Acorn Web has unpacked the first crates containing a 32pp Manroland Lithoman at its Normanton factory. This will replace a 20-year-old 16pp Rotoman at the factory and will sit on a specially prepared concrete base that managing director Mark Roberts described as like a swimming pool before being filled with steelwork and concrete.
The four-unit press will be up and running in May providing additional capacity but more importantly making the company more efficient in coping with shorter print runs. “it will reduce waste and time at makeready and will improve our energy consumption as well,” says Roberts. “We have been operating at close to full capacity and a number of customers would like to do more work with us. But it is about greater efficiency and a bit more of what we do currently.”
The gain in efficiency comes through technology improvements since the two Rotomans the company operates were built. These use drive shafts; the new press uses electronically controlled motors saving energy and providing the platform for auto stop technology, to strip down rollers as the numbers needed are reached with inking set for the next set of plates preloaded. Plates are loaded automatically, colour and register are monitored and controlled automatically making adjustments every four sections, smoothing out any changes.
There is also technology to compensate for the disruption cause as a splice or a mill join passes through the press, no longer resulting in waste sections as the machine is bounced out of balance.
The press can deliver both 32pp and 16pp sections and will print collect if required. It will be aimed at A4 and A5 products and meeting turnaround times set by magazine and catalogue publishers. It will meet demand from existing customers, says sales director Matt Carry, who partnered Roberts in a management buyout from Garnett Dickinson in 2013.
“Our customers love what we do and the way that we do it, but for some, it has been a frustrating couple of years because we just haven’t had the capacity to take on some of their additional work. We have had to say no to contracts on offer and remain disciplined because we pride ourselves on not letting people down.
“Going forward, we will have much more capacity and already have some great opportunities lined up. The growth potential is exciting, but we are equally excited by the technology and efficiencies this press brings.”
“Simply we are working at full capacity and customers would like us to do more work for them,” says Roberts.
The installation is the culmination of a more than two year long project to decide on the best press for the company, suitable for the next 20 years according to Manroland Goss deputy vice president sales Dietmar Dotterweich.
“We are proud of the futureproof concept we have developed together with our long term partner Acorn Web. We are looking forward to supporting this extraordinary printer for another 20 years at least,” he says.
And while Acorn has been a long time Manroland Web customer, it had a deep look at alternatives, both in terms of manufacturers and configurations, before placing the order. It will run to a MegTec dryer.
Both Rotomans will remain in operation until the new press is signed off. One will then be sold, though there is currently no buyer.
At the end of last year Acorn extended its prepress operation to accommodate two new Agfa platesetters to produce the larger plates the press will use.
It will continue to use paper with the same reel width, helping the logistics of running different presses. “It eases material supply issues and increases our efficiency,” says Roberts.
That has been a key consideration as it fits with a need to keep magazine printing sustainable. The 37,500iph is not the fastest that the manufacturer can supply, but the focus has been on reducing waste and coping with faster changeovers.
Acorn Web has chosen a 32pp Manroland Goss Lithoman III as its new web offset press. The first crates have arrived in Yorkshire where a base has been prepared for the press. It will be commissioned in May according to the schedule.