Product of the Week: Redline RL-2100N

By Adam Hooker, Wednesday 24 November 2010

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This range of die-cutters was designed to offer a better user experience as well as being able to handle a bigger sheet size, discovers Adam Hooker

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When the recession hit the UK, printing equipment manufacturers’ sales were hit hard in a double-whammy that came from two main angles: a fall in demand and a glut of readily available secondhand machines.

As the country went into recession, many printers’ major investment plans were halted; either they didn’t have and couldn’t get hold of the finance, or they weren’t prepared to stick their fiscal necks out at a time when everyone else seemed to be retrenching – in some cases, it was both.

At the same time, a spate of printing company closures meant that the secondhand market was awash with low-cost machines, some of them in nearly-new condition, as administrators sold off the assets of failed businesses. As a result, savvy printers and finishers were able to pick up good quality kit at bargain basement prices. Indeed, in April 2009, Young Shin die-cutter supplier Crosland VK reported that it had seen a huge rise in demand for its secondhand machines.

And so, with no end to the economic woes in sight, the idea of walking away from a thriving secondhand business to attempt to launch an entirely new product range into an already-saturated marketplace must have seemed a daunting proposition. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what Diecut UK managing director Steve Waterhouse chose to do when he left Crosland.

Leap of faith
The fact that he chose this course of action demonstrates the confidence Waterhouse has in the Redline series that he helped to create, alongside former Young Shin developer Emerson Koo, and market across the UK, Europe and North America. According to Waterhouse, the range, which comprises six machines, as well as the potential for building bespoke machines, was designed with users in mind, based on conversations Waterhouse had had during his 15 years in the business.

"These machines are faster than the competition, they can handle a larger sheet size, a thicker substrate and there is a dual pressure setting so the makeready is quicker," he says.

"We have listened to all the complaints customers made about die-cutters. You only have to look at the weight of the machine, we were getting complaints that machines weren’t robust enough, so you will find our machines are about 10 tonnes heavier."

And he believes that the product can find its place in any number of sectors, but particularly in POS, packaging and labels. Also, as environmental pressure is an increasingly important factor, the machine also appeals as it has a stripping section, which removes all the waste material.

The six machines in the family are the RL-1500, RL-1700, RL-1900, RL-2100, RL-2200 and RL-2500. The name number indicates the maximum sheet size the unit can handle and each is available in three different configurations: N, which indicates no stripping section; S, which includes a stripping section; and SF, which means the stripping section and gripper margin devices are removable. However, it is the RL-2100N that agent Diecut UK expects to prove most successful.

According to Waterhouse, the Redline series can die-cut any substrate, including cardboard, paper, plastics, PVC, self-adhesive vinyl and display board. "Basically anything that has been printed on, this machine can cut," he stresses.

He adds that the machines are capable of handling substrates up to 15mm in thickness, due to its strength, which according to him is 3mm thicker than its rivals are capable of. However, the machines are not just for brute force, they have a gentler side too, and are capable of kiss-cutting 300 micron PVC film.

The machines are all available with an optional pre-feeding station, which Waterhouse says allows for pre-positioning of the next stack, reducing down-time. The reason that the pre-feeder is optional is because of the difficult substrates. Waterhouse says: "If you are dealing with normal sheets, it’s fine to use an automatic loader," he says. "But there are always going to be difficult materials that need more attention, with the optional feeder you can have it both ways."

Another advantage that Waterhouse added to the machine was a CCTV system, which allows the user to see what is happening on the die-cutter from several different angles. He says: "It makes the machine a true one-man operation. It is another element which has helped to make the machine as user-friendly as possible."

The machines are available to suit most wallet types. The lowest-specification unit costs less than £80,000, while the top-end device will set you back more than £300,000. And the potential for customisation means that users can develop their own machine that suits their specific needs and budget.

Power down
Meanwhile, consumables costs have been set particularly low, according to Waterhouse. He explains: "Consumables are inexpensive and the range has been designed that way to make it a more attractive purchase, the power required is only a fraction of what a printer would use."

Already there are over 100 machines in place around the world, with UK and US firsts occurring this year. Elsewhere, in the UK, orders have been received for a number of machines that are due for installation in early 2011.

It remains to be seen whether the machines’ early popularity will continue, but certainly the early take-up has pleased Waterhouse. Results will be skewed as a result of the recession, with little detail available regarding machinery sales in any market: what is a good number to be selling at the moment? Is one sale a success? Regardless of the financial situation, if the print and finishing sectors are as enthusiastic about the machine as Waterhouse was when he jumped from his relatively safe position at Crosland, there is a very good chance that we will see a lot more of the Redline series in years to come.
SPECIFICATIONS
Max sheet size
1,500x2,120mm
Min sheet size 500x600mm
Max cutting size 1,490x2,110mm
Max cutting size for other machines in the range
RL-1500: 1,090x1,510mm?RL-1700: 1,190x1,710mm?RL-1900: 1,390x1,910mm?RL-2200: 1,690x2,210mm?RL-2500: 1,690x2,510mm
Min gripper margin 10-20mm
Max cutting pressure 450 tonnes
Sheet thickness 0.5-15mm
Max cutting speed 2,500sph
Machine length 6,310mm
Machine width 4,965mm
Machine height 2,600mm
Weight 30 tonnes
Price £175,000
Contact Diecut UK 0161 955 3665

THE ALTERNATIVES

Young Shin SA2100s
Supplied by Woodhouse’s old company Crosland VK, which has sold the machines for 10 years, Young Shin offers an established name, dating back around 30 years. Crosland supplies a number of models, some of which are semi-automatic.
Min sheet size 500x700mm
Max sheet size 1,500x2,100mm
Gripper margin 10mm
Max cutting pressure 400 tonnes
Sheet thickness 11mm
Speed 2,000sph
Machine length 7,000mm
Machine width 5,000mm
Machine height 2,200mm
Weight 35 tonnes +
Price from £190,000
Contact Crosland VK 0161 877 8668 sales@croslandvk.com   

Enko ES-2200
According to its UK distributor Cava (UK), the Enko range provides a low-cost entry into the corrugated and solid board markets. It is marketed on the fact that it is one of the more economical die-cutters available. It features a deep-pile delivery chamber, automatic lifting table and front and back platen adjustment.
Min sheet size 850x1,200mm
Max sheet size 1,700x2,200mm
Gripper margin 8-12mm
Sheet thickness 1.5—12mm
Speed 2,800sph
Machine length 5,750mm
Machine width 4,890mm
Machine height 2,500mm
Weight 30 tonnes
Price £180,000
Contact Cava (UK) 01924 891663

Bobst Mastercut 2.1
The most relevant machine, in terms of application, that Bobst supplies is the VisionCut. However, this machine only has a maximum size of 1,600mm. The Bobst MasterCut does run to 2,100mm, but it is a more advanced machine than the Redline, running at three times the speed and using power register, which will move the sheet in perfect register with the diecutter if the printing is not exact.
Min sheet size 700x520mm
Max sheet size 2,100x1,300mm
Gripper margin 15 + 3/-6mm
Sheet thickness 0.75-9mm
Speed 7,500sph
Machine length 1,130mm
Machine width 8,700mm (including operator platform)
Machine height 2,900mm
Weight 50 tonnes
Price POA
Contact Bobst Group (UK & Ireland) 01527 519710 sales.uk@bobstgroup.com

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