Rhodes Receives First Two LITHOMAN-Insert Presses in North America
Press release from the issuing company
June 19, 2001 – Rhodes Printing Group, Charlestown, Indiana has taken delivery of the first two MAN Roland LITHOMAN-Insert presses ordered in North America. The first press was ordered prior to the DRUPA show and the second during the show. Both four-page-around presses are being installed at Rhodes’ Carrollton, Texas operation to provide wide web capability for that facility.
In addition to the Rhodes presses, MAN Roland has received orders for two other LITHOMAN presslines by North American insert printers.
The LITHOMAN-Insert press offers the same proven design, print quality and high speed capabilities as the commercial LITHOMAN, but in a press equipped to meet the needs of the specialized advertising insert market. It is designed in a popular insert cutoff (21 inches), with typical insert web width (66 inches), and prints at speeds up to 86,000 iph straight or 43,000 iph collect. The LITHOMAN-Insert features MAN Roland’s PECOM intelligent press control system and Rhodes’ presses will be equipped with closed loop color technology.
The presses will be used to print regional inserts and flyers for Rhodes’ large national accounts including discount and home center retail chains as well as for regional accounts served by the Texas facility.
The decision to add the new presses to the Carrollton plant was based on growth in business in that region and support from Rhodes’ customers.
“We are sold on the LITHOMAN-Insert and our plan to install two of these presses was very well received by our existing base of national account customers,” said Carl Rhodes, executive vice president of Rhodes Printing Group. “I believe this press will become the insert press of choice in our industry.”
As a company that prides itself on being an innovator, incorporating ‘leading edge’ equipment into its operations has become a common practice at Rhodes.
“Rhodes has become known in the insert industry for taking a leadership role with new technology when it is prudent and when it provides a benefit for our customers,” said Brian Hickman, national sales manager for Rhodes. “Because of our size, the direct involvement of the owners in the business, and fewer layers of management, it is easier for a manufacturer to come to our company with new products. In addition, many of our retail customers view Rhodes as having a reputation for quality and being the benchmark against which their other printers around the country are judged.
“This press is a natural extension of what we have been doing all along,” said Hickman. “It demonstrates our willingness to bring technology to the marketplace when it gives us a competitive advantage. In 1994, for example, we installed robots to stack products coming off our presses. In 1997 we brought wide format computer-to-plate technology to the insert industry at our Charlestown plant. Recently we installed what we believe is the first closed-loop color technology on a wide format press at our Rock Hill, South Carolina facility.
“With the LITHOMAN-Insert we will operate under tighter tolerances than have been traditional in the insert market and it will give us the opportunity to ratchet our quality level up even more,” said Hickman.
The decision to order the LITHOMAN-Insert presses was based on quality and productivity despite the availability of cheaper conventional equipment.
“We saw the press run at DRUPA and saw a commercial LITHOMAN run in Milwaukee,” said Steve Spies, vice president of manufacturing for Rhodes. “We were really impressed with the PECOM system, its interface with the press and with other systems. We were also impressed with the LITHOMAN’s AC motor shaftless technology -- which our industry has not seen before. We think shaftless drive will deliver significant quality advantages.
“We expect that the higher productivity of this press will help offset some of the pricing pressures everyone in the industry faces,” said Spies “LITHOMAN-Insert’s semi-automatic Power Plate Loading (PPL) – another technology not common in our industry – is a key feature that will allow us to make more changeovers more quickly.”
Prior to this order, Rhodes had not purchased MAN Roland presses.
“This is our first MAN Roland equipment,” said Carl Rhodes.“From our research, and through working with MAN Roland, we have come to feel very comfortable with their service and the dependability of the equipment. These presses represent a large investment, but we’re betting on them with this new press and they are betting on us to demonstrate LITHOMAN-Insert’s full capabilities in a production environment.”
The two presses and four folders are being installed in Rhodes’ standard duplex “T” arrangement pressline, able to operate with full interchangeability. The presses can be operated separately for different products or together running the same web for large page-count products or to double the production of a single product. Each press has two proven MAN Roland 2:5:5 folders. Each press line also includes a new model MEGTEC dryer for production of heatset products on coated paper.
The LITHOMAN-Insert has extensive presetting capability and centralized control with MAN Roland's intelligent PECOM press control system, double-circumference plate and blanket cylinders (42-inch diameter), Power Plate Loading (PPL) system and fully automatic reel splicers. It is possible to print up to four ribbons side by side, enabling an output of up to 64 pages per cylinder revolution. It features a pin type 2:5:5 folder tailored to the production of inserts, a single quarter folder, and a choice of dampeners suited to the high volume production of newspaper inserts. Either standard brush dampening or optional spray bar dampening can be ordered. The LITHOMAN-Insert press can be arranged in either a "T" as chosen by Rhodes or in an "L" configuration.
Rhodes Printing Group is a privately owned company founded in 1973. In 1997 the company acquired Ad Team plants in Carrollton, Texas, and Rock Hill, South Carolina to supplement its existing production facilities in Charlestown, Indiana. The company currently employs more than 480 persons at the three locations and is looking forward to continued growth.
“We are expanding our operations and are always looking for new people to help us grow in what we feel is a very good work environment,” said Rhodes.
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