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Direct drive to savings

Following a field test at a production site, the Roland 700 DirectDrive press is claimed to provide savings in both set-up and time

The test site for Roland’s 700 DirectDrive press, Drukkerij Vrijdag in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, prints approximately 200M cigar wrappers annually, a large number of which are intended for export. Most of this work is processed on the new Roland 700 DirectDrive. The Dutch print shop also produces millions of refined labels for luxury flip boxes, and luxury folding cartons for tobacco products and cosmetics every year.

Vrijdag combines printing and complex refinement. Their competence in stamping, embossing, bronzing, and offline varnishing is an important factor for maintaining their market position. Mathieu Siemons, operations manager at the Drukkerij Vrijdag, explains: “We do not supply half-finished products, but exquisite wrappers, fully refined luxury packaging and labels. This is our added value for customers.”

But the high output of “small” products does not necessarily mean large print runs, as Vrijdag’s customers have increasingly sophisticated needs. Extremely small runs of special labels using only 1,000 sheets are not rare at this print shop, although the range can go up to 15,000 sheets. With wrappers, which use 5,000 to 25,000 sheets, the situation is not much different. Vrijdag also produces various sizes of 10,000 to 150,000 sheets of wet adhesive labels, primarily for the Dutch beverage industry.

Two six colour Roland 700 systems with coating modules are the main production machines in the preferred 3B format. They process 70g/m2 printing material for labels and 90g/m2 or 100g/m2 paper for wrappers. The range also includes 550g/m2 carton board for flip boxes.

The DirectDrive field test press is one of these six colour systems. With the DirectDrive technology, plate change can be carried out simultaneously in all printing units and, parallel with other makeready steps. In this way, wash-up of the impression and blanket cylinders, or ink feed, can be realized at the same time with plate change.

Explaining the company’s investment decision Mathieu Siemons says: “After analyzing our orders, print runs, and offers from competitors, we were convinced that the DirectDrive machine was right for us”.

The field test was set out for one year with Vrijdag said to have benefited with almost 90 per cent machine availability, on an average over the test period.

“There were also never any great difficulties that would have prevented production of a job,” says Mathieu Siemons. “The replaced five colour press was supposed to remain on call for another year as a back-up. However, it was, only put into operation once during the first three months and then sold off.”

Over the year and half since the DirectDrive press was installed, it is believed that Vrijdag has achieved 25 per cent savings in set-up times compared with the older Roland 700 presses with an identical configuration.

“Depending on the order, these savings may be higher thanks to parallel plate change and washing, as well as an optimized workflow in the printnet network,” says MAN Roland. n

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