Sakurai Oliver 466

Lisa Berwin
Sunday, April 22, 2007

Before the turn of the millennium many press manufacturers were focusing their efforts predominantly on the B2 and B3 markets. However, research carried out by Japanese firm Sakurai showed that presses able to print at SRA2 size (66cm) offered printers the chance to compete within the B2 market. This was because the statistics revealed that around 85% of material printed on B2 presses was, in fact, equivalent to SRA2 size.

Sakurai midland area sales manager David Robinson says: “Many of the larger German manufacturers had pulled out of the SRA2 market, so that a printer wanting to move up from B3 could only go straight to B2.

There was no in-between step.” This meant that many would go for SRA2 or B2 machines with little or no automation because that was all they could justify economically.

“The Oliver 66 was brought in to fill this gap. It was fully automated and more cost effective for smaller printers or those making the transition to larger-format printing,” Robinson explains.

Meeting demands
The four-colour Sakurai Oliver 466 was launched in 2001. “This model was a completely new concept for Sakurai, designed specifically to meet the demands and trends of the modern printing industry,” says Robinson. “The range filled the criteria for faster turnaround, shorter delivery and run lengths and the ability to print on a variety of substrates.” By 2003 Sakurai was announcing its 100th global sale of the Sakurai OL466 SIP. The P denotes that it is the perfecting version of the machine and the OL is the later naming convention used by Sakurai. The company has now sold 400 globally, with around 10% going to UK printers.

The OL466 had automatic plate change, ink roller and blanket washing as well as pre-sets for its feeders, printing pressure settings and delivery. It was also able to change automatically from straight to perfecting. It could run at straight speeds of 15,000 sheets per hour (sph) with perfecting speeds of up to 13,000sph.

As a fairly new press, only minor changes have been made to the machine with an upgrade from DOS to Windows in 2003. At the 2004 Graphic Expo, Sakurai released the Oliver 66 series in 48cm sheet size, the OL75.

New models bought today range from £325,000 to £475,000, depending on specification. Optional extras include an anilox coater, extended delivery, temperature control for the ink rollers and IR or UV drying. There is also the option of installing a CIP4 interface.

It is too premature to judge whether the Sakurai OL466 will be popular on the secondhand market as they are still rare, though not impossible to find. “If we take back one of our own presses, it is almost certainly because we are aware of a customer looking for a similar used press,” Robinson says.

“However, most of the presses sold in the UK and Ireland are still with their original buyers.”

Sakurai holds around £500,000 worth of spare parts at its Hounslow office, its European headquarters for parts and training. It has nine UK full-time technicians to respond to any service calls, as well as three sub-contracted engineers fully-trained on its equipment. The manufacturer does not have a specific service contract, but is happy to offer a bespoke service. Robinson says: “Our customers have different needs, such as impressions per annum and visits required each year, so we will tailor any service contract to their individual needs.”

Sakurai will professionally clean any used model that it re-sells and check all of its mechanics before installing it for a second life. Currently, a 2000 466SIP with full UK specifications, delivered and installed, will sell from £160,000 to £170,000. This includes a six-month warranty and five days training. For a 2002 machine, this figure will be from £190,000 to £200,000. Some secondhand dealers also sell Sakurai presses: Glancy Rawthore Graphics of Cheshire recently had a 466 model in stock.
SPECIFICATIONS
Speed
• 15,000sph straight printing
• 13,000sph in perfect mode
Max sheet size
• Straight: 660x470mm
• Perfecting: 660x468mm
Min sheet size
• Straight: 297x200mm
• Perfecting: 297x257mm
Stock range
• 0.04mm – 0.4mm
Gripper margin
• 9mm
Feeder pile height
• 580mm (980mm as option)
Delivery pile height
• 600mm
Price
• New OL466 SIP: from £325,000
• Used 2000 466 SIP: from £160,000 to £170,000
What to look for
• Blanket and plate cylinders
• Condition of rollers

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