MAN Roland 500

Lisa Berwin
Saturday, April 21, 2007

In the early '90s, when MAN Roland launched its 700 press, many of its customers were a little apprehensive. The new layout was not what Roland customers were used to and it took a number of years for them to build their trust in the model.

By the time the 500 was launched at Drupa 2004, the market – including many loyal Roland customers – had come to know and trust this series and the machine was warmly embraced by B2 printers. This is not to say that sales were instant – it was an expensive press and Roland had to come up with options that printers were willing to invest in that were somewhat lighter on the wallet.

Years of kit development and adaptations seem to have paid off, as today almost 40 of the 500 models installed worldwide are in the UK.

Gary Doman, sales director of the sheetfed and post-press division at MAN Roland GB, says: “The 500 is now a much-sought-after machine. The UK is a volatile market, but we have sold it at different levels so as to make it more affordable. Customers have been able to adapt the machine to their individual needs and this makes it a far more attractive investment.”

Easily modified
Before the 500 entered the market, it was primarily the 300 that MAN Roland targeted at B2 customers. This machine was only really suited for commercial use, but the 500 can be modified in such a way that it can take on a far greater variety of jobs.

“This press can be configured in different ways and can have various coating units and perfecting options, so it can be used for both commercial work and in packaging, for example,” Doman says.

The 500 took on the double impression cylinder and seven o’clock layout of the 700 and 900 models. It also has a ‘transferter’ (the German term for transferring sheets from one unit to the next), with programmable air track. This means that when sheets are switched between units they are fully supported and there is no marking. The layout also limits stress on the sheets, which reduces registration problems and results in a higher dot gain.

It’s a fully automated press with speeds of up to 18,000sph. There’s an optional special format, 0B plus, which allows formats of up to 590x740mm, and there is also storage for up to 5,000 jobs in the central control system. A standard coater with matching dryer is available, as is an optional coater with remote page adjustment to longitudinal and diagonal registers.

The press was developed – much more so than with previous B2 models – to be an industrial machine in terms of strength, speed and inline options, such as inline sheeters and a sheet travel inspection system.

The 10-colour version of the 500 was launched at Ipex last year. It has additional coating modules and inline features, as well as a perfecting option. The machine showcased at the exhibition was quickly snapped up by a Manchester-based firm. A new basic five-colour 500 with coater can be bought for around £700,000, with a six-colour available for around the £800,000 mark. For additional perfecting options, the price increases by around £70,000.

Although the press is fairly new and isn’t found regularly on the secondhand market, MAN Roland will sell on any used models with the same service and warranty options as a new press.

“I have many requests for used models, but they are not easy to come by. These are very robust machines and, if we do get any in, then we will service it and install it as new. We treat customers the same way they would be treated if they had bought a used Mercedes,” assures Doman. Expect a three-year-old press to be priced at around £500,000.
SPECIFICATIONS
Speed
• 18,000sph
Max size format
• 530x740mm (option: 590x740mm)
Max printing area
• 510x740mm (option: 580x740mm)
Stock thickness range (mm)
• 0.04 to 1.0
Price
• New 505 with coater: £700,000
• New 506 with coater: £800,000
• Used 505 (2004): £500,000
What to look for
• Delivery
• Condition of rollers
• Grippers and chains

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