Dorchester printer Epic Creative Print has followed up the installation of the first Scodix in the UK by adding an LED UV system to its Mitsubishi Diamond 1000 B2 press. And the motivation has been the same: to add value to litho printed sheets through additional effects.
Its Scodix was installed at the Dorset company four years ago and led to the production of a samples book to show the range of raised image and spot varnish effects that are possible. It has been marketed as HiLite printing. With LED UV the company hopes to go a step further and exploit the potential for drip off and other varnish effects.
“Installing LED broadens our opportunity to sell creativity,” says managing partner Mark Downey. “Our customers began asking for larger print runs of some of our most highly creative designs which we were producing on our Scodix and Indigo, but longer print runs do not mean reduced unit cost in this case, so we began investigating the possibilities UV LED might offer.
“We use all kinds of substrates, from light uncoated stock, 100% recycled boards and specialist substrates, through to silvers like Mirri Pak, our own in-house foil papers and laminated substrates. We thought we may be able to transfer some of the longer run length work to litho with UV LED.”
The company is already gaining from the established benefits of printing with UV: instantly dry sheets – even on difficult substrates, improved pressroom atmosphere and cleaner conditions, elimination of coatings and spray powder. This is set against the need to change rollers, blankets and to pay more for the ink.
As this was a retrofit, led by Flint, it had to take the press out of production for two days. It included replacing the rollers, fitting the AMS Spectral UV unit to the delivery of the press with an additional fitting after the second print unit so that it can print a double hit white or fluorescent ink, dry and overprint with four colours to open up more effects to sensation hungry customers.
Installation also included the chiller unit and control system. Training led by Flint followed. It is printing with the Xcura Evo process inks and and has been using Flint’s Hypergloss UV varnish, configured for UV applied through the coater. Gloss is at a level previously only expected from lamination or trade varnishing, says Downey.
Flint is also providing metallics, fluorescents as well as different styles of varnish in the Xcura family. And Epic is testing the limits of each.
“We know this investment will open up new markets for us as well as creating opportunities for new business by up-selling at existing clients,” says Downey. “We’re looking to push our creative boundaries and add even more value to our print and thereby enhance our customers’ images.”
It means, he adds, a further five years life from the press at a fraction of the cost of buying new.