It will install a Rapida 106 six-colour plus coater in August followed by a ten-colour perfecting machine at the end of the year. The first press will be fitted with an LED UV system from AMS, the first of the Multiwave version that the US company has introduced at Drupa. The press will also have a coating unit. The ten-colour press will run with standard inks.
The ink supplier for the LED UV press has still to be decided, says J Thomson Colour managing director Kevin Creechan. This will be helped by the specification of the LED system which covers a broader range of wavelengths than LED systems have typically been able to offer, which should provide particular help for companies producing varnishes because they will be able to work with a wider range of photo initiators.
The Glasgow company works across the spectrum of commercial printing, handing high quality report and accounts and art catalogues, requiring the unusual papers and effects that the LED UV press will cope with as well as longer runs for educational and government customers that will suit the long perfector. It comes will the full array of makeready and quality control systems, include the sidelay free feeder. It is rated at 18,000sph, a generational shift from the Speedmaster XL105 12-colour press it replaces.
A key aspect was the ability of the technology to stretch the image on the run without the need to stop the press. For fine type reversed out of a heavy solid on the edge of the sheet, this was considered a major plus.
The six-colour machine is also replacing a six-colour XL105. Combined they will deliver at least 15% improvement in productivity, the company reckons.
The decision on the new presses was taken after a series of trials at major press suppliers and their reference sites. Creechan had decided early in the process that LED would offer the £12.5 million turnover printer an edge.
“We were being asked to produce an increasing volume of print on high quality specialised substrates which enhance the end product and while this undoubted looks fantastic, it can be problematic in respect of drying and detrimental to machine efficiency. The latest LED UV technology will go a long way to smoothing out those issues.”
A visit to Konigsdruck in Berlin, one of KBA's leaving advocates for LED UV and contact with Blackmore Press, which has LED UV on a Rapida 105, further convinced the Scottish printer that this was the way to go. “It was important to us that we tested all potential suppliers with jobs that had posed some difficulty in the past,” he says. Files for these jobs were sent under commercial conditions on the eve of the testing.
Kevin Creechan (left) with KBA UK marketing manager Craig Bretherton and sheetfed sales director Chris Scully after the MD of J Thomson Colour completed a two-press deal on the stand. The first machine arrives in August, the second in December.