The ultimate printing machine

Manroland is giving packaging and commercial printers alike, more firepower with their latest incarnation of the legendary ROLAND 700, the new ROLAND 700 EVOLUTION Ultima®.

Luxury packaging and high-end commercial is a buoyant sector of the printing market. Largely unnaffected by the ravages that other sectors of the market have been subjected to, high-end packaging and commercial printers have protected their margins by adding more and more value to their print runs.

Manroland has recognised this and developed the Ultima® in response to the changing market demands printers are facing, whether it be higher quality requirements, increased complexity, shorter runs or reduced lead times.

Ultima® is aimed at handling all the various coating, printing and foiling processes on high-end packaging and commercial print runs in a single - and more profitable - pass

One-pass production, a buzzword for many high-end commercial and packaging printers, is the predominant theme of the Ultima®.

"If a printer can add as many processes as possible onto the sheet as it goes through the press, it's instantly more profitable than if they leave pallets of half-finished work, or have to put extra handling into a stack just to get it through the next process" says Dr Peter Conrady, Head of Global Sales at Manroland Sheetfed.

What exactly is an Ultima® press? At the heart of new Ultima® is the ROLAND 700 EVOLUTION – Manroland’s technically advanced next-generation 3B platform.

Manroland describes Ultima® as “a press with one or more inline coater or special finishing process”. Ultima® can be elegantly minimal - with simply an in-feed, coater and a delivery - or it can be highly complex with coating, printing, perfecting, foiling and final coating. Whichever configuration, OnePass® is the common factor.

Among the new developments incorporated in the Ultima® platform are a newly designed central console with touch-screen control, a new feeder pile transport that cuts down on waste, new suction belt sheet handling technology for a more even pile contour, all-new dampening units, bearings that significantly reduce vibration and, with sophisticated software for practice-oriented roller washing cycles, even less downtime.

The coaters are standard anilox-flexo-style doctor-bladed units, although now inverted – the negative chamber blade sits at the bottom of the unit, which allows gravity to feed the duct’s contents to give the blade a full dose of varnish or coating. Simple yet effective.

With the Ultima®, Manroland’s QuickChange® coating mechanism is standard. QuickChange® basically “does what it says on the tin”, says Conrady. “It allows users to swap one grade of coating or varnish for another in less than 10 minutes.”

The QuickChange® system couples with a similar QuickChange® wash system that flushes the entire coating unit automatically at the end of a shift, or other user-specifiable interval.

Another feature of the Ultima® is the drying units that follow each coater. These can be either conventional hot air, Infrared, UV or LED.

Manroland’s InlineFoiler can also be added into the Ultima® coating/printing agglomeration, giving even more scope for added-value sheets. The InlineFoiler occupies two print units, with the first putting down the printable adhesive required for the cold foil to bond to the sheet and the second unit laying down the foil directly onto the glued sheet via the blanket cylinder.

While the natural position for the InlineFoiler might be considered at the end of the print units, Conrady says it might also sit at the beginning, before the inks are laid down. “If the foiler sits on the first two print units, the foil can then be printed over to create any kind of coloured metallic finish” he points out. And with demand for metallic finishes only likely to increase, in line foiling makes “perfect sense.”

Two final ancillaries can also be added: the InlineInspector system and the InlineSorter. These devices work together to apply a set of user-definable criteria to “each and every sheet coming into the delivery” says Conrady and will reject any that don’t meet register, colour or other quality criteria.

The result of Manroland’s Ultima® development is even more enhanced productivity, print quality and lower production costs - something that Manroland aficionados will instantly recognise from this, the world’s most innovative press builder.

About Manroland Sheetfed

Manroland Sheetfed GmbH is a leading German producer of sheetfed offset litho printing presses. Founded in 1871, the company is one of the oldest producers of printing presses in the world. Today the company has its own subsidaries in over 40 countries and is a global watchword for supreme quality and reliability. Manroland Sheetfed GmbH is a wholly owned subsidary of the privately owned UK engineering group, Langley Holdings plc.