Me & my: Morgana Laminator 450

By Jez Abbott, Monday 03 September 2018

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It wasn’t the first time Newprint turned to Morgana Systems in a moment of need. The digital and litho printer in East Anglia is an established Morgana house and this time around managing director David Prior was taking delivery of three new machines to boost post-press capability.

newprint-laminator

Prior: “We are now actively seeking more laminating work, rather than trying to avoid it”

The combined cost of the folder, the guillotine, and laminator was around £50,000. 

In the five years Prior has been running the Suffolk firm with Paul Howe, the business has replaced all of its print and finishing machines bar a two-colour Ryobi and a platemaker. The new kit arrivals were smart buys, but Prior was really banking on the third piece of equipment. The Morgana Laminator 450 had to deliver on performance because what it was replacing had not delivered at all.

Before the 450 was wheeled into the base in Newmarket about eight months ago, Newprint had muddled along with a hand-fed double-sided duplex machine, which Prior and his three colleagues on Willie Snaith Road “could not get on with”: it was inconsistent in splitting sheets, it perfed sheets rather than the lamination; and it jammed. It had to go.

And it did, around Christmas time. Its route out of the door started a few months before when Morgana invited Prior and his machine manager Nicola Owen to a small local print show to check out finishing gear. The Laminator 450 was officially launched a few weeks later at Ipex in October 2017 where Morgana demonstrated it on a marketing leaflet.

A few weeks later, and carrying a clutch of documents printed digitally on Newprint’s two Konica Minolta bizhub printers, Owen visited Morgana’s showroom in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, for another demo. The operator ran off the lot in one pile in a single quick-fire run. Owen, Prior says, returned to Suffolk “raving” about the speed, quality and ease of use of the technology. 

“We were not that pleased with our old laminator, so were keen to raise the level of quality, performance and ease of operation. We had a good existing relationship with Morgana and paid around £13,000 for the machine. 

“We didn’t bother with finance arrangements, just asked Morgana what they would give us for the old machine and paid for the new one with three cheque instalments.”

Newprint, which dates back 32 years and currently turns over about £32,000 a month from short-run commercial work with its Ryobi 522HE litho press and two Konica Minolta bizhub C1070 printers, took delivery of the new laminator two weeks later. At two metres long and under one metre wide, the new laminator was wheeled into place in one trip at 10 in the morning on a weekday before Christmas.

Fast and reliable

Designed for easy operation, the Laminator 450 is a semi-automatic machine for sheets up to 350gsm that features an integrated compressor and pneumatic system for print lamination up to 450mm working width. According to its maker, the device combines speed, easy operation and quality. Key features include quick sheet feed and automatic registration, micro-perforation, scissor roller cutting technology and user-friendly touchscreen controls. 

Morgana technical staff had unpacked and configured all of this by 2pm that same day and were running off a few demo jobs. Prior was struck at the speed and ease of operation. The machine is compact, very simple to run and involves no complicated settings, he says. Within about 45 minutes three members of staff, including Prior, were running off their own test laminating jobs.

Whereas the old hand-fed laminator perforated the whole of the substrate rather than just the film and jammed on heavier weight stocks, the new Laminator 450 perforates the film, making sheet separation more effective and reliable. Being a suction-fed system, the process is fast: the technology can operate at up to 10 metres per minute. 

One of the first benefits Prior noticed was the simplicity of securing rolls of film – the device threads very easily. The operator loads up the stock and sets the temperature before leaving the laminator to heat up. The second major plus was the consistency of heat: temperature settings on the old laminator often fluctuated causing problems with adhesion.

Once the temperature is at the required level the operator lowers the pile to the correct height and presses the feed button. Two rollers on the feeder end smooth delivery with material “bursting nicely in the same place every time”. This ensures no wastefully long overhangs of laminating material and makes the task of shifting the job on to the guillotine much easier.

To date, Newprint has used the Lamintor 450 on business cards and folders, racing industry leaflets and perfect-bound books for a marketing college on sheets sized mostly SRA3. Though operation is straightforward, a few teething problems had Prior’s team reaching for the phone to Morgana. Most issues centred around feeding involving static or air blowing.

Digital difficulty

Much work for lamination at Newprint comes off digital printers, which are prone to static, making sheets stick together. At its worst, staff have to separate sheets one by one. But since installing a jogger and attaching a de-ionising fan to the Konica Minolta digital machines, the problem has been kept under control. Adjusting the air flow a couple of notches meanwhile has solved bumpy rides.

“On all of our previous machines we’ve had sticking issues with lamination on digital print jobs, for example big solid covers in need of all-over lamination. 

“Lamination can shrink if you raise the temperature. But with this new equipment, the combination of narrow rollers, good feeding and temperature that is accurate and consistent, makes this no longer an issue,” says Prior.

Another small glitch involved the pile elevating too high, but a few minor adjustments to the settings perfected alignment. Teething problems aside, the Newprint team has had no reason to call out the Morgana team. The device has a standard one-year warranty and Prior chose not to take out an extended warranty or maintenance plan, preferring to “call Morgana as and when needed”.

He adds: “The new Laminator 450 makes sheet separation far more effective and reliable. The suction-fed system speeds up the whole process and, unlike the old machine which you had to watch all the time, once this one is set up, the operator can walk away from the laminator. 

“Biggest plus points are its ease of set up and – most impressive for me – its ability to burst perfectly time and time again. There are no minuses and we are now actively seeking more laminating work, rather than trying to avoid it.” 


SPECIFICATIONS

Max speed 10m/min

Max sheet size 450x900mm 

Max stock weight 350gsm 

Footprint 2x0.9m

Pressure Pneumatic 

Electrical requirements 230/240V single-phase

Weight 300kg 

Price About £13,000

Options Deep-pile stacker, foiling unit 

Contact Morgana 01908 608888 www.morgana.co.uk 


Company profile 

Newprint in Newmarket near Cambridge is a business-to-business print supplier offering business cards, flyers, leaflets, brochures, menus and stationery from litho and digital printing machines. The four-staff business has customers in Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket, which include British Racing School, Cambridge Science Park, European Bioinformatics Institute, Newmarket Racecourses and smaller organisations. As well as a Ryobi 522HE press, two Konica Minolta bizhub Press C1070 printers and the Morgana Laminator 450, the company also has a DigiFold 385 folder and an EBA guillotine, a BM500 bookletmaker, KB 2000 perfect-binding machine and an FSN numbering unit.

Why it was bought…

Newprint’s old laminator needed to perforate the whole of the substrate, rather than just the film, causing problems on heavier weight stocks. It was difficult to clear a problem while feeding the machine and the process could be slow. Managing director David Prior wanted a faster, more efficient machine, more effective lamination and easier operation. 

How it has performed…

“The new Laminator 450 makes sheet separation far more effective and reliable,” says Prior. “The suction-fed system speeds up the process and, unlike the old machine which you had to watch all the time, once ths one is set up, the operator can walk away from the laminator. Biggest plus points are its ease of set up and – most impressive for me – its ability to burst perfectly time and time again.”

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