Saturday, April 21, 2007
Sakurai's first footsteps into the four-colour B2 market came in 1989 in the shape of its OL472ED press. At the time of its introduction, it was one of the very first B2 presses to have double diameter impression and transfer cylinders in the seven o'clock configuration. Sakurai UK operations director Mark Jennings says: "This layout has subsequently been adopted by all manufacturers. This meant that when we first launched the machine, it had a considerable advantage."
In 1995, the model was upgraded to the 472EDII. This was another step forward as it incorporated push-button control of inking, damping and pressures, doing away with most of the manual levers on the press. After 1995, the range was expanded to include five- and six-colour models, including the option of a coater. Other optional extras included X-Rite auto tracking, densitometers, driers, ink cartridges and ink roller cooling.
Jennings says that the coater was an important advance, to keep up with trends within the market. “Coaters have become more and more popular in the industry, as they allow either spot or overall matt or gloss coating inline. They are also extensively used for applying a sealer that is perfectly dry when the sheet gets to the stacker.” This allows the printer to take a pile of sheets from the stacker and either turn them for printing on the reverse or take them to finishing, without having to wait for the ink to dry.
In 2002, the coater was upgraded to a Harris & Bruno enclosed-chamber doctor blade. The enclosed chamber kept the viscosity of the coating more consistent, by reducing evaporation. The coating film thickness could also be changed by using different anilox rollers.
The presses had a maximum sheet size of 720x520mm, a maximum print size of 710x510mm and a maximum speed of 13,000sph. They were able to handle stock from lightweight paper up to board 0.6 mm thick. “With these features, we were aiming the press squarely at the commercial B2 market,” Jennings says.
Introduced in 2005, the 75SD uses the same cylinder configuration as the old OL72ED series, but is actually a 760mm-wide press and runs at 15,000sph. “It has been redesigned from the start and has totally up-to-date electronics, a vastly improved feeder and delivery and is even more robust than the 72EDII,” says Jennings. “It can also be integrated into JDF and is highly automated.”
Originally, the 472ED was known as an Oliver, but this was shortened to OL. “Some customers did not realise that Oliver and Sakurai were one and the same, so to avoid confusion, it is now shortened to OL in the UK,” Jennings explains. A new five-colour SD machine is listed at £475,000. Around 40 ED presses were sold in the UK before the model was superseded by the 75SD range. The OL472EDII can now only be bought secondhand.
“Sakurai’s policy on old presses is that we will take them back in part-exchange for a new press,” Jennings explains. “Depending on age and specification we will either sell them to a dealer or bring them into our works, recondition them and sell them directly to a customer.” Sakurai continues to stock all normal spares for the presses and its UK engineers have full knowledge of servicing them.
Hull-based Graphic Line Machinery is one dealer that sells secondhand Sakurai presses. Administrative assistant Richard Parrott says: “The UK is very much a Heidelberg market, but we have sold a handful of Sakurai presses.” As they are not as sought after as similar Heidelberg or Komori models, they are a little cheaper. “But they can do the same things as other machines, so they are definitely a good investment,” assures Parrott.
For a used 2000 edition Sakurai four-colour 475EDII you would expect to pay around £200,000. “As with any used press, it is advisable to check wear and tear to rollers and cylinders. These can wear out in the same way that car tyres are worn down over time,” Parrott says.
Max sheet size
Max image size
• New OL475 SD £475,000
• Used 2000 OL475EDII £200,000
What to look for
• Wearing of rollers
• Damage to cylinders
• Overall condition of machine