GEW installed an LED array on to a five-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster SM74 at C&D Print in Camden at the start of last year.
And it has helped the business cope with ever demanding customers, taking litho closer to digital in outlook. “The people on the press don’t want to look back to conventional litho,” says Paul Donkin. “Operating it is a bit of a different process to normal conventional litho and takes a bit of getting used to.”
And it is fair to say that the company endured something of a bumpy ride at the start, all around the inks, rollers and chemistry, not the lamps.
The company had to endure misleading advice from these suppliers, making claims that could not be verified. Nevertheless the inclination is to trust what you are told and believe the experts. Only in this case they were wrong. “It was the chemistry they gave us,” says Donkin. “We did a bit of investigation and once we found out what the correct solution should be for the type of ink we were using and as soon as we changed that the process worked fine.
The same story applied to the rollers that were originally fitted as suitable. Again they weren’t and C&D did its own investigation, proved that the rollers were at fault and switched to a more suitable hybrid compound. There have been no more issues.
“You do have to be very cautious, there are lots of people giving B/S out there.”
C&D is not going back, though the rollers do allow it to run a conventional ink for a jobs where a colour needed is not available. This is something that may happen once or twice a year. The rest of the time, the company can mix its own specials. “We do use a lot of special colours and it is a bit different to mixing conventional Pantone colours.
“Now we love LED UV because people can throw jobs at us and we know that there is going to be no drying time because the ink is dry off the press. We love the sharp image quality on uncoated stocks.
“We have had no problem with the GEW LED system, even when the first chemistry supplier tried to blame the lamps. The GEW technology does what it says on the tin.”
The same can be said of the plates. C&D runs the Kodak Sonora X, with Donkin saying “it’s a brilliant plate, both for our SM74 and for the printer around the corner running GTOs and without his own plate making. It’s a great plate.”
C&D Print has been able to compete with digital printing on turnaround times following investment in a GEW LED array for a CD74, and by using the fifth unit for PMS and special colours, delivers more than digital can do.