Three new presses grow manroland sheetfed family

Manroland Sheetfed introduces three new presses on its Evolution platform Photo Manroland Sheetfed
Manroland Sheetfed introduces three new presses on its Evolution platform Photo Manroland Sheetfed

Manroland Sheetfed planned to launch three new presses at drupa. Since drupa didn’t happen this year and got postponed to 2021, the company has brought the new presses to market immediately with a strategy to target specific carton segments. In the process of adding two variations in the Evolution series, its successful Roland 700 Evolution press has become the Roland 700 Evolution Elite. The company claims the 700 Evolution Elite is the world’s most technologically advanced sheetfed offset press, which is available in 16,000 and 18,000 sheets an hour configurations. 

The technologies that differentiate the new 700 Evolution series of presses include a new feeder head and cylinder geometry. The cylinder geometry enables the Evolution series presses to run at rated speeds whether or not they are configured with UV curing.

The new 700 presses – Evolution Speed and Evolution Lite

The first of the new 700 Evolution variations is the 700 Evolution Speed, rated to run at 20,000 sheets an hour. The Evolution Speed model includes the appropriate automation features and curing options needed for the highest configuration presses. Moreover, like all the manroland presses, it is designed to be run at the full rated speed even when configured with UV curing on substrates of suitable quality.

The second new model is the Roland 700 Evolution Lite, which runs at 15,000 sheets an hour and dispenses with automatic plate loading and blanket washing. The entry-level press, which only has manual plate loading, is not available with UV curing from the factory. The 700 Evolution Lite is the long run carton printing machine for emerging markets.

Manroland Sheetfed’s 700 Evolution Lite is available in fixed configurations of 4, 5, and 6 colors with or without a coater. The new Lite model aimed at medium and long run monocarton printers dispenses with several automation features to make it price competitive. 

Roland 900 Evolution

The newest manroland sheetfed press to join the family is the Roland 900 Evolution, which marks the company’s re-emergence in the very large format platform category it once dominated. Based on the Evolution platform, this machine will be available at a speed of 16,000 sheets an hour in three very large-format sizes – 135 cm, 142 cm, and 162 cm. 

Langley Group’s turnaround of Manroland Sheetfed

In terms of its profitability and cash position, Langley Group has completely turned around the Manroland Sheetfed Division with revenue of €203.5 million in 2019. At the end of 2019, it had orders on hand of €61.2 million compared to €27.4 million at the end of 2018. In other words, the order position was compelling the company and its 1,472 employees to work at the highest level since Langley acquired it in 2012.

As its chairman, AJ Langley, said in the company’s recent annual report, “The order book is now at a healthy level with production at its highest level since we acquired the business in 2012.” The CEO of Manroland Sheetfed, Rafael Penuela, had said earlier in 2019 as he thanked customers for their support, “Our production line in Germany is running at full capacity at least till next March.”

Lower cost base

Langley, who is extremely forthright in his communication, especially as to the company’s strengths and viability, added in the annual report, “The Manroland business has a lower cost base and, in contrast to its competitors, is saddled with neither debt or disproportionate overhead costs. The company’s presses are highly regarded in the market, and Manroland’s reputation universally recognized and the shareholder is patient.

“During our stewardship of the company, investment in product development has continued unabated, and 2019 was no exception. In 2016, the company unveiled its Roland 700 Evolution press, developed entirely during our stewardship and formally launched at Drupa [2016], is now widely regarded as ‘best in class.’” 

Drupa 2020 was well-timed for the company to unveil its latest offerings. And since the exhibition is postponed by a year, the company felt it was wiser to let its customers know about its new models, which better target specific customer segments, as soon as possible. 

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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