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New ROLAND 700 DirectDrive Press Receives InterTech Technology Award

Press release from the issuing company

July 23, 2007 -- The industry’s newest sheetfed press has captured the graphic arts’ most prestigious productivity prize. The new ROLAND 700 DirectDrive press is the recipient of a 2007 InterTech? Technology Award from the Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation.
The award is MAN Roland’s sixth in the last thirteen years — a reflection on the company’s leadership in advancing press technology. In 1994, the premiere version of the ROLAND 700 was the winner. In 2001, DICOweb technology took home the honor. PECOM/printnet press control automation was recognized with an InterTech Award in 2002. TelePresence remote diagnostics received the award in 2005. And last year, InlineFoiler PRINDOR was given an InterTech Award.
In developing its latest InterTech-worthy advancement, MAN Roland applied a significant measure of its industry-leading web technology, creating the world’s first sheetfed press with direct drive technology to improve pressroom productivity. The device enables sheetfed pressrooms to cut their makereadies by as much as 60%.
“The more short-run work a printer encounters, the faster his makereadies need to be,” said Vince Lapinski, CEO of MAN Roland Inc. “The speed of their makereadies in large part determines their profit margins. That’s what makes DirectDrive’s ability to reduce job-to-job intervals so valuable in today’s media marketplace.”
As its name indicates, DirectDrive equips each printing unit’s plate cylinder with its own high torque motor, controlled by MAN Roland’s printnet digital press operating system. Isolating the plate cylinder from the press’ main drive allows a number of time-consuming makeready chores to be completed simultaneously. Example: all of the plates can be changed on the ROLAND 700 DirectDrive at the same time, while wash-up takes place, effectively resulting in zero plate-changing time.
That makes the ROLAND 700 DirectDrive ideal for short-run high-performance printers. These are facilities that have to makeready and print over ten jobs per shift, with average run lengths below 5,000 sheets per job. To be competitive, they have to drive costs out of their workflows. DirectDrive lets them achieve major savings by essentially taking the time it takes to plate the press out of the production process.
A second application sector for the ROLAND 700 DirectDrive consists of facilities that run long perfectors with 8, 10 and 12 printing units, which produce a high volume of perfecting work. It can reduce their makeready time by as much as 60 percent.
The mechanical isolation of the plate cylinder also endows a sheetfed press with 360° circumferential register. That enables a ROLAND 700 DirectDrive to accept printing plates created for presses built by different manufacturers. The advantage: unprecedented job flexibility for facilities running a variety of models.
A prototype DirectDrive unit was demonstrated at drupa 2004. Since then, several ROLAND 700 DirectDrive presses have been installed at beta sites throughout Europe, where they continue to impress printers and their customers with their ability to speed from job-to-job.
A package printing facility has this to say of DirectDrive’s value: “Shorter runs are becoming more common in the package printing industry, as manufacturers try to give their products diverse looks to appeal to diverse market segments. This is especially true in the luxury sector in which we operate. The rapid makereadies provided by DirectDrive equip us to more cost effectively meet those short run, fast turnaround demands. That, in turn, increases our customer satisfaction levels.”
Another beta site, a commercial printer, reported similar success with a perfecting ROLAND 700 DirectDrive press: “With the addition of DirectDrive, a 12-unit perfector is as nimble as a Porsche and as powerful as an MAN tractor-trailer truck. By extending the performance range of the ROLAND 700, DirectDrive equips the press to be more useful for more applications. That makes this press more popular with our customers.”
MAN Roland’s Vince Lapinski said it’s important that the industry embrace technology that adds to print’s value as a communications channel. “DirectDrive combines digital technology with mechanical advancements to raise the productive potential of sheetfed printers to a new level,” he said. “We applaud PIA/GATF for recognizing DirectDrive’s power to make print a more responsive and more cost effective medium.”