take on the challenge of 21st-century, spectral print specifications.


Learn More
Learn More