Latrobe, Pennsylvania — In 2004, Unity Printing celebrated its 25th anniversary as a successful commercial printer. Now in 2005, the company is accelerating its expansion by adding a MAN Roland press that will be the fastest sheetfed system in western Pennsylvania when it is installed in March.
The press is a new five-color ROLAND 500, complete with in-line coating and a range of time-saving features. The six-up system is the most automated 29” offset printer available and produces at a category-leading speed of 18,000 sheets per hour.
“Our ROLAND 500 will be the best piece of printing equipment within a 40 mile radius,” says James L. Ernette, founder and president of Unity. “Our thoughts are that current customers and potential customers will want their work run on the ROLAND 500 once the word gets out.”
The word on the press at Unity is that the 500 is going to move the company up into a new realm of increased capabilities, higher print quality, more competitive pricing and faster response times.
“With the inline coater, full automation and the larger sheet size, we will be able to turn work in the same day if needed,” notes John Hall, Unity’s General Manager. “The 500 will also give us the ability to print on thicker stock.”
Currently Unity’s largest four color press is a 14” x 20” machine with no automation and no inline coating capabilities. As a result, only 8.5” x 11” jobs can run work and turn.
In contrast, the ROLAND 500 will equip Unity Printing to go after projects that traditionally were printed on 40” presses. “We did estimates for several months before placing the order for the Roland 500,” Ernette recalls. “Being able to compete against the 40” press market was one of the reasons we went with the Roland 500.”
Unity ran comparisons on six-up presses from other major manufacturers, but the ROLAND 500’s throughput and print quality put it ahead of the pack. The high level of automation that MAN Roland provides is another significant factor.
“To be more competitive we must turn jobs faster,” Hall notes. “Time on press is one of the highest costs involved on any print order. With our current presses and with press runs getting smaller, sometimes it takes longer to set up the press than it does to complete the run.”
The ROLAND 500 will invert that equation with its Power Plate Loading (PPL) option and its PECOM automation and operating system. PPL will speed up plate changes to under a minute per unit. And the PECOM JobPilot module will let press operators complete major makeready steps while the press is still printing an existing job. Both benefits will maximize billable press time.
Unity Printing also will deploy MAN Roland’s printnet digital backbone in conjunction with the new press. Down the road, that will enable the company to interconnect all production functions with a management information system (MIS) for the ultimate in computer integrated manufacturing.
Unity’s two chief press operators are already scheduled to take the week-long PowerPrinters Certification Course at MAN Roland’s headquarters outside of Chicago. The instruction helps the crewmen maximize the automated advantages their new press will provide.
“Then MAN Roland will do onsite training for two weeks after the press is up and running in March,” Ernette says. “Our crews are extremely excited. They are looking forward to the automation and quality the ROLAND 500 will bring.”
In-line coating will further enhance the press’ quality capabilities, but Hall is also impressed with how the feature will seal sheets instantly so the job can be finished immediately: “We have always wanted to offer same day turnaround. With the 500’s coater, jobs can be printed and put through bindery in the same day instead of needing to dry overnight.”
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