The machine was supplied by Exel Printing Machinery and joins an XL75-5 and two Versafire CP digital presses. It will be linked to the Heidelberg Prinect workflow, says operations director Richard Bond.
“We needed to replace the Roland because it was costing us too much to maintain. The new machine is a much more efficient press through speed of running and makeready,” he says. “There’s so much value in the secondhand market. You can find a presses that only have a couple of years of impressions on them with a price tag much lower than buying new. There are low mileage presses out there that are a lot more viable than buying new.”
The press came from Germany where it had been used to print high quality art books for galleries and museums. Consequently the print count was much lower than on a machine of equivalent age and the machine had been extremely well maintained.
Optichrome will also be printing books among its normal commercial print jobs. It is capable of 18,000sph, says Optichrome, much higher than the machine being replaced. This will create additional capacity which will allow the Woking business to take on new work and customers in “many new market sectors”.
The press will make ready faster with less waste, fitting in with the Optichrome environmental ethos. This has led separately to the establishment of the Paper Straw Group with the aim of eliminating the use of plastic straws from the pubs, bars and restaurants of Surrey.
And buying Heidelberg makes a lot more sense for a company that at one time was one of the biggest UK customers for MAN Roland. “We have been running B1 Rolands for a long, long time but we have only two minders that could run the Roland. Now all our minders can run the new press so we can have much better use of our skill set than when three minders could not run the B1 press,” Bond adds.
Exel has moved the Roland on to China.
By Gareth Ward