Response to the new Roland 700 evolution press has been strongly positive says Martin Hawley, managing director of Manroland Sheetfed GB. Its development and introduction will also dispel any lingering doubts about the intentions of Langley Holdings, the British engineering group that bought the press manufacturer from administration more than two years ago.
The new machine was the star of a two day open house in Offenbach earlier this month, attracting printers from around the world. Outwardly the press features a new curved side panels, and touch screen operation. This present all the controls needed by the operator in a more user friendly graphical interface as well as allowing him to switch between lefthand and righthand operation. The height can be adjusted to suit as well, with a further touch panel located at the feeder.
The feeder pile transport has been redesigned to deliver smoother movement and reduce the chances of a misfeed and the need to adjust the feeder. Suction heads are fixed, reducing vibration and wear and creating a very stable feeder says Hawley.
Vibrations have been reduced from inking rollers to cut the risk of streaking while a new coater design helps administer a smoother coating through a chambered doctor blade.
Perhaps the biggest change comes with the introduction of a new cylinder roller bearing design, with separate bearings for axial and radial rotation, so improving absorption of vibrations and longer life to the bearings. Three phase AC motors will reduce the energy consumption to power output ratio and eliminate parts that need replacement.
“The first implementation of the touch screen was shown at Drupa,” says Hawley, “and feedback from users has been incorporated in what was launched this month.”
The 700 evolution replaces the 700HS and Direct Drive models. It has been in operation at Austrian printer Samson Druck which was one of the first to install the original Roland 700. The 700 evolution cannot be as revolutionary as that press, which introduced the concept of transferters to move paper from one print cylinder to the next and paved the way for full electronic control of a printing press.
However, it does demonstrate that r&d continues at the company despite fears that under its new owner, the commitment to develop new technology would cease. Hawley comments: “Langley bought the business as an investment three years ago. Without that involvement, the business would not be here and he has continued to put money into r&d because a couple of years later here is a new machine. And that he has never sold a company in 20 years is an indication that he is in it for the long term.”
The announced acquisition of Druck Chemie by Langley Holding, which needs to be passed by competition authorities in Germany, will be complementary to the equipment business says Hawley. “That will go a long way to answering any concerns about the commitment to printing,” he says. More importantly is the response from customers to seeing and hearing about the new machine. He adds: “The reception from UK customers has been really really good. There has been a lot of interest from people who were not able to make the event. It has created the spark we need.”
The Roland 700 evolution was introduced at a two-day event at the Offenbach factory attended by customers from across the globe, including a contingent from the UK. The enhancements put the press on a par in terms of automation, though not necessarily the speed, of rival machines.