KEP Print Group converted its five-colour Roland 900XXL to run UV a year ago. But rather than opt for a new generation UV system, the company installed a full blooded conventional lamp system from Benford. It now has twin lamps in the delivery and inter deck lamps which allow the Tamworth company to print on heat sensitive materials.
“We had UV printing for your screen printing, but the litho press is larger than the screen machine, so when we printed litho we had to send out sheets for UV varnishing,” says managing director Mark Plowman. “And it was starting to get expensive to do that.”
Retaining that work in house also enabled faster turnarounds for standard poster formats, printed two up and often on both sides. UV printing has brought an end to uncertain waiting times. “Now we can print four colour on both sides and get the job out the same day.”
KEP examined new generation options, either with a doped lamp or with LED, but felt that currently neither approach was suitable. “The gloss levels from a standard UV varnish are higher,” he says, “At least at this moment. We understand that new generation will get there, but we needed to match our customers expectations from what they had already received from us. Another factor in favour of the UV route was that it worked out £300,000 cheaper than LED for a press this size.”
The inter deck system allows the company to print on non absorbent surfaces and to print white with four colours laid on top of that.
The conversion process was simplified because the press had already been prepared for UV printing when new. Some of the electronics needed to be replaced, and rollers and blankets needed to be switched. There has been no need to change from the Agfa plate it had been using. “I had experience of UV printing many years ago and at that time we had to bake the plates. That is no longer necessary,” says Plowman.
However, the curves on the plates needed to change. “Printing UV totally changed the colour curves on press. We worked with Sun Chemical on the inks and we are very happy with that. The colours are extremely vibrant for the work that we are doing.”
KEP's conversion process was simplified as the press had already been prepared for UV printing when new.
Some of the electronics needed to be replaced and rollers and blankets needed to be switched.