Komori Lithrone 526

Lisa Berwin
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Since its establishment 84 years ago, Komori has been producing offset printing products. Its original flagship presses were the 40in and 29in Lithrone S Series, and the Sprint Series sheetfed offset machines. The more recent additions to its offset press line include the System 38 Series. It has also made currency-printing presses and, for many years, exclusively supplied Japans National Printing Bureau.

Throughout its existence, the firm has strived to become the very best in its field, according to Komori UK managing director Neil Sutton. “The Komori Group endeavours to improve the quality and productivity of its basic printing presses and develop printing information networks and automated integrated printing systems to respond to recent trends of digitalisation and networking,” he says.

Lithrone debut

The Lithrone family came to the market in 1981. The five-colour 526 press was one of the most popular models, with more than 40 installed in the UK since 1998. Today, the L526 still retains its traditional double-cylinder design, but other features have been enhanced. The 2003 model had an ink key remote control and independent drive for ink rollers, as well as a new dampening vibration roller and optional water-level sensor.

“Komori undertakes its own product development as part of a determination to ensure that the name Lithrone is always synonymous with quality,” explains Sutton.

Komori says the 2003 model was launched as the economy was facing continued uncertainty, and printing was growing increasingly competitive. At the same time, the IT revolution was radically transforming the shape of media. “Komori planned to help make its machine a turning point of success. The Lithrone 26 embraced an array of new technologies following on from a long line of tradition,” says Sutton. The L526’s launch price started at £408,200 and optional extras include the KHS system, a pre-inking and de-inking system.

Short-run profits
Komori claims that the press has one of the fastest job changeover times, which means the Lithrone is profitable on runs of just a few hundred. Its 15,000sph speed also makes it a good choice for longer-run work. As an add-on, you can purchase a PDC-S spectrophotometer, which digitally controls densities and colour matching. There are the further options of a convertible perfector with automatic switchover between modes and a front/back registration remote control.

Last year at Ipex, Komori showed the Lithrone S26, the successor to the Lithrone 26 series. But the L26 is also still in high demand globally.

Dealer BBR Graphic Sales has sold Komori Lithrone 526 models in the past, and sales manager Steve McDonaugh says the presses are few and far between on the secondhand market due to their popularity. Any pre-1990 model that does come onto the market tends to be exported, but presses built after that have found second lives at UK printers.

“They are extremely robust and reliable presses,” says McDonaugh. “I went to see one recently that was installed in 1989 and had done over 1m impressions, but it was still running with a perfect register.” A refurbished Lithrone 526 from around 1995, with delivery and installation, will cost between £150,000 and £170,000. This is based on an impression count of below 100m.

Other Komori dealers include IES Machinery, DMJ Graphics, West Park Graphics, DPM and Matrix Graphics. Although Komori does not sell used machines directly, it will take in models for part exchange.

• Max 15,000sph
• Min 3,000sph
Sheet size
• Max 480x660mm
• Min 200x280mm
• New from £408,200 (launch price in 2003)
• Used 1995 Lithrone 526 £150,000 to £170,000
What to look for
• Check register
• Service history


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