MAN Roland R300

Lisa Berwin
Sunday, April 22, 2007

The MAN Roland R300's popularity has held steady since it was launched at Ipex in 1993. Over the 10 years it was available in the UK, MAN shipped out an average of 10 per year. It has also found a strong foothold in the secondhand marketplace across the UK.

The 300 was aimed squarely at the B2 commercial market, where it has been particularly successful. However, some machines were also purchased by specialised label printers that were already MAN Roland customers and were, therefore, able to use the seven-colour version with coater for their production requirements.

Gary Doman, UK director of sales for sheetfed and finishing equipment, says: “This was a very stable product for us, one that hasn’t required a great deal of change since its launch. The level of automation it had back then is still advanced enough to use with relative ease today.” Automation includes formatting, platesetting, network links to MIS and it has the same PECOM press console as the MAN Roland 500, 700 and 900 presses.

In the late 1990s improvements were made to the software of the machine. At Drupa 2000, a shaft-driven feeder and an in-feeder were added – the motor being driven by a drive shaft and not a chain, making the feeder smoother and more reliable. The 300 was first available with up to eight colour units, which had increased to 10 by Drupa 2004.

Leader of the pack
One of the driving factors behind the success of the press was its ground-breaking perfector technology. “It was widely accepted in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s that Miller machines were the leaders in perfecting by a long way,” explains Doman. “We took them over and incorporated two sets of proper transfer grippers where once pincer grippers had been used. These give a far better register that is more reliable and faster than any previous perfector.”

Before the 300 came to the market, the fastest speed achievable when perfecting was around 11,000 sheets per hour (sph). The 300 could reach speeds of 15,000sph, whether straight or perfecting and the models built after 2002 could reach 16,000sph on straight runs. One perfector came as standard on all models, but up to three could be included. This means that on a five-colour press with two perfecting units, the machine could offer one over four or two over three printing.

When MAN Roland streamlined its manufacturing plants in 2005, it stopped producing the 300 and focused on the 500, which was more in line with the modern MAN Roland presses. The 500 has a seven o’clock cylinder layout and flat sheet transfer, decreasing the chance of marking. It could also be used with a greater level of substrates, making it an ideal choice for packaging and label printers.

All MAN Roland machines, new and used, are available with a service option called ProServ. It is similar to a warranty, with parts and service, but also includes a maintenance programme, with visits to make sure the equipment is being looked after and properly maintained to avoid any future breakdowns. Used Machinery Direct director Mark Stribley says this is a great advantage for secondhand users. “Making sure the machine is always maintained properly instead of waiting for a potential problem to occur will extend the life of the machine.”

Readily available
Stribley adds that the machines are very popular on the secondhand market, and, due to the large installed base, they are readily available. With 60 MAN Roland engineers spread across the country and spare parts easy to obtain, it is a very economically sound investment. A six-year-old five-unit press with coater can be found on the market for around £280,000-£300,000, depending on the machine’s condition.

Genesis Europrint managing director Stephen Reynolds recently purchased a secondhand 300 press. “This is the first time that we have bought from MAN Roland and we were impressed with the price and the six-months parts and labour warranty. We have often invested in secondhand and find three- or four-year-old presses a great saving. They have been run many times before so any teething problems have been solved already.”

Max print area
Min sheet size 260x400mm
Stock range 0.04-0.6mm
Speed 15,000sph (perfector) 16,000sph (straight)
Price 2000 MAN Roland R305LV: £280,000 to £300,000
What to look for
• Make sure the machine has cocking plate loading
• Carton guides


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