Flint, fresh from its acquisition of Druckfarben, is rolling out Vantage LED across the EMEA region. This is an end to end retrofit approach for commercial printers who want to take advantage of the benefits of UV printing.
Under the Vantage LED banner, Flint has put together a series of packages starting with pre-conversion consultancy to explain the advantages and ROI of switching to UV printing; the training needed for this; the lamp units; the inks and consumables that match the lamp and press and on going support during and after the installation.
At the heart of the package are Flint’s own inks and coatings, founts and blankets, and also the AMS EcoLux LED unit. “We have been working with AMS for a couple of years,” says Flint’s Peter Baird. “Now we are strengthening that relationship to capture the market as it converts over. This is a turnkey solution, from calculating the ROI to installation and to helping a printer market its services afterwards.”
The advantages include a reduction in energy consumption providing an environmental benefit, though this is not the compelling reason that printers are migrating, Flint explains. Printed sheets are instantly dry; there is no spray powder on the sheet; and seals are not needed to protect the print. Many printers also cite the ability to print on uncoated papers, plastics and to offer a wider range of finishes to their customers and improving the quality of what they print.
This has certainly been a driving factor for Opal Print which has just fitted an AMS LED array to its B2 Heidelberg Speedmaster. This has almost been a dry run for Vantage LED, Baird explains. “Opal is using our inks and our technical teams has been on site since the installation to answer questions about special effects, printing on plastics and with opaque whites.
“LED UV is making a huge difference to Opal, but it still needs the reassurance and hand-holding that we can offer. Opal is already recognised as a quality printer and managing director Keith Lunt believes that quality will improve further with LED.”
LED UV technology was fitted to a large percentage of the sheetfed litho presses at Drupa and can take a substantial share of the commercial print market, Flint believes. “LED curing will change sheetfed offset printing forever; there is no doubt that Vantage LED has been developed to ensure those wishing to convert to LED curing can do so with confidence in a very short space of time,” says Jim Buchanan, global UV business development director.
“Our expert print technicians will audit an operation in the first instance and a full cost-benefit analysis will follow; a press can be converted in as little as one day. We have seen a staggering increase in factory fitted LED presses, but the process of converting existing presses to LED, with retro fitted lamp systems, allows printers a fast track to the benefits this technology brings.”
Vantage LED is currently available only in the EMEA region. In the UK the route to market has been strengthened by the acquisition of Druckfarben. “It has a strong connections in the commercial print market, which is the sector that is adapting to the LED technology the fastest,” says Baird.
Flint has packaged its ink, AMS LED UV arrays, a matched range of consumables together with consultancy and training to help commercial printers take a first step into the new technology of printing with UV cured inks. The benefits are considerable the company argues.